Looking up the approach trail from Windy Pass ranger cabin.
The Sentinel located in the Gallatin Range of Montana's Yellowstone Ecosystem (not to be confused with Mount Sentinel in the Sapphire Range) is a modest peak sided by a grassy slope on its South face but cliff-laden on it's Northwest and Northeast flanks. The Northeast face can hold snow well into the summer months if not year round.
The Sentinel is approached easily via the USFS Gallatin Crest Trail No. 96. Access to the trail is via many trailheads along both the Gallatin River (Hwy 191) or the Yellowstone River (Hwy 89).
Portal Creek Trailhead
Approaching from the West, follow U.S. Highway 191 south from Bozeman for 38.6 miles to Portal Creek Road #984. Turn east on Portal Creek Road and continue southeast for 6 miles to a logged over area. Take trail toward Windy Pass Ranger Station and then continue onward to summit of The Sentinel.
Rock Creek Rd/ FS 993
Approaching from the East, follow U.S. Highway 89 south from Livingston for 37.7 mi to Tom Miner Creek Rd. Go slightly right at Old Yellowstone Trail. Turn left at Rock Creek Rd S. Continue on NF-933 Rd. From here follow the trail to the Gallatin Crest Trail, the Windy Pass Ranger Station and Northward to The Sentinel.
Camping is allowed almost anywhere in the Gallatin National Forest. There are a number of marked locations where camping is outlawed. These places typically coincide with trailheads and in other special cases such as adjacent to the Windy Pass ranger cabin.
Quality backcountry camping spots exist at Golden Trout Lake which is a few miles South and West of The Sentinel. Otherwise campers should consider camping in drainages below the Gallatin Crest unless they are to pack in a supply of water which is basically non-existant along the Divide.
Factors to Consider
Water on the Gallatin Crest trail is nil. Be sure to grab water below Windy Pass if approaching from the South. If an approach from the North is your route you will need to attain water at a creek below the Crest or in seasonal snowbanks found (typcially) along the East side of the crest.
A video panorama from Windy Pass which is located South of The Sentinel.
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