Yellowstone Park has closed the North entrance at Gardiner, MT, and the Northeast Entrance at Silver Gate due to flood damage. While visitors to the area won’t be able to use these entrances to visit the park, there are still lots of great ways to enjoy a visit to this special area. Here are some ideas for an alternative to a Yellowstone Park Visit.
From Billings Montana to the Idaho border Interstate 90 runs east to west for more than 450 miles across some of the best of Montana. While Interstate highways are designed for people to move quickly past an area, there are hikes and natural attractions that are close to, if not right on the Interstate that you can visit without taking much time.
Bozeman, Montana is a premier location for enjoying the outdoors. On any given day you can hike, bike, climb, float, or otherwise play in world-famous places. With so much to choose from, it’s hard to decide what to do or where to hike. Here are a few suggestions for popular day hikes in the Bozeman area.
Most visitors look for private or national forest campgrounds when they visit the Gardiner, Livingston, Paradise Valley area in Montana. However, there are a few opportunities for free camping in this area just north of Yellowstone Park. Keep reading for our guide to free camping in Paradise Valley and along the Upper Yellowstone River.
Livingston, Montana is one of the premier destinations for exploring the outdoors in the United States. Sitting on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Livingston is surrounded by the Absaroka, Crazy, Bridger, and Gallatin mountain ranges. Fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing, and whitewater and scenic floating are all nearby.
Hikers find a lot of great trails in the Livingston area and there are hikes for everyone. Waterfalls, wildflowers, mountain lakes, wilderness, and majestic mountain views are just some of the hiking attractions. There are so many hikes that it can be hard to pick a trail. Locals have their own favorites but there are some hikes that are on everyone’s must-do list.
I first hiked to George Lake in Paradise Valley south of Livingston in 2008. At that time very few people ever went there, mostly because of the condition of the trail. The last mile or so was virtually nonexistent and most hikers who tried to reach the lake failed. Some even wondered if the lake actually existed. Well, I made it to the lake but it was not an enjoyable hike. In fact, I swore that this was one trail I would never hike again. You can read that story in A Hike To George Lake.
On July 9 the US Forest Service released the final plan for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. This is very significant as the plan will guide actions and activities in the forest for many years.
The plan has been in preparation for more than 4 years and there have been multiple opportunities for public comment. The final plan seems to make no one happy so it’s probably a true comprise. There is a ton of information available from the USFS about the 2020 Custer Gallatin Forest Plan
If you have questions Forest Plan Revision core team specialists will be conducting a webinar on Thursday, July 23 at 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. (All times MST) – log-on to: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/cgfpr-500/ (mobile device compatible)
Although this is the final plan there is still an opportunity to object to the plan. For the next 60 days objections can be filed at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50185
The plan is long overdue as the lands were being managed under two different forest plans. The Custer Forest Plan which was adopted in 1986 and the Gallatin Forest Plan which was implemented in 1987( the two forests were merged in 2014). The 247 page plan is comprehensive and it is obvious how much work went into its preparation.
As might be expected, the plan provides for a host of activities that most hikers don’t participate in but the plan does call for:
7 New Wilderness Areas (126,657 acres)
13 Backcountry Areas (208,960 acres)
10 Recreation Emphasis Areas (224,610 acres)
Welcome to the new Montanahikes.com! While the site has been around for many years, it has been badly neglected and I have not kept up with web technology. Consequently, recently I rebuilt the site and I hope it will be both useful and frequently expanded in the coming years.
Most of the information on Montanahikes.com will be found in the blog and in permanent pages that are likely to be unchanged. I am categorizing the articles in this way.
Hikes & Attractions – this is where you will find articles arranged by geographical region that can help you plan your trips in Montana. As the site develops I may adjust this but for now the regions are:
Yellowstone Area Hikes & Attractions
Central Montana Hikes & Attractions
Western Montana Hikes & Attractions
Camping Gear & Skills – articles about the gear and skills you might need or enjoy as well as how-to articles.
Nature – articles about the natural world you will find as you explore Montana. Birds, plants, geology and similar topics are covered here.
This blog will feature a variety of thoughts, news and short articles. This site is not about me and I will remain anonymous as much as popular. Unless I have problems, I’m taking comments on these posts but not my articles.
You can always Contact Me. Let me know if you have comments, criticisms, corrections or complaints.