Mount Ellis Trail

MODERATE 19 reviews

Mount Ellis Trail is a 10.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bozeman, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.1 miles
3,129 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


trail running



wild flowers


1 month ago

Amazing view of ten mountain ranges from the top of Mount Ellis. About 10 miles out and back, 3050 ft elevation gain. See my two recordings for a map to ascend Mount Ellis without going to the top of Lower Mount Ellis first. This will save you a few hundred feet of unnecessary up and down. Essentially, follow the instructions I posted last year beginning at the trailhead until you arrive at the final ascent to Lower Mount Ellis. At about 7400 feet, veer left off the path toward the lowest point of the saddle connecting the two peaks. Bushwhack across a flower-filled sidehill for about a quarter mile until you connect to a game trail. Follow this game trail to the saddle, watching for cairns at the saddle as these will help you find the way back. Once you connect with the trail connecting the two peaks, it’s straightforward to Mount Ellis. Bring 2-3 liters of water per person. Our 50 lb dog drank 1.5 liters on a mild July day. About 7 hrs total. I had to record the ascent and descent as two trips because my battery died.

1 month ago

The lower fields with the wildflowers is bloom was beautiful. The trails itself was OK but the map has many problems:
- The west branch track looks like it’s in error as it doesn’t represent any path I could see. Also, while we went back after this, it’s not clear where it goes. Maybe next time I’ll walk out further and record a better track.
- The East track also seems to end when the rambler gave up as it stops in the middle of nowhere. Other tracks seem to have a destination and I’ll try one of them.

So: do the hike, stick to the East trail at the fork and keep going. Linda Thompson’s directions below are probably a better approach.

9 months ago

This post provides instructions to the summit of Lower Mt Ellis, 8 miles round trip, 2246 ft elevation gain. About 4.5 hours, excluding lunch break. Trailhead is at the end of Mt Ellis LANE, not Mt Ellis Rd. At the end of the public road, there is a private road continuing straight, and the trailhead through a swinging wood gate is located to the right of this road. State land use permit ($10) required. Bring plenty of water for you and your dog! Continue on the trail up the gradual incline through a meadow for about a mile. Veer to the left at the fork to stay on forest service road FS 712 (see map). In about 100 yds, pass through a barb wire gate and continue up the road to about the 2 mile mark. On a grassy slope at a fork, veer right to stay on FS 712 to continue uphill. Keep your eyes open for views of the Crazies and Absarokas. At about the 2.8 mile mark, look for a small rock cairn just off the road on your right and head up the hill to the right. The trail here is narrow and steep. It took us nearly an hour to cover the final mile to the summit. But the 360 degree views of the Bridger, Absaroka, Spanish Peak, and Tobacco Root mountain ranges are truly breathtaking. If you want to peak Mt Ellis, leave early and avoid the up and down to Lower Mt Ellis.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beautiful to see in late spring/early summer with the wildflowers. Lots of flies at the top so beware!

Got really confused by the many forks in the road and no sign as to which direction to take. Found the correct trail on the way back we assume. Had to do some trail blazing up to the saddle because we lost the trail.

The correct trail would be to take a right at the first fork at the base of the mountain. Go through the gate that says "please close." Then take a left at the next fork rather than continuing along the fence. Then you get up to a point where the path is wide and not very clear and looks like it may possibly go over a little hump. The trail actually should be on the left right before the hump. We set up a rock cairn and stuck a stick in the ground in an attempt to mark it. The trail is golden after that. You can continue up the ridge to Mount Ellis from Little Ellis.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Very beginner friendly and quite an easy hike. Done in the spring, it is gorgeous to see the landscapes around covered in snow and new blooming flowers.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

This trail is much longer than 2.5 miles if you want to have any views. This must have originally been measured before you have to park at the bottom of the meadow. Just to cross the meadow is a 2 mile loop and another 3.6 loop to the peak (if you make it).

Friday, May 01, 2015

Great hike to the summits of Little Ellis and Mt. Ellis! We stayed on FS 712 and headed east at the fork at the base of Little Ellis. The 1.8 miles shown on the map is on an old logging road so it's wide and flat. There are a few places where the road is covered in downed logs to prevent motorized vehicles. The trail ends just east of a false summit to Little Ellis. If you trudge straight uphill from there, following trees with blue paint on them, you can get to the false summit. From there is a great view of Bozeman. Continue straight west and uphill to Little Ellis, from which point you can hike the ridge south to the summit of Mt. Ellis. From the summit you can see the Absarokas, Hyalite and Bridger ranges as well as the Gallatin Valley!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Nearly flat trail thru field

9 days ago

3 months ago

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Thursday, June 23, 2016

recorded Lower Mount Ellis Trail

Sunday, August 03, 2014