Explore the most popular views 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.

Narrow path with lots of horse poop. Be sure to wear long pants because the grass is long in places. The lake at the top is pretty, but quite brown and not very inviting for a swim. We saw bear and wolf tracks, which was pretty cool. The wildflowers and general vegetation were spectacular. The flies were bad (as I imagine they are throughout these parts in summer), so bring ya’ DEET. Not overly strenuous, we made it up in an hour and a half.

From the Blackmore parking lot it’s 12.4 miles. Really pretty with the wildflowers blooming. Only two small patches of snow to cross.

Did this hike Friday (7/13/18) later in the afternoon as a large two family group (8 yoa to 51 yoa). It was warmer and we wished we had brought more water on the trail as most of the trail is rolling and climbing through the forest with not much wind moving.

The lake was beautiful and provided some cool relief. My brother in law who does triathlons (competed in Kona) brought his wetsuit and swam the lake. Another check box filled in his bucket list.

Serene trail ending in a beautiful lake. The lake is wonderful to swim in during the summer.

We did see a grizzly bear within 10 feet when we turned a corner. It quickly ran away. We also heard from hikers heading down that they had seen a mountain lion around the same location as the bear (~.6 miles in).

Be aware, carry bear spray, don’t hike alone, and be careful if you bring your dog!

Was a nice hike in a wooded area to the lake. It had some steeper inclines but we were able to stop and rest by a beautiful stream. The meadow and wildflowers were awesome! The thing that didn’t make it worth doing again was the road to the trailhead. For the last 3 miles it was very rough with rocks and pot holes. Took a while to get there in our truck.

Beautiful views! Definitely more of a mountain biking trail, especially on the downward part of the loop. You’ll need a vehicle with a high clearance/AWD to get to the trailhead though! The road is incredibly bumpy and we got stuck.

hiking
2 days ago

The hike is beautiful with the first part of it being in the trees and then it opening up to beautiful views! There was still snow pack and some run off.
Downside was the road going up. It’s a terrible 6 miles. If you have a mountain bike or 2 wheeled vehicle it would be a little better but it’s not for beginners.

noone on the trail. start early as it will get hot. steady uphill the whole trail. you can apparently rent the cabin up at the top. the last 100 yards are steep. trail is across from storm castle. there's a campground just past the trailhead too. no water source on trail.

steady hike up with a couple water crossings. 2 bridges, 1 Rock hop, 1 log walk. gorgeous lake Worth taking a swim in with the jumping fish.

hiking
3 days ago

There is a nice mix of easy and challenging sections on this trail. The views were spectacular and the flowers were gorgeous. The flies were pretty bad, but the mosquitos weren’t. We hiked 6.5 miles (all the way up) in just under 3 hours. It’s a great workout.

hiking
3 days ago

Short easy hike with great view of the waterfall at the end.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike. A lot of switchbacks. Beautiful views at the top. We went later in the day and the parking had a few open spots. Took about 1h 50m up and 1h 30m down.

Super fun hike- I was completely alone with my dogs which is always amazing. I was able to easily make it to all the lakes, but I’m glad I had my phone gps and maps. The trail up to the upper two lakes is much narrower and not well marked. However the trail is worn and easy to follow once you are on it.

The trail has about 4 steep sections followed by flat sections to catch your breathe. I made it to the lake in an hour. Some people were fishing, not sure if they were having any luck. Good hike, rough road getting up there. Glad I borrowed a friends truck.

Awesome Hike !

trail running
4 days ago

Pretty awesome run/hike. There is a lot of vert. we ended up with 7500' of climbing but we stopped at Ross Pass and went back on the Bridger Foothills Trail. only bad part was limited spots to restock on water and pretty technical. But all around awesome run!

Packed with people but beautiful views! We went on a weekend so maybe a weekday would be better. Wide trails, easy hiking.

Beautiful views! Go early due to heavy traffic, small parking area, and narrow trails. We got there at 8am and it took 3.5 hours round trip. Only saw one other hiker going up but saw many coming up as we were going down. Keep going to the top! Its worth it.

such a beautiful hike with amazing scenery. it gets busy around the afternoon but is still an amazing hike. the rocks are quite slippery at the bottom of the waterfall, so if you go down, be careful.

