Hardscrabble Peak, Bridger Range, Montana, USA
One of the most popular peaks in the Bridger Range is Sacagawea Peak 9665 ft (2946 m). It shares a saddle with Hardscrabble Peak 9575 ft (2,918 m) and because of this are often climbed at the same time. Hardscrabble makes an excellent, less-traveled alternative to the more popular Sacagawea. One is also treated to the opportunity to summit two unnamed peaks between Hardscrabble Peak and Sacacjawea providing more breath-taking views The Crazy Mountains, Gallatin and Madison Ranges, the Beartooths, and the Tobacco Root Mountains. With easy access to the base of the peak a summit can be made in a few hours and it can be accessed at any time of the year.
Peak Data for Hardscrabble Peak
Elevation: 9575 ft (2,918 m)
Access to Hardscrabble Peak
Climbing Hardscrabble Peak with the greatest of ease is executed by first driving a vehicle from the Bridger Canyon Road (Hwy 86) Westward to the Fairy Lake Trailhead/campground. Paying attention to the signage in the area look for the hiker parking lot where a well-maintained trail which switchbacks Westward up a drainage gaining a saddle on the Bridger Range ridgeline. Upon reaching the saddle a lefthand (Southward) turn will lead to the summit of Sacagawea Peak and a righthand (Northward) turn will lead to two unnamed summits (Point 9562 and Point 9394) followed by Hardscrabble.
Access to Hardscrabble Peak is also possible from the West side of the Bridger Range via the Corbly Gulch trailhead. From Springhill Road drive East one mile on Corbly Gulch Road. Depending on the type of vehicle you are driving you can then proceed another two to four miles on this jeep trail. The trail to the Sacagawea/Unnamed saddle is steep and requires some deep stream fords. The hike from this side to the summit of Hardscrabble is about four or five miles as opposed to the two and a half mile walk from the Fairly Lake access.
Camping near Hardscrabble Peak
Fairy Lake USFS Campground
The Fairly Lake campground located at the trailhead is the closest camping to this area. It is well-maintained and gets heavy use from people in the Bozeman area. It offers basic USFS campground facilities.
Battle Ridge USFS Campground
There is also the Battle Ridge Forest Service campground located in the valley near the Bridger Canyon Road (slightly North of the turn off to Fairy Lake). It is well-maintained and gets heavy use from people in the Bozeman area. It offers basic USFS campground facilities.
Options for backcountry camping in the Bridger Range are limited due to a lack of convenient water sources along the ridge.
Video Trip Report on Hardscrabble Peak
Corbly Gulch Trip Report
The video below is a trip report based on accessing the peak from the Corbly Gulch trailhead from Youtube user Avocetx.