North Fork Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sky, Montana that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length5.8 miElevation gain705 ftRoute typeOut & back
Cross-country skiingHikingSnowshoeingDog friendlyForestRiverViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (3)

This beautiful trail starts at the North Fork Trailhead within the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The route can also be accessed via Lone Mountain Ranch. If you're looking to extend your hike, you could continue past the turnaround spot on this route, and hike to Bear Basin or Summit Lake. These routes can also be found on AllTrails.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (104)
Photos (78)
Recordings (90)
Completed (171)
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Katie Garth
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Cross-country skiing
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Emma Feitelson
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Hiking

Confusing to get to the trailhead (sign said road was closed for XC trail maintenance), so we walked from Lone Mountain Ranch (almost 2 extra miles to the trailhead). There were a couple of cars at the trailhead when we arrived, though. Hike was a relatively flat, wooded walk. No real viewpoints, but pretty all the same. Also very quiet, only saw 2 other parties the whole time. Despite other reviews, I found the trail very easy to follow (look for small wooden signs).

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Laura Jennen
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Hiking
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mega hiker
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Hiking

really tricky to find but gorgeous along the way!

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Matt Fornaciari
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Hiking

Such an incredible way to start the morning. Gorgeous hike during a snowstorm. Only saw two other parties and was otherwise on my own.

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Marty B
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Hiking

Pretty hike. A little challenging to find and stay on the trail, but once you do it’s great. Most helpful directions were to go passed Horn and Cantle and then toward river. Always keep the river close by. Horse manure and mosquitoes no problem this time of year. We were staying in town so this was easy to get to and a great way to get outside for two hours. The Lone Mountain Ranch is an interesting, impressive property and nice start/end point.

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Thomas Reed
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Hiking

Nice trail, very pretty meadows and views of the mountains towards the end. To find the trail, just head up towards Horn and Cantle from the parking lot, then keep going northwest between that and the cabins.

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Thomas Reed
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Hiking

There’s no trail by this name... it’s North Fork Trail. Walking Jim only appears on a sign for private ski runs that must be used in the winter. Good trail, but the river will tease you - you’ll hear it downhill - until close to the end. I stopped at a bridge where the planks appeared to be rotting, so I didn’t want to cross.

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cody chambers
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HikingGreat!

Starts out on a ATV trail and threw private property. It eventually turns into a nice wooded trail. Hiked past the beehive Junction on to the bear canyon/North fork trail. Didn’t have time to make it to lakes but a pretty hike! Gradual incline over 5 miles up before turning around. Creeks running water all the way up.

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Blaine Adams
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Hiking
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Charles Knowlton
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Hiking

Cute & simple. Be sure to turn back on the path at the big meadow in the end. There’s a loop that’s hard to see off to the left along the water. Worth taking if you want a little adventure.

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Erica Perlman
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BackpackingGreat!

Amazing through hike past mirror and summit lakes with lots of elevation gain

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Alexandra Siano
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HikingBugsMuddyOff trail

Barely marked; got lost multiple times. Had to contend with horses and construction machines. Truly bizarre. Would not recommend.

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Emily Whalen
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Hiking

Hard to find trailhead. Not worth the hike. Very buggy.

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Hayley Costello
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Hiking

Great, easy trail. A little muddy, and the lower loop trail was hard to find, but the upper part of the loop was well traveled.

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Matt Mandel
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HikingBugsMuddyRocky

This was an easy walk on a clear path but there were lots of rocks in the road and several patches of mud. There were also several large patches of road apples left behind by horses that had recently been in the area. The mosquitos were ginormous and aggressive! Not a bad walk but nothing overly special either. Very little change in scenery throughout.

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Kelly Newton
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Hiking

Good trail once you find the trailhead and get past the more heavily trafficked horse trail which attracts more bugs. Starting from Lone Mountain Ranch, it’s mostly covered in the trees and goes along the river. From the parking lot, go uphill and past the horses. If you see the ropes course you are moving in the right direction. Follow any trail somewhat close to the river and they will come together as you go up river. You can continue as long as you want.

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Robert Canby
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Hiking

Recommend. Pretty. Even better to go additional 3 miles to saddle and alpine lake.

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Amy Kotsenas
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HikingMuddy
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Elizabeth Gerken
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Hiking

North Fork Trail is well marked and very nice. If you take the Lazy Jim’s fork to the right, it is very wet and difficult to follow the trail. I don’t recommend that section. I would just go out and back on North Fork. Wildflowers were beautiful. Lots of big mosquitos. July, 2020

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Ryan Duncan
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HikingRocky

It was a little confusing where this trail actually was. I think we walked North Fork trail and I’m not sure if that’s the same. Very pretty down by the river in the meadow.

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Michael Whittle
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Hiking

Easy trail - some goods views of meadows but double track trail. Interesting trailhead at the top of the loop

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Anna Karwata
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HikingMuddyPrivate propertySnow

It’s a weird beginning to the hike. Directions take you to a private property. I did it off season but I wouldn’t park there if someone was in the houses. It’s a fairly easy hike in the forest. I wouldn’t describe it as moderate. There’s no views but you hike along the stream which is nice. The end is non eventful. It’s a OK hike but there’s so many better ones in the area.

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Allie Reynolds
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HikingIcyMuddy

Could not find trail head was not well marked. It was pretty but not worth the drive.

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