Crazy Mountains

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Crazy Mountains
Crazy Mountains.jpg
Crazy Mountains
Highest point
PeakCrazy Peak
Elevation11,214 ft (3,418 m)
Coordinates46°01′04″N 110°16′36″W / 46.01778°N 110.27667°W / 46.01778; -110.27667Coordinates: 46°01′04″N 110°16′36″W / 46.01778°N 110.27667°W / 46.01778; -110.27667
Length40 mi (64 km) N/S
Width15 mi (24 km) E/W
Area600 sq mi (1,600 km2)
Location within Montana
CountryUnited States
Parent rangeRocky Mountains

The Crazy Mountains, often called the Crazies, are a mountain range in the northern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Montana.


Spanning a distance of 40 miles (64 km), the Crazy Mountains are located between the Musselshell and Yellowstone rivers. The highest peak is Crazy Peak at 11,214 feet (3,418 m). Rising over 7,000 feet (2,130 m) above the Great plains to the east, the Crazies dominate their surroundings and are plainly visible just north of Interstate 90.

The Crazy Mountains form an isolated island range east of the Continental Divide. Other isolated ranges in Montana include the Castle Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, Big Snowy Mountains, Little Snowy Mountains, Bears Paw Mountains, Judith Mountains, North and South Moccasin Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Little Rocky Mountains, Sweet Grass Hills, Bull Mountains and, in the southeastern corner of the state near Ekalaka, the Long Pines.


The Big Timber Stock, a large igneous intrusion, forms the bedrock in the Crazy Mountains.[1] The stock is of Tertiary age, and consists of diorite and gabbro with zones of Quartz Monzodiorite, and which has been intruded by many dikes and sills.

Geological features of the Crazy Mountains include:

Adjacent Counties[edit]


Due to the eastern location, these mountains are drier and less densely forested than other mountain ranges in Montana. There are at least 40 alpine lakes in the range, 15 of which are named. The Crazy Mountains sit in both Gallatin National Forest and Lewis and Clark National Forest. The Crazies support a healthy herd of mountain goats and the occasional elusive wolverine.


In 1916, the Crazy Mountains were proposed as a location for a national park, but Congress failed to pass the legislation. National Park Service officials considered the area again in 1935, but reported that a national park would not be feasible because "half of the land, every alternate section, is owned by the Northern Pacific Railroad or is in private hands."[2]


The Crazies are almost completely surrounded by private lands making access into the mountains somewhat difficult, especially in the southern section where the highest peaks are located.[3][4]

Name origin[edit]

The name Crazy Mountains is said to be a shortened form of the name "Crazy Woman Mountains" given them, in complement to their original Crow name, after a woman who went insane and lived in them after her family was killed in the westward settlement movement.[5]

The Crow people called the mountains Awaxaawapìa Pìa, roughly translated as "Ominous Mountains", or even rougher and less accurately, "Crazy Mountains". They were famous to the Crow people for having metaphysical powers and being unpredictable—a place used for vision quests.[6]

South Face of Crazy Mountains
East Face of Crazy Mountains

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Preliminary geologic map of the Ringling 30' x 60' quadrangle, central Montana, by McDonald, Catherine, Lopez, D.A., Berg, R.B., and Gibson, R. I., Publishing Organization: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Series and Number: Open-File Reports 511. Publication Date: 2005 Map Scale: 1:100,000
  2. ^ Dilsaver, Lary M.; Wyckoff, William (Autumn 2009). "Failed National Parks in the Last Best Place". Montana The Magazine of Western History. 59 (3): 5. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  3. ^ Reel, Monte. "This Land Is No Longer Your Land". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Kathleen (21 Jan 2018). "Class war in the American west: the rich landowners blocking access to public lands". Guardian News. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  5. ^ * (This is an apocryphal account likely based more on myth than reality. The name is said to have arisen out of a translation error between early white explorers and the Crow natives who valued the Crazy Mountains as a location for vision quests. They attempted to convey this to the explorers, who, likely confused by the notions of vision quest, came to understand the Crazies as a place where one goes crazy.) Melroy, Mark (1986). Islands on the Prairie-The Mountain Ranges of Eastern Montana-Montana Geographic Series #13. Helena, Montana: Montana Magazine. p. 100. ISBN 0-938314-24-6.
  6. ^ "Foundation Document for Honoring Tribal Legacies: An Epic Journey of Healing" (PDF). University of Oregon and National Park Service. Retrieved 24 December 2016.

External links[edit]