Great hike. Up, up, up all the way for a brilliant lake view!

hiking
5 days ago

Not a bad hike, but the trail itself is also used by ATVs (though I didn’t see any while I hiked it). It will end up taking you back to a beautiful lake! The trail runs through thick woods the whole way and there is a creek that parallels most of it. This is a very gradual hike that could make for an easy backpacking trip or day hike. There are a TON of mosquitos, so bring plenty of bug spray!

If you’d like to avoid ATV and motorcycle traffic and take a single-track trail in, go up New World Gulch and cut east once you reach the intersection with the overgrown forest service road. You’ll reach this intersection after crossing the east side of Mystic Lake. This’ll also add a few more miles to the trip.

backpacking
5 days ago

This is one of my favorite hikes within 30 minutes of Bozeman! You can expect a gradual, steady climb on a wide trail that winds through thick trees the majority of the way up. You’ll also get a few opportunities to admire the canyon walls towering above you as you make your way up. There is also a beautiful section that runs through a small open area next to a creek. Once you near Emerald Lake, you’ll start to enter a few larger meadows. When you reach Emerald lake, you’ll have a great view of the peaks and plenty of spots for a picnic or camping.

If Emerald lake is too crowded, continue up the west side of the lake through yet another beautiful meadow. The trail takes you one mile further to Heather lake. It is slightly smaller and has more bugs, but will likely be less crowded. There was still quite a bit of snow to go through to get to Heather Lake, last weekend, but it was manageable as long as you have a general idea of where the lake is.

hiking
5 days ago

New World Gulch has plenty of great features including creeks, meadows, plenty of wildflowers, and ends up at Mystic Lake. There is also a rentable forest service cabin at the lake. There are a few steep places, one small section in particular that can be difficult to keep your footing. There are also a few creek crossings. You’ll eventually end up on a closed forest service road that’ll take you down to the lake.

The hike is not too difficult, but there is also nothing to really make it stand out among the other area lake hikes. When I did it back in June, the lake was unusually low (especially for the snowpack that we had this season). There is also a closed road coming up sourdough canyon that’ll take you to the lake which takes away from the natural surroundings a little in my opinion, though it’d probably be a great cross country sky trek in the winter.

If you are really looking for a hike, head back down from the lake by cutting over to Bear Canyon! You’ll come out at the Bear Canyon Trailhead which is just 1/4 mile from The New World Gulch Trailhead. You’ll get to see a few more secluded ponds and lakes along the way, but you’ll end up hiking nearly 20 miles round-trip. Also, be careful hiking at dusk or at night; there is plenty of mountain lion scat to be found on the trail.

Overall, this does make a good day hike or could also make for good backpacking; and the lake is pretty great when it’s full. It’s minutes from Bozeman and easy to access. Personally, if you want a Great Lake hike, I’d check out the Hyalite Lake or Emerald/Heather Lake hikes up Hyalite canyon.

hiking
6 days ago

Very open hike with meadows and lots of wildflowers that were beautiful. We were the only ones on the hike and the trail has a very narrow path so would definitely recommend bear spray and long pants if you have any. A very easy-moderate hike that was good for an afternoon stroll while looking for some incline with good views!

one of my favorites. Wildflowers, water, dog friendly and fun!

What a lovely trail! I would do this one again and especially a little earlier as the meadows of wild flowers were wonderful, but how much more a few weeks ago! It was an easy trail and only a few switchbacks at the top - but since the falls are falls, of course you must climb a bit. I must add that driving in was absolutely breathtaking! Like a Lamar Valley wow! The Flying D May be private but they have taken every effort to keep it picturesque. I only wish I had brought my acrylics or watercolors. I loved this day.

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike, but be prepared to get a leg workout with the steep hike to the peak! Once you make it, the views are breathtaking! Also be prepared for all the rocks that might move when stepping in them, ankle high boats are recommend. also make sure you have a car with good clearance for the rough road up!

Solid hike, lake at the end is beautiful.

Beautiful views at the end of the hike. Throughout the hike, you are mostly hiking through the forest at a consistent incline with a few breaks. There are a few breaks in the forest with some pretty views as well though, but not many. There are rocks throughout the trail, which I thought were useful in maintaining footing, rather than hiking on slippery gravel, etc.

Favorite hike in Montana so far. All the waterfalls were amazing. The trail conditions were great. Our feet got wet but we made it all the way to the lake with 3 dogs (one small). Still some snow. Took us 5 hours up. 2 hours back. Overall an easier hike- the distance was hard. 12 miles.

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