Jim Mountain is a beautiful and easily accessible peak with spectacular rock formations on its southeastern flanks. The hike to the summit is approximately 8 miles roundtrip, with a little over 4000 feet elevation gain.
The rock on Jim Mountain (and on most peaks in this area) is of volcanic origin and generally considered unclimbable. While it does get formed into very photogenic shapes, as a rule it's loose, crumbly and unprotectable. The best way to get up peaks like this is to circumvent the cliffs entirely. In this case the summit can be reached in a nice one-day hike.
Jim Mountain from the trailhead
Most of the hike is done on a very good pack trail with about a thousand feet of bushwacking required at the end. Unlike some pack trails, this one has minimal ups and downs. You will have to cross Jim Creek and at certain times of year this could mean getting your feet wet.
Jim Mountain's winter face, seen from the nearby Signal Peak.
The last part of the hike is on a wind-exposed ridge. The good news is that in winter/late fall, it'll be blown free of snow. But on a windy day, expect to be flattened. When we went up in late November, we could barely stand up straight and were repeatedly blown off our feet. The wind was gusting to 60 mph and maybe higher.
View from the trail
View through a burned forest on the mountain. Buffalo Bill Reservoir can be seen in the distance.
From Cody, take Hwy 14-16-20 (North Fork Hwy) toward Yellowstone. Just before Wapiti, turn right onto Jim Mountain Road. Follow the road all the way to the signed trailhead (you'll have to go through a gate, be sure to close it behind you). There's a pit toilet and parking for several cars and/or horse trailers at the trailhead.
You'll see two obvious dirt trails leading away from the trailhead. Take the one on the right. Follow it for about 3.25 miles, until you cross Jim Creek. After that point, start watching on the left for a good place to leave the trail and head up the ridge to the summit.
Suggested route to the summit
The mountain is in the Shoshone National Forest, though part of the summit may actually be in North Absaroka Wilderness. No fees or permits required.
As with most hikes in this area, it's wise to hike with a partner, carry bear spray and make lots of noise. There are bears, wolves and mountain lions in the area. In late fall, there may be hunters around so wear bright colors.
This hike can easily be done in a day. There are numerous established campgrounds along Hwy 14-16-20.