Mineral Mountain

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 45.03112°N / 109.99706°W
Activities Activities: Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 10500 ft / 3200 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Mineral Mountain, an Absaroka peak located in Montana but not considered part of the Montana Absarokas (complicated and not worth getting sidetracked on here), is easily seen but not easily climbed.

That's not because it's technically difficult; the easiest ways up it are no harder than Class 3. It's because it just isn't easy to get to. Of the three logical ways to reach the summit, two require climbing at least one other peak en route, one of those requires 4wd, and the third starts from Silver Gate and entails significant elevation gain and route-finding.
On the bright side, those qualities make it a seldom-climbed peak, so if you like solitude and wilderness without having to backpack in for miles to get them, you'll appreciate this peak.
Mineral from Below Sunset
Mineral from Below Sunset
Mineral Mountain is one of several Absaroka peaks on and around the northeastern boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. You can see it from some roadside locations within the park, but the "peak" you see from Silver Gate, the tiny community just outside the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone, is actually a false summit on the mountain's southern aspect. 
Mineral from Sunset Slopes
Mineral from Sunset Slopes
The name almost certainly alludes to the Cooke City area's mining history.
Mineral and Abiathar from Sunset
Mineral and Abiathar from Sunset


1. South Slopes-- 3rd Class. This is the route I took. It is the shortest route but also the steepest. Expect about 2.5 miles to the summit, with approximately 3000' of elevation gain. All or almost all of the route is off-trail.

Between Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance and Silver Gate, spot an unpaved road heading north along Silver Creek. With high clearance, you should be able to drive the full length of the road (only about half a mile) and then park. Otherwise, go as far as you feel comfortable and park without blocking the road.
There is a trail here that leads you to a pretty waterfall. It's less than a mile. You can follow that trail or just strike out from where you parked. Either way, you'll have to negotiate downed timber and cliff bands as you make your way up the mountain, eventually reaching Point 10,304, the summit that from Silver Gate seems to be the true summit. From there, it's a short, easy walk to the real summit.
Point 10,304T after a July Snowstorm
Point 10,304T after a July Snowstorm
2. Traverse from Meridian Peak. Expect at least 3rd Class terrain and a one-way distance and elevation gain of about 7.5 miles and 3600' of elevation gain.
1.2 mi from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone, park at the Warm Springs parking area, which is on the north side of the road. This is the eastern end of the Pebble Creek Trail.
Hike the trail to a broad, forested pass. Now head off-trail NE, with a lot of bushwhacking and deadfall but some game trails at times, eventually ascending Meridian Peak.
From there, the rest is for you to discover. There is a tantalizing ridge connecting to Mineral, but when I was there in July 2015, the area was coated in fresh snow and rime ice, so I opted to skip the ridge traverse. The ridge looks mostly easy but contains one prominent notch that might create trouble.
Traverse to Mineral Mountain
Traverse to Mineral Mountain
3. From Bull of the Woods. At least 3rd Class, about 4.5 miles one-way with 2100' of elevation gain.
If you want a day with a lot of summits, this route is for you. From the pass, climb the false summit of Miller Mountain and then the true summit. Descend Miller's west ridge to meadows below Sunset Peak and then climb Sunset.
From there, it's up to you to discover. After climbing Sunset, my son and I then climbed Wolverine Peak. He was pretty tired, so we descended to the basin below and returned to the car that way despite an original plan of returning to Sunset and then going to Mineral.
From Sunset, you will climb an unnamed, unranked summit and negotiate some interesting looking pinnacles and outcrops on the way to Mineral. Expect at least 3rd Class and possibly harder.
Mineral from Miller
Mineral from Miller

Red Tape

If you climb from Yellowstone, you'll need to pay whatever the current entrance fee is.

Know that you're in grizzly country and understand your responsibilities.


Lots of dispersed camping off the unpaved roads in the area.