Explore the most popular lake trails near Bozeman with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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

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!

Epic wild flower hike - beautiful.

backpacking
8 days ago

Fantastic and interesting trail, and a beautiful destination- worth the extra mile to get to Heather Lake. Terribly buggy, bring multiple bug sprays if you plan on staying more than an hour or two.

You can tack those an additional two miles (12.4 miles total) to this hike as if you start at the sign at the right side of the road for Blackmore Lake Trail when you are headed toward Hyalite Reservoir. That said, nothing stops a person from driving directly to Hyalite Reservoir and parking in the first parking lot next to the outhouses and boat launch to start their hike from there. From that location, you will be closer to the 10.6 miles round-trip as listed per AllTrails. There is signage at the parking area saying 0.4 miles to Blackmore Trail at which point you reach and intersection in the trail and need to veer to the left for Blackmore Lake and Blackmore Peak. This is a fabulous and well-maintained trail though one must expect to work a little for the summit. While this trail is listed difficult, it certainly is a well-groomed trail and deserves a visit if you are on the fence about it. Saw gorgeous fields of wildflowers this past Friday but certainly hit the afternoon weather patterns, so try to start and end this one early as you are high up and we'll exposed in the event of a lightning and or rain/hail storm as per our experience this past Friday. Bring some layers for the top of the peak as it can get chilly up there! Fantastic views!

Very beautiful hike to the lake. The hike is quite tough with the long uphill way (7,5K) but worth to do it. We had no problems with mosquitoes...

Hike isn’t 10.8 mi, but closer to 12.4mi, but a great hike, great views and a really good trail. Probably my favorite trail in the Bozeman area.

The many waterfalls and streams are beautiful! We detoured off the trail to see each of the falls, including Grotto, and ended up walking about 13-14 miles. Silken Skein Falls is at least 1/4 mile off the trail and despite climbing up a narrow trail through the trees never got a good view. I will skip it next time. We were able to manage all of the stream crossings without getting wet feet. Closer to the lake, there is a large stream crossing but you can take a trail to the left up the hill along the creek to connect back with the main trail, thereby avoiding two big crossings. The trail has a flour-like dust, so a beer and shower at the end of this dusty trail is advised. We hit the trailhead at 7:30 am on a Tuesday and saw six people ahead of us and about forty in the way back. We didn’t haul water for our dog due to the abundant creeks, but I drank 2.5 L.

hiking
14 days ago

wow!!! The views were absolutely astounding. Wildflowers everywhere. I started early in the morning, which meant it was nice and shady on the trail, there weren’t too many other hikers/bikers, and the bugs weren’t as bad. Make sure to bring some solid hiking boots — I wore my running shoes and they did not fare well. The trail is very rocky throughout and dusty toward the top. Also beware of grizzly bears and their droppings. Keep bear spray with you just in case (I didn’t see any, but better safe than sorry), and watch out for the droppings along the trail. The lake was beautiful as well — you can walk all around it and there are plenty of little shady spots to eat lunch or dip your feet. Also make sure to veer off the small paths toward the stream every once in a while, there is a waterfall, some cascades, and there are wildflowers all along the creek bed. Overall, a really lovely outing!

Nice little multi-purpose trail headed up to Fairy Lake if you are looking to nix the last two miles up to the lake due to road conditions. This trail certainly gets the job done in that case and is nice for adding a few more miles on to your day at Fairy Lake and up to Sacajawea Peak.

hiking
16 days ago

If the hike to the lake isn't quite challenging enough give this a go. Great views, but you gotta earn them. I did it today and the trail right before the ridge was still covered in snow. Have to improvise a little bit for another week or two...no big deal.

got here and dogs are actually not welcome here, really disappointing, not really for hiking either, more walking

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike! Mostly in the shade which is awesome! The bugs are pretty bad, bring bug spray. The wildflowers are amazing though! Climb is gradual, but it mostly follows the river which has some pretty cool cascades and waterfalls. I'm not in the best shape, but with a tired dog it only took us 5 hours. Would definitely recommend!

Beautiful hike with my husband and dog. Like some others have said, trail is likely closer to 12 miles, but a nice gradual incline for the most part. The last mile or so had some great wildflowers! We started around 6am on a Tuesday and didn't see anyone until we were about halfway down. Being from an area without grizzlies, we were a bit nervous on the way up, but didn't see any signs of bears. Took us 2h20 to get to the lake and 2h to get back. Cliffs at the lake are impressive! Be prepared for all the bugs - there were more mosquitos than I had ever seen in one place before! Fun hike and glad we went!

This is a recreational area. Trails are good for exercise, but not really a hike. Lake is fairly busy.

hiking
21 days ago

The drive to the lake is very rough—probably not advisable unless your car/truck has high clearance and/or 4WD. The lake is very pretty, but can be crowded on the weekend. The flies were especially bad when we went.

22 days ago

Road is terrible but the lake is beautiful!

hiking
23 days ago

This trail is incorrectly marked on ‘AllTrails’. This is actually Fairy Creek Trail which does eventually take you to fairy lake. I would mark it as moderate due to it’s steady incline on the trek in. It was a great alternative for us as we did not want to continue up that horrible road to Sacagawea Peak trail head. It is an obvious atv trail based on the tracks however we saw only one other person on this trail and they were on foot which made for a very peaceful trek in to fairy lake. Once getting to the lake we then walked around the lake and made our way up to Sacagawea pass. All together our day was a 7 mile trip.

This trail has everything: Numerous waterfalls, beautiful lake surrounded by vertical mountains, amazing views down the valley. Not much more you could want.
At the start we had to take the Grotto Falls trail. The additional switchbacks add some distance. My gps read 6.5 miles at the lake , 13 back at the parking lot, making it a long walk.

A little more difficult than the waterfall trail but still the kids loved it. Great views.

Nice trail, plenty of parking

camping
27 days ago

As other reviewers have stated, this is a gradual steady climb to the top (meaning completely downhill on the way out). The trail was moderately crowded with hikers and dogs. The bugs were insane--flies and mosquitos all over the shore of Emerald Lake. Fishing was great, lots of grayling and cutthroat. We camped near the lake and were disappointed to have multiple groups walk through our camp between 8 and 9 PM. There were probably close to 10 different groups camping that night (Saturday 7/14) and one camp stayed up drinking and yelling until after midnight. The only plus to that was that because I was awake, I left the tent to use the bathroom and caught an amazing star show around 1 AM. Would not camp here again, but I would likely hike the trail up and back for some good exercise.

Stunning views. Easy trail. Have cold beer for the end

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

trail running
1 month ago

Fantastic, very runable trail! gorgeous views, tons of water, no bears that we saw! A lot of waterfalls

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

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