Hikers’ Haven Area: 3 Trails
Revised 8/9/2012Getting There: Driving Directions.»
This area north of Horse Haven Road and east of Bear Canyon is the best place to escape motorized commotion on Big Pryor Mountain – a Haven for Hikers. There are several hiking routes in this area. The Rocky Juniper, Big Sky, and Doug Fir Trails with the Bear Canyon Creek Trail, to the west, can be connected for loop hikes. Surprising diversity is available in these hikes. Landscapes and ecosystems range from open grasslands (with great views), to rugged and rocky hills, juniper scrubland to secluded Douglas fir forests. The Bear Canyon Trail adds riparian canyon bottomland including aspen groves (colorful in the fall). With sufficient effort hikers can reach the Pryors high country above 8,400 ft. elevation.These hikes are possible in late fall and early spring, when wildflowers may be abundant. Depending on the weather, the best times for hiking in this area may be March through May, and September through November. If there has been little snow hiking may be possible all winter. July and August can be quite hot. Take plenty of water and sunscreen.
None of the trails have signs, but detailed notes to guide you can be found with the links above and below. Download and print the guide notes to take with you.
The final one to three miles on Horse Haven Road from Helt Rd to the three trailheads is too rough for most highway vehicles, but 4WD is not needed if it is dry. A high clearance vehicle with good tires is sufficient. Helt Road is good gravel, and is fine with most highway vehicles when snow free.
NOTE: None of this hiking area (except Horse Haven Rd) is legal for motorized use. If you see motorized use, try to avoid confrontation, but report the violation, with vehicle description and license plate number(s), ASAP to Custer NF, BLM and the Pryors Coalition. Also report if you see wheel tracks or other signs of motorized use.
Hiking in the Pryors page.
Getting There: Driving Directions.
The drive from Billings MT to the trailheads takes a little more than 2 hours. Use the Pryors Map Set and the map included with these directions to find the trailheads.
Drive to Warren MT, 21 miles south of Bridger MT, on Highway 310. Look for the Montana Limestone Company sign. There is no “town” at Warren. Warren is where limestone from the quarry at the southwest corner of Big Pryor Mountain is loaded onto railroad cars.
A. 0.0 miles: Warren MT. From Hwy 310, turn east onto Helt Road toward the Pryors. If you are traveling south on Highway 310 it is a left turn. Follow this, usually dirt covered, oiled road for 2.7 miles to a junction.
B. 2.7 miles: Helt Rd. – Quarry Rd. junction. The BLM sign on the right fork says, “Stockman Trail 1.5” and “Bear Canyon Road 3.5”, but does not list Horse Haven Rd. (The oiled road continues left as Quarry Rd.) Turn right to continue on Helt Rd. which is now narrower and gravel. Drive past BLM signs for Stockman Trail and Bear Canyon Rd.C. 7.1 miles: Helt Rd – Gyp Springs Rd junction. This is a “Y” in the road. Take the left fork, over the cattle guard, which is Helt Rd. (The right fork is the Gyp Springs Rd.) Continue 0.4 miles on Helt Rd. to a BLM sign for Horse Haven Rd.
D. 7.5 miles: Helt Rd – Horse Haven Road #1021 junction. Turn left onto Horse Haven Rd. The road soon becomes too rough for most highway vehicles. High clearance vehicles are recommended, but 4WD is not needed when the road is dry. (Up to this point Helt Rd is good gravel and suitable for most highway vehicles when snow free.)E. 8.4 miles (0.9 miles on Horse Haven Rd): Junction. The left fork into a rocky canyon ends in a couple hundred yards at the trailhead for the Rocky Juniper Trail. The right fork is Horse Haven Rd continuing to the Big Sky and Doug Fir Trails. F. 9.3 miles (1.8 miles on Horse Haven Rd): Big Sky Trailhead. On the left side of Horse Haven Rd there is a jackleg fence barrier with a sign indicating the area is closed to motorized use. This is the start of the Big Sky Trail. G. 10.3 miles (2.8 miles on Horse Haven Rd): Doug Fir Trailhead. The post and rocks mark the start of the Doug Fir Trail curving left (north) from Horse Haven Rd.