Crazy Mountains

Photo of Crazies Geographic Area with snow on mountians.

The Crazies Geographic Area encompasses the northern portion of the Crazy Mountains that are administered by the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The southern portion is administered by the Gallatin National Forest. The geographic area is at the junction of Meagher, Wheatland, Sweet Grass, and Park counties. White Sulphur Springs is the nearest population center.

The Crazy Mountains make up an island range that abruptly rises from the surrounding Shield, Musselshell, and Yellowstone River valleys. The rugged and awe inspiring range has captivated people over time. The Mountain Crow visited its tall peaks and special areas for vision quests. Euro-American settlement has lightly affected the area with only a few signs of habitation. Forest Lake Guard Station still stands as a sentry for Forest Service administration. Today people still seek spiritual experiences through various recreational and other means.

This island range is a discrete geologic unit, unique from the adjacent ranges. The form of the Crazies is bold and craggy. They are of volcanic origin and enriched with granitic geology. Talus, scree, and boulder areas dot steep and moderate slopes. Broad valleys and long finger ridges radiate outward from its center. Many ridge tops and summits lack vegetation residing in the alpine. Glaciation has imparted many of these landforms with sharp, scoured edges. All of the geographic area’s streams drain into the Musselshell River on their way to the Gulf of Mexico via the Missouri River. Riparian forests of aspen, willow, dogwood, and cottonwood grow along their courses. Grasslands occupy much of the lower elevations and intergrade with coniferous forest at higher elevations. Small patches of deciduous trees punctuate the dense canopy of evergreen trees. At the highest elevations, conifer forests give way to alpine habitats. Historically, fire would have been a major influence on plant communities.

Recreation use in the Crazies is primarily of a dispersed nature, including both dispersed trail use as well as camping use. The area is very popular during the primary hunting season.