Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Bear Trap Canyon is a 15 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Norris, Montana that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 15.0 mi Elevation gain 1,515 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Forest River Views Wildlife
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (46)
Photos (32)
Recordings (28)
Completed (100)
View user's profile page
Jaime Benson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 22, 2020
HikingBugsRocky
View Jaime's Recording
View user's profile page
greg dowell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail following the river - saw two black bears within the first 2 miles

View greg's Recording
View user's profile page
Sean Kretovics
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2019
BackpackingOver grown

Pretty nice trail overall! A little over grown in parts for the first two miles or so, then it clears up a bit. We ended up setting up camp about 3.2 miles in, but kept walking after setting up camp. After the log river crossing about 3.5 miles in, the trail goes up into the woods and gets very overgrown. We had to bushwack for about a mile and a half before we decided to turn around. Great fishing access throughout the trail though and not too many bugs this late in the season.

View user's profile page
Dani Dch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 12, 2019
Hiking

Would have given 5 stars, but bugs are INSANE. Pretty flat, nice breeze coming from the river.

View user's profile page
Lara Birkes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 29, 2019

Hiked about 4 miles down the trail on Saturday and conditions were great! Lovely walk along the river with plenty of places for my dog to swim. Nice for a casual outing.

View user's profile page
Kiera Ortega
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2019
Hiking

First time going and couldn’t have been more pleased. Great trail conditions. Didn’t run into many muddy spots. There was an animal carcass about .5 miles up. Wish I would have seen it before my dog did...other than that I loved the hike itself.

View user's profile page
Jim James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 24, 2018
Running

Not ideal for trail running as of August 18th, 2018. - It’s really overgrown with prickly brush about 3 miles in, so wear pants, or just hike and take it slow. - Keep your eyes down for rattlesnakes— they can blend in with the dirt/boot tracks!

View user's profile page
Barbara Sirovatka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2018
Hiking

My review from 3 summers ago warned of snakes and poison ivy. A friend told me "You've got to go in the winter!", so I did. On a sunny day in November, after a very light snow, it was beautiful. Easy trail, no crowds, no bugs, no snakes, and the poison ivy was withered and easily identified by the telltale berries.

View user's profile page
406dirtypaws _
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2018
Hiking

Really great trail for running or taking your parents!! Perfect for spring when you don’t want to encounter snow!

View user's profile page
Danny Branch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 22, 2018
Hiking

If this trail were out in the middle of nowhere it would be great. However, it is a zoo. Super crowded.

View user's profile page
Matthew Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2017
Backpacking

Hiked into Bear Trap with the little sister on the 5/2/17. The plan was to backpack into the first campsite(about 3-4 miles in), set up camp, and then day hike back down to the slow and low parts of the river for some fly fishing. Unfortunately for us, we picked a day to hike in where a group of several Conservation Corp members were putting in some serious work on the trail (along the fishable parts of the river), and given the hard work they were doing we didn't want to be continually interrupting by fishing through them repeatedly. So we ended up just setting camp, exploring the immediate area, and enjoying the scenery. We did see a lot of bear sign along the trail, but fortunately had no encounters. The nighttime got pretty cool, given the time of year and how close to the river we'd set up camp. Easy hike in though, and the scenery is pretty nice the whole way.

View user's profile page
Don Uhrig
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2016
Hiking

More of a stroll than a hike, there is very little elevation change on this trail. It is suitable for all skill levels. And because it's an out-and-back, one is under full control of the distance they wish to cover. Beautiful scenery. The sound of the river comes and goes as the trail alternates being close to and away from the water.

View user's profile page
Barbara Sirovatka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 22, 2015
Hiking

From everyone else's review, I would have loved to continue this trail. The river and initial section of the canyon is beautiful. However, within the first mile, the poison ivy was so thick along the single track path, that even long pants and long sleeves would have gotten contaminated. Also had to hop over what I think was a bull snake den - saw the holes and saw the snake in the grasses along the river bank.

