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Brackett Creek to Lower Playground

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

3.6 mile 5.7 kilometer point to point
Ascent
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 972' 296 m
Descent: -103' -31 m
High: 6,741' 2,055 m
Low: 5,790' 1,765 m

Grade

Avg Slope: 6% (3°)
Max Slope: 15% (8°)
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Map Key

Trail shared by Gary Hellenga

Straight-forward access to Playground or Ross Pass.

Gary Hellenga
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Need to Know

Be sure to check the avalanche forecast for the Bridger Range before looking to ski the Playground Area.

Description

This route to the Playground area avoids most of the avalanche danger involved in attempting to access it from Texas Meadows.

Park at Brackett Creek lot (just east of Highway 86, on road toward Clyde Park). Cross Highway 86, and take route to the left, above the creek drainage. The lower route follows the same path as to Texas Meadows; at the top of the first hill (about 0.5 miles from lot), there's a variation that goes skinner's right of the road, drops and crosses a small creek, then climbs west, then south, to re-join the road after about 1.4 miles from the parking lot—this variant is slightly shorter, and avoids some flats that might require double poling on the road during the descent.

From the Brackett Creek trailhead at 1.7 miles, take the road that leads skinner's right, up the hill (there's a bar across road). Continue up road to 2.4 miles, where the route flattens out and opens up into a large meadow. At this point, head directly across the open area, to avoid a long loop in the road. In about 200 meters, re-join the road, heading skinner's right, and follow the road as it reaches a high point and begins to descend.

At about 3 miles, you'll make a left bend around a corner—the wind often picks up along this stretch. Continue descending until the road takes a large bend to the right at 3.15 miles. You can see the Playground above you. From this point, you can angle uphill and ascend the ridge skinner's right of the drainage, or continue on the road north to the 3.25 mile mark, where the trail to Ross Pass turns left off the road (there's a large trailhead sign here), and follow the trail until you cross the creek drainage below the Playground, and then head up left (at about 3.45 miles) to find a ski line you like.

If Ross Pass is your destination, continue on the trail, which can be a bit hard to follow from this point, though there may be a myriad of skin tracks headed this direction. Basically, just keep contouring uphill to the WNW through the head of Middle Fork Brackett Creek.

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#436

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Ascent Rankings

#43

in Montana

#436

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43 Since Mar 12, 2019
Easy/Intermediate

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