The Lionhead Roadless Area

The Lionhead roadless area is another wild place straddling the Idaho/ Montana border. The area is about 15 miles west of West Yellowstone, Montana (Yellowstone Park is east of the town of West Yellowstone). The Lionhead embraces a substantial portion of the Henry's Lake Mountains (a moniker for the southern end of the lengthy Madison Range).

Jointly the Gallatin and the Targhee National Forests have recommended about 30,000 acres for wilderness designation. About 2/3 of the area is in Montana. Both forests have done a pretty good job managing it to retain its wilderness characteristics except for keeping snowmobiles out of the area. The snowmobiles disturb the wintering bighorn sheep herd and provide a ready-made anti-wilderness constituency. Each year more powerful snowmobiles come on the market, giving them greater capacity to reach the high places and disturb the struggling bighorn sheep.

The highest elevation is at Sheep Point (about 10,600 feet) about 1/4 mile north of the Idaho state line inside Montana. The photo below is across Targhee Basin (in Idaho) toward Sheep Point.

There are indeed numerous bighorn sheep on Sheep Point and adjacent ridges. © Ralph Maughan

Bald Mountain is a landmark for those who approach the area from U.S. Highway 26 in Idaho. The photo is of Bald Mountain from the crest of the Henry's Lake Mountains (Continental Divide).

© Ralph Maughan

The view here is toward the east.

Below. The Continental Divide in the Lionhead roadless area. Idaho is to the right. Montana is on the left side of the ridge.

Although the two peaks are the Continental Divide, so was the much lower location where I was standing to take the photograph.

Ralph Maughan

The lower elevations, such as Targhee Creek,  are tremendous habitat for elk, deer, moose, and bears, including grizzlies.

Targhee Creek is full of ponds, willows, and wildlife, including lots of moose and
sometimes grizzly bears. Copyright Ralph Maughan


Lionhead roadless area, Idaho-Montana/ / revised last on Aug. 20, 2004