Explore the most popular hiking 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.

hiking
2 days ago

it is a great hike, but if you're not used to hiking up for a while then you will be tired! there are many false summits so prepare yourself mentally to be disappointed when you see another peak!! we hiked in the dark on our way out and the trail was easy enough to do it with ease!

A well populated trail. Despite the number of people who fill up the trail, the lake itself is huge, and there is opportunity to spread out a bit once you reach the lake. Nice spots to picnic or take a dip in the lake.

The trail has a little bit of everything. The possibility of a bear encounter, creek, treasures to find(and put back) like petrified wood, obsidian..., cows blocking your path on your way there(from pray), low traffic(we only saw one other couple on the path). I recommend climbing up to the peak of that area, it’s a bit scary if you are a newbs like us. We did find two pieces of petrified wood, we put them back right where we found them. To give you a hint, at one of the info signs, there’s a path that leads to a creek, it’s to the right of that path in the grass. The other piece we found looked like petrified wood that was also charcoal. It’s up on the taller peak. The creaking of the gate to enter the trail is creepy sounding like in a movie. I found wild raspberries on the trail that were delicious, there were also bane berries that are toxic, don’t eat those. I’ll add some images from our hike. Also, I’m on Verizon and I got zero bars most of the trail, one bar in the parking lot.

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hiking
3 days ago

Mostly shaded, we went early in the day. Park at the overflow lot as neighbors seem strict about not parking on the road leading to trailhead. Lots of elevation gain pretty quickly and several switchbacks, worth it, but maybe not great for a group. Seemed popular with locals. Wonderful views at the top. bring lots of water.

shady, no mile markers, lots of pesky flies! lots of beautiful waterfall options. bring lots of water, you'll need it.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike with nice views. Moderate incline that was not too strenuous.

Great easy short trail to a nice waterfall.

Great Trail for beginners with amazing views.

Amazing hike. Very popular so get there early.
A small lake near top with some swimming in it. We hiked about 1/2 mile further past a rock cliff for more views. Wild flowers everywhere. Most difficult part was past the lake, but very doable.
Was a little hazy the day we went, most likely due to wildfires in California/Oregon?

Pretty trail. I am looking forward to making it out here this fall as I noticed some aspen trees! I am certain this trail will be a frequent for me, and next time would like to take it to the College M!

Very nice trail! I summitted Saddle Peak from this, which I would highly recommend. The trail never really ends and continues to Saddle Peak, so those who don't want to summit will have to find their own spot to turn around.

hiking
4 days ago

Road is pretty rough-and as of August 11th the lake is dried up

backpacking
5 days ago

A nice short hike, with one fairly steep one mile stretch and a second somewhat steep 1.5 mile rocky path, but with some flat parts. (These distances are approximations!) There are a couple of river crossings as well and the path seems to disappear at certain points, but there's a lot of little rock towers to guide you.

But most importantly: BUG REPELLENT!!!! I amassed over 25 mosquito bites whilst being mostly covered in clothing. And it does get pretty windy.

This loop seems to have been developed and none existent.

Nice steady climb up following switchbacks. Somewhat rocky making for loose footing at times. Views and several lookout areas on way up. At top, a neat natural rocky arch. Had lunch with quite aggressive chipmunks. No fear. Hikers in front of us encountered a deer. At bottom visit stream across from parking area to cool off.

360 degree views - stunning. Definitely need bear spray / be prepared and educated.

hiking
5 days ago

Did not find the shorter loop and ended up on the bigger 12 mile hike, so had to turn around. Really beautiful, but wish we could have found the 2.3 mile loop. Encountered dirt bikes, horseback riders (from Jake’s Ranch), and hikers. All very polite of each other’s space. Gorgeous views!! Only giving 4 stars because we couldn’t find the shorter hike.

hiking
5 days ago

Great workout hike with steady uphill throughout. Saw this trail mentioned as a great kids hike in a local magazine but after hiking it, I would hesitate to bring children here. It is challenging enough you might end up carrying them but more because of the steep drop offs and narrow trails throughout. Keep a close eye on kids if you do bring them. Amazing views at the top.

A well maintained path down to a beautiful waterfall. Short and not difficult. Can be very busy, so go early morning or late afternoon. There are multiple benches and bridges and picnic tables along the way.

Magic trail, definitely moderate and perfect start to hiking in Bozeman.

