MacLeod Peak rises above still frozen MacLeod Lake, July 4, 2009
MacLeod Peak is a beautiful Gros Ventre summit with no official name. It rises above the lovely MacLeod Lake, a truly rugged and wild mountain lake. The Gros Ventre Mountains have only a few high mountain lakes, and MacLeod is a true gem tucked away in a high cirque.
The peak rises directly above the lake and towers above Swift Creek to the west. It is a prominent peak when viewed from the Hoback River valley near Bondurant. The views of the surrounding peaks, and of the Tetons are spectacular.
The history I have heard is that a local well known doctor, Dr MacLeod had a ranch somewhere in the vicinity, and he helped to stock the lake with trout. There are still lots of trout in the lake offering good fishing to those who are willing to brave the steep trail. The lake is over 10,000 feet, making it a nice day hike just to get there. The trail is not on the map, but it is easy to follow.
The last time I fished at the lake with my wife, there were two Bald Eagles hanging out across the lake, adding to the beauty of a great place.
The views from the top are absolutely incredible. You look directly at Antoinette Peak, with the Grand Teton peeking up behind it. The other high Gros Ventre summits are surrounding you. From Doubletop, to Palmer, to Darwin, Shoal, to Tosi you can see most of the big peaks. The Winds are behind with Gannett and Fremont seen. You can also look at the Wyoming Range from Ramshorn all the way to Wyoming Peak on a clear day. A truly great place for a panorama of NW Wyoming peaks.
The first view of the peak on the hike up to the lake
A lot of the information to get there is included in the Corner Peak page. Take the Swift Creek trail to the unmarked intersection and go right through the flower filled meadows in mid summer. The trail gains elevation slowly going in and out of the forest. You skirt around the base of some tall, wild looking rock formations and the trail starts to gain rapidly. After some switchbacks the trail reaches a crest and then drops down to the outlet creek. A great place to stop and drink. The trail then follows the benches to the right above the drainage going through the high elevation forest. Soon you can see the head of the cirque coming up, this is where the lake is. The trail takes you right to the outlet creek and you are now at a spectacular place. There are some campsites across the outlet at the little clumps of krumholz pines. The peak is across the lake and beckoning to be climbed.
The awesome view of the summit from Corner Peak
MacLeod Peak is located in the Gros Ventre Wilderness with very little red tape involved. If it is hunting season, it is recommended you wear something orange, or be mistaken for an elk.
The summit on the right and the ridge which connects to Corner Peak going to the left. The ridge is a real fun scramble, July 4, 2009
There is lots of camping in Granite Creek, and lots of places on the hike in to camp. The mile before the lake has some good sites, and the lake has some good camping, there is always lots of water nearby.