Explore the most popular waterfall 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.

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.

Beautiful! Paved trail. Bathroom at trail head. Plenty of parking.

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

trail running
9 days ago

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

11 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.

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.

Remarkable hike going up but really tough in a lot of snow (which there was in early June). If you’re willing to climb on all 4s through snow, the views at the top are worth it!

Easy hike on a paved trail ending at a beautiful waterfall! Great hike for families!

Georgeous! Gets really busy but I think there’s plenty to see just past the falls. And most of the traffic dyes off there!

Loved this hike! Be prepared to get a little muddy and wet as the runoff has turned part of the trail into mini streams. Snow starts to appear after mile three and had to turn back at mile four because a the water was moving too fast to safely cross with my dog. If you love waterfalls this a hike for you!

26 days ago

Took my 9-year-old this past weekend and got to the top! The trail was still snowed over in some places and we had to follow the tracks from previous hikers. Due to the cold and windy conditions, we only stayed for about an hour but still caught four Grayling! Brought back a lot of memories of going up there when I was a kid.

This has to be the most beautiful hike I have ever done! We saw at least 8-10 waterfalls—all with their own unique beauty. Fair warning, there is a lot of mud and the trail is completely snow covered for the last mile or so still. Luckily, we had footprints and this app to use when the footprints ran out. The last pass over the Hyalite creek (between the top waterfall and the second to the top) is completely over flowing and not the safest to cross at the moment. You might be able to cross it if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t have a dog with you like we did. Even though we weren’t able to make it fully to the lake, the views from right below it of the valley are absolutely breath taking! Well worth the wet shoes, socks, and pants. Fair warning, we did fall through snow up to our hip at points. So be prepared!

Recommend: gloves for the top; change of socks and shoes for when you’re done; hiking poles (we didn’t use them and it would have helped!)

1 month ago

This trail was slightly steep and paved all the way up to the falls. Construction was being done at the top causing trail blockage for short periods of time. The falls were beautiful with a lovely view of the valley between the trees.

The first four miles of the trail are a little muddy, and then trail turns entirely to snow and gets tricky to follow about a mile or so from the lake. Beautiful for hiking if you are willing to get a little damp & snowy, but needs to melt out more before it's good for running all the way up to the lake.

A majority of the path is paved with a gradual incline. Nice short hike with a breathtaking waterfall at the end. Beautiful!!

Went very early on a weekday and it was a quiet hike with solitude. Views on the way to the falls are just as beautiful as the falls itself. Short and easy hike.

1 month ago

I fell a couple miles short of the lake before I turned around (talked to others at the trailhead who did the same) there's still a considerable amount of snow/it was too deep for me. Wear boots, the way up is gorgeous and challenging for hikers wanting to get into better shape!

1 month ago

Great views at the lake, but getting up was sorta difficult due to the trail being snowed over, but if you follow the creek, you'll find it, very worth it (btw went on June 8 was still snowy)

1 month ago

great easy hike. no reason to not do it

1 month ago

Easy hike up to the falls, to get a better view keep climbing up the rocks to the left of the falls. You can go up pretty high and get some great views!

Kids loved it. An easy hike and beautiful falls!

1 month ago

We went at the end of May. The hike was like an easy walk. there was little bits of snow left and some patches of mud. There where not that many people so it was nice!

1 month ago

Easy hike with a beautiful payout. If you are looking for a trail where all dogs are on leash know that not all owners use leashes. I would say 50% of the dogs we passed were off leash.

1 month ago

Super easy hike with an absolutely beautiful waterfall. My husband and I were thoroughly pleased with the overall experience of this trail.

trail running
5 months ago

6 months ago

Beautiful in the winter time. The gate will be closed at the first parking lot past the dam when you make the left turn up for palisades. So it adds about an extra mile each way to the hike. Worth it.

Gorgeous short hike. Snow up to my knees but still doable. ✌

9 months ago

A nice little hike to a pretty waterfall

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