Named after George Ward, Ward Mountain (9,119’), sits southwest of Hamilton, MT, between Roaring Lion Drainage to the north and Lost Horse Drainage to the south. So massive is this mountain, it has its own drainage (Camas Creek) issuing from a series of lakes high in a cirque immediately south of the summit.
The “official” Ward Mountain Trailhead is about 100’ east of a parking lot for the Sawtooth Creek Trailhead. The well-established trail (Class 1) is generally well maintained and reaches the site of an abandoned fire lookout on the summit. This route, which passes through several old burns and gains 5,100’ of elevation in just over 6 miles, can be excruciatingly hot on a summer’s day.
A more enjoyable route (Class 3) for climbers begins from the Camas Lakes Trailhead. After passing all three lakes on the long-established trail, the route goes off-trail to a saddle on the north rim of the Camas Cirque. Once on the saddle follow the ridge-crest eastward to Ward Mountain’s broad summit.
Combining these two routes makes for a great one-day, point-to-point outing, especially if you begin at the Camas Lakes Trailhead.