Outdoor Adventures

Hyalite Lake, Hyalite Canyon Photo by Chris Wood

Montana is known as the haven for outdoor enthusiasts. 

There are no limits to the outdoor activities and adventures you can experience in Montana. From fishing, biking, hiking and skiing, to rock and ice climbing, you name it, Montana is the great outdoors!

Backcountry Skiing

Mt. Blackmore
A Hyalite Canyon hotspot! This climb is a true Montana adventure with ice axes and crampons in hand. 

Beehive Basin
After skiing the many routes of fresh snow and open space of Beehive, many locals enjoy the beautiful drive home through Big Sky and the Gallatin Valley.   

History Rock 
The short approach and open terrain call out to many locals when winter arrives. This Hyalite Canyon classic climbs through the pines, past a locally signed boulder, and into open space to a skier’s line of choice.  

For information on avalanche safety in specific areas, directions, and pro tips, go to https://bozemanskiguide.com/places-for-backcountry-splitboarding-skiing#:~:text=1)%20Mt.,Bozeman%20and%20has%20easy%20access

Being backcountry safe is not only necessary but could help you save the lives of others! Make sure to always check snow conditions before slapping on the skins, and take courses to be aware of avalanche safety. To learn how to get involved in avalanche safety classes, and to see local reports, reach out to Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center: https://www.mtavalanche.com/.

Get Hooked:

Cameron Bridge on The Gallatin River
A popular spot with miles of opportunity. This close-to-town zone is great for an afternoon trip to get some good-sized wild trout!

Hyalite Reservoir
In the midst of many hiking, biking, and climbing routes, Hyalite Reservoir is surrounded by the massive beauty of the peaks. If you want some fish that will challenge your reel, this is the spot to go!

The Madison River
With many spots being some of the locals' favorites, the Madison carries many beautiful and sizable trout. Within Yellowstone National Park, the trout that swim through during the spring are known to be some of the biggest, but as summer arrives, the water gets too warm due to geothermal activity. The Lower Madison, near Ennis, Montana, is a beautiful spot surrounded by the Madison Mountain Range. 

Whether you’re looking to catch Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Grayling, or Brown Trout, the opportunities are endless. Fly fishing is a pastime of many locals here in Bozeman, so the fly shops, avid fishermen, and guides can all give you a hand on when and where to go. Montana Troutfitters, Fins and Feathers, and Bozeman Angler are all great shops in town to grab gear and get on the river!


Hyalite Canyon
Hyalite is known for its many climbing routes throughout the seasons. Spanning from 5.6 Trad to WI5 M9 routes, the possibilities are endless. Genesis area is a well-known zone for both beginner and advanced ice climbers, and is one of many spots that the Bozeman Ice Fest uses to demo gear and lead clinics. 

Gallatin Canyon
East Side, West Side, and Stormcastle make up the three climbing regions within the canyon that consist of over 300 possible routes. Trad and sport routes make up all three areas and span from 5.5 trad to 5.14a sport routes. If you’re not multi pitching towers overlooking the Gallatin River, you’ll be pulling on narrow cracks, chimney features, and clean faces of rock. 

Bear Canyon
This canyon is a sport climber’s dream, as it is all bolted and varies from 5.7 to 5.12c. It is a great area for beginners and has a short approach. 

With over 2,000 routes near Bozeman, climbing is a hobby of many in town and the lifestyle of some local pros. If you are just beginning and would like to learn the ropes, Spire Climbing Gym is the perfect place to get belay and lead certified so that you can be safe once you are outside and on the wall. 

Get Ice-olated:
Ice Climbing

Bozeman is home to some of the best ice climbing in North America. People travel from all over the world to get a few pulls on ice in Hyalite Canyon, but there is plenty of opportunity if this is a new hobby you’d like to pick up. Every year the The Bozeman Ice Festival hosts clinics in the canyon, temporary practice walls at the fairgrounds, and events at the Emerson Cultural Center. In 2019 Uphill Pursuits, a backcountry-based gear shop, helped set up and support the festival. They are a fantastic source to get all your gear and get ready for some icy adventures this winter!


Tubing and Rafting

Whether you want to plan a guided family trip or have done it for years, the tubing and rafting scene is vast and welcoming! Guided trips leave from Bozeman, Ennis, Gardiner, and Big Sky through the many locally owned companies. Dropping in a tube and floating down the many surrounding rivers is a great way to stay on budget while getting some beautiful Montana scenery in, so here are some great spots that allow for a slow flow. 

Madison River
This scenic route is a calm and popular spot that is known by many! The most common spot to put in is at Warm Springs, and after the two-hour float, most get out at Black’s Fork. Although this float is very calm, be prepared for hidden rocks and shallow spots!

The Missouri River
This float can stretch from full-day trips to a four-day, three-night camping trip along the river. Coal Bank’s Landing is a popular starting point, and camping, or ending points can be reached at Eagle Creek, The Wall, Slaughter River, and Judith Landing. 

The Gallatin River
This river stretches through the canyon and has many opportunities for all skill levels. Most guided trips begin near Big Sky and allow for challenging terrain, however the upper Gallatin can be much more laid-back for those looking for a mellow ride. 

The Gardiner River meets the Yellowstone
A popular spot for guided trips that creates a day full of Yellowstone beauty and plenty of wildlife. Guided tours are available through Montana White Water, so check out their website to start planning your next Montana summer adventure: https://www.montanawhitewater.com/whitewater-rafting/gallatin-river-whitewater-rafting/.

