The Crazy Mountains

Endowed with one of the more colorful names in the North American landscape, the Crazy Mountains are one of the isolated ranges that rise in western Montana, north of Yellowstone National Park and east of the Continental Divide; in combination with the Absaroka Mountains, to their south, and several other ranges to their north, the Crazies are part of "Montana's Front Range", rising above the Great Plains to their east.

Known for their rugged beauty, scenic glacial valleys and numerous alpine lakes, the Crazy Mountains rise NNE of Livingston, between the Musselshell (to their north) and Yellowstone (to their south) River Valleys.  Geologically, the Crazies are a cluster of igneous intrusions that pushed into older sediments about 50 million years ago (15 million years after the Laramide Orogeny, the formation of the primary Rocky Mountain Chain); the encasing sediments have since eroded away and Pleistocene mountain glaciers sculpted the spectacular peaks and valleys.  The volcanic Absaroka Range forms a high wall to their south, topped by Granite Peak (12,804 feet, the highest point in Montana).  Crazy Peak, 11,214 feet, forms the summit of the Crazy Mountains, which are easily viewed from I-90 (south of the Crazies), from US 191 (to their east) and from US 89 (to their west).

While conservationists have pushed for establishing a Wilderness Area in the Crazy Mountains, most of their lower slopes are privately owned and public access is relatively limited; three National Forest campgrounds serve as the primary trailheads.  Among the varied alpine wildlife are mountain goats, introduced to the Crazies in the 1940s; black bear inhabit the range but there is no known resident population of grizzlies in this isolated cluster of jagged peaks.