Nice moderate hike to chilly lake. Two 60+ hikers and we made it up and back in just over 2 hours hike time. Would recommend. Just over 5 miles out and back.

Did this hike at the suggestion of a local we chatted with at Beehive Brewery while traveling through Big Sky. It was great! So many wild flowers! It was beautiful. The reward at the top was a splendid little lake. We continued past and enjoyed a picnic on top of a small mountain area over looking the lake. Although this is obviously a very popular hike, the trail did not seem overly crowded.

backpacking
6 days ago

Spent 4 days at Blue Lake. We backpacked in and spent a few nights and went on a couple nice day hikes to explore from there. It CAN be done as a day hike, to go up and then come right back, but I like how my friend put it, "Why would I wanna leave this?" It is a beautiful place to spend a few days. This was my very first backpacking trip ever, and it will definitely NOT be my last. We hiked around Blue Lake over to Thunder Lake and over to Thunder Rapids - VERY cool experience over there. Then we kinda strolled over to Granite Lake, but turned back as the weather was getting pretty hairy.

The one thing is to ignore the elevation indicators on the map...this was ALL uphill, with the second part after you cross the creek going into pretty strenuous hiking at times through several switch backs. Not too bad necessarily if you're just day hiking, but can be pretty intense if you've got 50+ lbs on your back.

We went during the middle of the week and came back Saturday morning, which I would say is perfect, as there were quite a few people that started coming up Friday night, and then a TON of people coming up Saturday. It's a very popular hiking area, which is good and bad depending on what you're wanting. Blue Lake is great to come up to if you're looking for a nice basecamp area to do other day hikes from. The primo spot is right in the middle of the peninsula where we set up out eating area.

Despite referring to three different sources including the National Geographic map of the area, AllTrails, and the Bozeman Hikes book, there seems to be some confusion on the distance of this hike. While I did not turn on my GPS for this hike, my general 20 minutes/mile seemed accurate with the 4 mile sign to the trail head of Truman when I reached the junction up top. I assume there was some trail maintenance which rerouted the trail and added some length. That, and about 3 miles in, I noticed some pretty recent trail work done for some pretty nice mountain biking trail. That said, the distance reported by many sources is off so do allow yourself some additional time to complete this trail if you'd like to do it all. Perfect trail for a hot day and super quiet and peaceful!

Ran with my two girls (11/9). We each carried a full hydro pack and brought a lifestraw along. We had plenty of fuel as well. The hike was amazing. We didn't hike to the top of the peak. We hiked to a lower one as I didn't feel safe enough with the last mile with my kids due to terrain.
The girls ran out of water at the peak and used the lifestraw on the way down. The waterfalls were amazing and so were the wildflowers! I would do this hike again in a heartbeat! It took us 5 hours to run/hike/enjoy this. I stopped and took a zillion photos and we spent about 20 minutes at the lake.

Take the road until it dead ends at the last trail head. Note the trail head marker might be miss marked. It mentions trail 531 seasonal usage when in fact it’s trail 432 (I think). I started at noon and a good spray of bug repellent and had no problems. Pretty wide path and perfect gentle slope all the way up. I did a slow jog for most of it, really great trail running path, Up and down. Loaded with wildflowers. Passed plenty of happy friendly ppl. The lake is at the top of a wide open meadow. Crystal-clear waters. Me and the dogs are in good shape and even with our jogging and lots of picture time and playing in the water we made it up in 2 1/2 hours. And down in 1 1/2. Total 4 hr trip. Tank top, shorts, and Obozo low hikers. Nice to have a light zippy up top. Peace love and happiness to your hike!

backpacking
8 days ago

Awesome trail. Make sure you are in shape. Don’t try to do this trail until mid-summer due to the access roads might still be closed from snow-pack up in this area. A must do for sure. And take a fly rod.

This is a hard hike despite how short it seems! The dirt road from the highway to the trailhead will take you about 40 mins even though it's only 7 miles! We only saw a few mountain goats, but the views were spectacular! It's a hike that makes you feel on top of the world with 360 degree views of the valley! We took it slow and it took us 4 hours. It seems like it would be very hot but the wind was blowing pretty consistently and kept us very cool, even though we were in the sun almost the whole hike. Be wary of all of the rocks and slipping. There was definitely a few moments I had to get on all fours or slide down on my butt. This is an amazing hike though and I would highly recommend it!!

Epic wild flower hike - beautiful.

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