View user's profile page
Matthew Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 1, 2015
Hiking

Beautiful hike. I did an overnight hike on this trail this week, and loved it. I plan to go back and do it again this summer. First, a few things I think people should know starting out: 1. Fishing is allowed year round on this trail. This section of the Madison is very popular with Fly Fishers, and produces some huge brown and rainbow trout. I had a ton of difficulty trying to find out the fishing regulations for this stretch of river, so hopefully this will help someone out. 2. This trail has snakes and bugs. Lots of snakes and bugs. If that is bothersome, this trail might not be the one to hike. Be on the lookout for rattle snakes in particular, as they frequent this area, but there are also rubber boas near by that are much less dangerous. 3. The trail is listed as a 14 mile out and back. Along with other reviewers, I feel this falls short. It is probably closer to a 16-17 mile out and back. It is also listed as easy-moderate with little elevation gain. This is false. The entire last half of the trail is a series of steep inclines and declines, that probably gives you alot more elevation gain accumulated than indicated. 4. There are only campsites in the first half of the trail. I was unaware of this, and when I came upon a nice little camp site at around 5 miles in, I decided I still had enough energy to keep going for a bit, and figured I'd turn off at the next campsite within a few miles. There is NO such camp site. I walked, and walked, and walked, and finally came to the dead end Montana Power fence that marks the end of the trail. As I previously mentioned, this last half of the trail has ALOT of steep up and down sections. I was very upset that I now had to walk the 3-4 miles back to the last campsite. You are much better off to stop at one of the campsites along the first half of the trail, set up camp and dump your gear, and then dayhike the rest of the trail. 5. This trail is not dog friendly. While dogs are allowed on the trail, some of the more rocky sections could be pretty damaging to their paws. I brought my dog along, and finally ended up just carrying him across the rockier stretches, after watching his paws get pinched between rocks innumerable times. He never complained, but it was still not fun to watch. All in all, this was an amazing hike with TONS of beautiful scenery. The craggy peaks and white water rapids make for some excellent views, and the noise of the river is nice to fall asleep to.

View user's profile page
V K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2014

Views of the Madison River are wonderful! Watch out for the Poison Ivy It's loaded along the trail .

View user's profile page
R L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 3, 2014
Hiking

There was a devastating fire in this area about 2 years ago and the first part of the hike is thru this. Search Bear Trap Canyon Fire if you wish. Don't be too concerned as the hike is still very scenic. The first 3rd is really easy but the last two thirds are moderate to strenuous. The trail undulates from river level to quite higher up and then back down again and repeats this almost endlessly and for this reason the trail is difficult. I think the true vertical gain and loss is more like 2000 feet instead of the 500 that is the change from start to finish. Many guides show this as a 7 mile one way hike but I think it's closer to 8 or 9. We went on April 2, 2014 with about an inch of new on dirt. The trail was a bit slippery in spots and with the sheer drop offs to the river was an "interesting" hike. By noon the snow abated and most of it melted so it was more or less a standard hike. The canyon walls are near vertical in many spots that my neck is sore one day later from looking up so much. LOL. The trail ends abruptly at the power station property and is fenced off with no trespassing signs so you will know when you are at the end. We did sneak around the corner to see what we could see but there wasn't any power station in view so we returned back to our side and became law abiding citizens again. We were really hungry for lunch anyway. We didn't see anyone all day until about 2 miles from the parking lot. Overall a nice hike.

View user's profile page
Jacob Henan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 14, 2014
Hiking

Make this hike as long or as short as you wish. The breath-taking views and flowing Madison River keep your mind off the distance and draw you deeper into this gorgeous canyons. Watch out for snakes in the Summer months as they will be out enjoying the sunshine (just like you are!). If time allows, I try to get all the way to Bear Trap Creek (its about 4ish miles back). This is a great spot to stop, grab a bite, wet your line, and take stock of all that you've seen. Early mornings and Late evenings are best for wildlife and dramatic lighting.

View user's profile page
C K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 18, 2012
Hiking
First to Review

Busy trail but easy and beautiful, follows the river and goes on forever! Love this one in the fall when the fishing and tubing crowd has died down.

View user's profile page
Debi Herren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 15, 2020
Hiking
View Debi's Recording
View user's profile page
Paul Goodman
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 3, 2020
Hiking
View Paul's Recording
View user's profile page
Mary Bisgrove
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
Hiking
View Mary's Recording
View user's profile page
Trey Morris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 30, 2020
Hiking
View Trey's Recording
View user's profile page
Ryan Skeen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 2, 2020
Hiking
View Ryan's Recording
View user's profile page
Cicely Drennan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 9, 2020
Hiking
View Cicely's Recording
View user's profile page
Allison Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 4, 2020
Hiking
View Allison's Recording
View user's profile page
Amanda Rose
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 25, 2020
Hiking
View Amanda's Recording
View user's profile page
Austin Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 24, 2020
Hiking
View Austin's Recording
View user's profile page
Taryn Dicomitis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 19, 2020
Hiking
View Taryn's Recording
View user's profile page
Doug Schmidt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 19, 2020
Hiking
View Doug 's Recording
Showing results 1 - 29 of 46