Granite Peak is a mountain with a 4 billion year old history and a brutal beauty.
Despite its low elevation, it is one of the hardest state high points.
The most popular approach to Granite Peak is via West Rosebud and Mystic Lake (a hydroelectric dam there generates power for Granite Peak Energy).
While the hike can be done in one day, it is safer to hike Bivouac Saddle between Tempest Mountain and Granite Peak.
The more dramatic route is via “the Switch Backs From Hell,” (26 in all) and Froze-to-Death Plateau but this route is highly exposed to major storms.
A less exposed route is via Huckleberry Creek but the creek can be quite treacherous to cross and is often poorly marked.
It is probably easiest to climb the peak in August when most of the snow has melted.
There are deadly drop offs of hundreds of feet on either a knife-edge trail. Besides the snow complicating matters, the rocks also easily give way. And just to make matters challenging enough, there are enough rocks that it is advisable (but not absolutely essential) to climb the area with the aid of ropes.
Granite Peak is part of the Beartooth Mountain Range which stretches into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. Studies show the mountains are made up of “metamorphosed supracrustal rocks that are part of a large tectonic melange caught up in the areally extensive, 2.8 billion year old granitoid plutons of the eastern Beartooth Mountains. One reason that these rocks are particularly significant is that some of the detrital zircons in the quartzites are 4 billion years old.”
The range forms a semi-circle and timberline is approximately 9,000 feet.
After all this talk, you can also take a look at the mountain from an aerial charter in Red Lodge (40 miles away).