Sphinx Mountain

Length: 14 miles (round-trip)
Duration: 5 to 8 hours
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Gain: 4,470 feet
Activities: Hiking
Crowds: Light traffic

This bucket-list peak in the Madison Range is one of the hardest hikes around. Head up on a maintained trail for approximately five miles to the saddle between the Helmet and the Sphinx. Sidehill toward the mountain, below a horizontal cliff band, and then proceed up along a narrow drainage spilling down the face. The final climb is up an open, semi-steep slope. Once on top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of mountains, canyons, and valleys in all directions. On the descent, resist the temptation to descend the slope north of the main drainage. This area has fragile moss, grass, and soil that shouldn't be disturbed. Instead, follow the rocky scree trails down the sides of the drainage. Carry bear spray.

Seasonal Conditions
In the early season, follow snow in the main drainage to the summit. If the snow is gone, continue traversing across the face's main drainage to the broad, scenic west ridge, which is south of the drainage. The entire area is closed from the end of the special late-season elk hunt until May 15 each year.

From Ennis, head south on Hwy. 287 to Cameron. From there, head east on Bear Creek Loop Rd. and turn right after about three miles. Follow this bumpy road through two 90-degree turns, past ranch houses, then turn left to the mouth of Bear Canyon and a large trailhead parking area.

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