Local Trails

Highland Glen Trail
3.7 miles
This easy trail is used year round through rolling hills and is perfect for all skill levels.

Bear Canyon Trail 
8.1 miles
Out and back 
Bear Canyon is a popular climbing, bird watching, running, and hiking area that ends at the beautiful Mystic Lake. 

Sypes Canyon Trailhead
6.2 miles
Out and back
Sypes Canyon is a heavily trafficked Bozeman hotspot for trail runners and hikers that ends with a beautiful overlook and connects to the Bridger Ridge Trail.

Painted Hills Trail
2.9 miles
Out and back
In the foothills, with clear views of the Bridgers, this trail is a great day hike for the whole family! Many bikers, horses, and trail runners use this trail to connect to Triple Tree Trail. 

Bridger Ridge Traverse
18.7 miles
Point to point
From the local M Trailhead to Fairy Lake, the Bridger Ridge Traverse takes hikers along rocky spines and steep climbs.

College “M” Trailhead
1.9 miles
Out and back or loop
Because this trail is so close to town, it is heavily trafficked. The wildflowers are bright, and the views are hard to beat as many locals do this hike for a sunrise or sunset viewing. Those who are looking to go beyond the trail can connect to the Bridger Ridge Traverse. 

Triple Tree Trail
5.6 miles
This lollipop loop consists of gradual climbs, lots of tree coverage, and a beautiful Bozeman overlook at the peak. 

Mountain Biking

Leverich Canyon
Advanced route
4.9 miles
This steady climb goes through an old mining road, along the ridge, and through the trees. The fast downhill consists of many burms, banked corners, and airs, but watch out for hikers and others, as this is one of the most popular trails near town. 

South Cottonwood Creek to Fox Creek Ranger Station
Moderate/Difficult Route
12.2 miles
This technical ride goes through creeks, woods, and lots of tree coverage, so is perfect for those hot Montana summer days. 

Mystic Lake
Intermediate route
20.4 miles
This easy out-and-back trail is a great way to get the whole family out! Following along Bozeman Creek, there are many spots for the kiddos to take a dip or have a picnic.

Emerald Lake
10.0 miles
Intermediate route
The 2,000-foot climb is worth the ride, as it puts you right at the beautiful alpine lake. If you’re still wanting more, Heather Lake is just another mile up. 

Chestnut Mountain
15.0 miles
Advanced route
Starting with a steep and steady 5-mile ascent, this trail is one big workout. The advanced ranking of the Chestnut Mountain Trail is not due to the trail surface but the grad of the climb. Covered by trees that open up to miles of Montana beauty, this climb is definitely worth it. 

May the Forest Be With You:
Bozeman Backpacking 

Bozeman is surrounded by some of the most beautiful and massive peaks in Montana, so backpacking in the surrounding ranges is an amazing way to bag multiple peaks, and see all the nooks and crannies of the last best place. 

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
There are over 700 miles of trails in the Absarokas, so the options for backpacking trails are nearly endless. 

Granite Peak Trail
19.4 miles
Out and back
Steep climbs, summit scrambles, and snow bridges may turn many away, but this route crosses many alpine lakes and may allow you to befriend the local mountain goats ... from a distance of course. The snow remains late into the summer, and many hikers bring ropes to rappel off the summit, so do your research, and know the terrain before getting out on this route. 

The Beaten Path Trial
28.6 miles
Point to point
This trail is towered over by massive granite cliff faces and crosses paths with many lakes. Most hikers plan a key swap to avoid a lengthy shuttle, but a drive over the Beartooth Highway is not something you’ll regret. 

Lake Plateau Trail
24.4 miles
Lake Plateau Hikers find this trail to be a beauty on top of the world. The wildflowers surround the trail and many claim campsites around Rainbow Lake, Pinchot Lake, and Fish Lake. 

West Fork Mill Creek Trail 
25.3 miles
Pretty views, dispersed camping, and the close proximity make this hike a very beautiful weekend trip! 

The Bridgers

Bridger Foothills Trail 
19.9 miles
Point to point
With tremendous elevation gain and loss, this trail is not for the faint of heart. In the shadows of the Bridger Ridge Traverse, this trail is underrated as its views of the Tobacco Root Range and Gallatin Range are immaculate. 

Gallatin Range

Gallatin Crest Trail 
23.7 miles
Point to point 
Crossing over the Gallatin Range, this route is one of Montana’s favorites. The single track trail has many start and end points, so creating your own personal route is a great option for shorter day hikes. 

Sky Rim Trail- West
19.4 miles
From Dailey Pass to Big Horn Peak, the Sky Rim Trail feels like a hike through the sky. There are many points in which the tree line is crossed and ridges are walked, so lightning is a major concern. Be sure to always check the weather reports, and be prepared for any rapid changes!

Cross-Country Skiing

Not only is cross-country skiing an amazing way to enjoy a nice work out, but it warms you up during these chilly winters. The XC community is large and welcoming here in Bozeman, so whether you're brand new to the sport or have years of experience, you’ll have countless opportunities. Hyalite Canyon, Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, as well as right here in town offer countless trails that are both groomed and untouched. The Bridger Ski Foundation has many resources on their website, https://www.bridgerskifoundation.org/trails/main, and can help you find grooming reports, trail maps, and trail passes. For gear, tune-ups, and any questions, Bangtail Sports on Main Street has the crew to help! 

Sourdough Trail 
10 miles 
Out and back 

Bridger Creek Golf Course
7 miles of trails

Sunset Hills
2.4 miles