Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,108.00 ft (337.72 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Crazy Canyon is one of the first trailheads encountered within the Pattee Canyon National Recreation Area of Missoula. The moderate 3.4-mile trail provides an alternative to the popular “M” trail for reaching the summit of Mount Sentinel. Crazy Canyon is also a gateway into the intricate trail system in Pattee Canyon. 

Crazy Canyon Trail is actually a forest service road that’s been blocked off. The wide path leaves ample room for dog walkers, stroller pushers, and gaggles of bicyclists. The trailhead is an easy fifteen-minute drive from Missoula's southeast neighborhoods, so users should expect to encounter all of the above out on the trail. But Crazy Canyon is crowded only for Missoula standards, which means sometimes on the weekends it's hard to find parking. 

Fortunatley even on the busy days the trail doesn’t feel overcrowded. Plenty of side trails and singletrack branch off and entice users to go every which way throughout Crazy Canyon. First-time visitors should keep the guide handy if they want to navigate off the main path. Black Bear Trail is a fun singletrack alternative that parallels much of Crazy Canyon.

The first three miles of the trail makes an easy-to-moderate climb through an aromatic pine tree environment. The final half-mile to the summit of Mount Sentinel is exceptionally steep. Users can hop on the switchbacking Mount Sentinel Summit Trail here to avoid calf cramps.

The top of Mount Sentinel provides a nice scenic reward. The city is on full display from this vantage point, bordered by the Rattlesnake Mountains to the north and Lolo Peak to the south. After taking a rest and enjoying the view, users can head back down the Crazy Canyon Trail or utilize alternate side trails that filter down to the parking lot. 

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Dog friendly. Summit hike. Several side adventures available.

Cons

Parking lot can be crowded on weekends

Trailhead Elevation

3,944.00 ft (1,202.13 m)

Highest point

5,052.00 ft (1,539.85 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Family friendly
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Missoula + Bitterroot Mountains, Montana
Missoula + Bitterroot Mountains, Montana

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