Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Gallatin National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

24 days ago

This was one of my favorite hikes before the fire. It was lush with meadows and mountains with a lot of cover and not to steep for older kids (except at the end near the falls), but after the fire, it is much more exposed. Still a beautiful hike but I would do it in the spring, fall or an overcast day and probably without the younger kids.

Pretty great hike! My 9 year old daughter hiked this trail with me. I was surprised considering the grade and 7.1 mile out and back! This is a beautiful hike with a pretty little lake at the top! Bring bear spray. Wear layers and have a water pack if you’re going in the warm weather and of course, snacks. You’ll want to hang out at the top for a while and enjoy the view! Wild flowers galore. Very pretty hike!

Incredible trail... backpacked it May 2017...plenty of wildlife, spectacular views, and challenging climbs... highly recommend this Trail.

3 months ago

Burnt out forest trail with no shade until close to Passage Falls. The wind whistles over the pass and its distant sound is a bit otherworldly, was neat! My 7 year old son was able to hike this with me and tolerated it well, with just one rest on the way in for nourishment and to cool down (August 2016). Only one spot on the descent to the falls where I was concerned about my son being able to navigate the path, but he was fine with a hand to keep him balanced. The waterfall at the end was really very nice, a good day hike. Suggest taking a small picnic to pack in and out. There were quite a few people trekking in on this particular Friday. Maybe try midweek and early morning to maximize your experience.

3 months ago

We left "The Dead Indian Creek Trail", and stayed overnight in Cooke City. We then started on the Cooke City side. Parking was plenty. There is zero parking cost, part they are not responsible for any damage or theft to your vehicle. There is a picnic area here, along with a toilet. Beautiful waterfall, and neat history if you just wanted to see a roadside stop. We backpacked to Rock Island lake. Our campground was gorgeous, along with the view. It was not a bad jaunt, if you are looking for a quick place for experience. We had a huge moose walk passed our hammocks at about 3:00 a.m. The stomps were amazing, on top of waking up scared as hell knowing there was that huge animal passing by. We woke up to see him still in the lake splashing. Simply Amazing. I would love to come back and actually do the trail itself. We were told we were making a mistake going this time of year because mosquitos just hatched. THEY WERE NOT LYING. Being from Minnesota, we thought we were used to them. They were unbelievable, although with the proper clothing, never really were bitten. We were also told we would hit a lot of snow....we had a few patches but nothing to really even walk on.

6 months ago

Did this trail in late October to go hunting. Lots of elevation gain, but the views are worth it. I don’t expect this trail gets much traffic. Not suitable for anything other than hiking once you get up high. I wouldn’t trust my dog around lots of this terrain.

We did this trail years ago absolutely beautiful! Saw a mother moose and her calf

8 months ago

This trail was way more difficult that we expected it to be. We plenned to do 3 hikes the day we did this one and luckily completed Beehive Basin first! My friend and I are in good shape but it kicked our butts. There's a good mix of wide open spaces, rocky inclines, and wooded trail. We saw a moose within the first minute of hiking here. The rest of the trail was very peaceful, we had it to ourselves almost the entire time.

We saw a momma and 2 cub black bears one mile from the TH. Great views the whole way, and the trail is in very good shape. A couple of fish jumped in the lake.

8 months ago

Beautiful, well maintained trail. Emerald Lake was gorgeous. Would do it again...

Amazing hike. Hard trip for the first day.

8 months ago

It's not 8.5 miles out and back at all. I'd say more like 5 to 6 at the most. The area is super cool cause the whole drainage burned down 15 years ago all the trees are growing back.

Good trail with a fairly easy incline for most of the trip. Some steep sections but nothing crazy. Lots of small creeks cross the trail even in mid August. Tons of people here so do not expect to see any wild life. Busiest trail I've been on in a long time, but beautiful scenery! Very small lake at the top, I wouldn't expect good fishing.

Tight, muddy trail in portions where bushes are over growing the trail. Not overly trafficked on a Tuesday morning. Nice pay off at the end when you reach the falls! When you get about 1.6 miles in, you'll see a bridge. Ignore it and go straight, up the hill and you'll see a clearing with a cabin soon. Then, you'll be about .2 away from the falls.

Gorgeous trail! When you get to the lake at the top, keep going to the left and follow it to the rock ledge looking over the lake and valley.

Easy sloping run. Great view and flower fields

Should be called Berry Trail! Thimbleberries, raspberries and choke cherries. Not a good hike to do on a hot day, no cover. Burned out area. You can hear the wind howling through the dead trees. Beautiful falls, we hiked the top trail. The trail that went to the bottom was slippery sand. Worthwhile trail.

A fabulous trail, well-maintained, quite heavy traffic however. We were hoping to see Bear or Moose but on a Sunday, I suspect they were hiding from all the human traffic. Views, wildflowers and lake are stunning. Completely worth the effort and quite achievable for all. Take your time and pack a picnic to enjoy at the end of the trail

As everyone on the way down says "it's worth it no matter how hard you're breathing".

This was difficult on the way up and we are very active. So gratifying and worth it!!

trail running
10 months ago

Awesome beautiful and challenging

Awesome trail, heck of a workout and well worth it!

10 months ago

Steady hike. Tons of mosquitoes!

Beautiful hike...uphill most of the way so fairly strenuous. 2.75 miles each way.

Lots of mosquitoes at the top so bring bug spray, but overall one of my most favorite hikes!

Great trail, some technical parts that preventing me from running (not to mention the altitude factor). Scenery is tough to beat. Rewarding and gorgeous. Best to hit this trail early in the day to avoid the peak of hiking activity. I went at 8am which was perfect. All Trails overestimates both the distance and elevation gain. It was 6.2 miles round trip and more like 1350 elevation gain. Overall, worth it with great views and great wildlife!

Amazing hike. Kids (11 and 6 years old) hiked the whole thing with no complains. Views along the way and at the top are gorgeous.

If you are from Missouri, this trail can be exhausting. It was worth making it to the top. My son caught a trout at the lake. It was awesome!

10 months ago

A beautiful hike! We did run into strong winds and rain on the return. Trees started falling along the trail. We were thankful that Nancy from the forest service came up behind us and directed us to an open meadow. We made it out safely. An adventure for sure!

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