The Gallatin Petrified Forest Interpretive Trail #286 provides an opportunity to explore a petrified forest area that has not been developed. Hikers delight in viewing the petrified wood right where nature put it.
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.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is off I 90 about 22 miles west of Bozeman, MT. The park offers hiking, biking, and opportunities to explore an iconic Native American archeological site. The 640-acre park is a perfect place to learn about buffalo jumps and why they were so important to the Indians.
The Stillwater River trail provides great hiking into the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. While the trail leads to amazing riches for backpackers, there is a very popular day hike to Sioux Charley Lake. It’s a 3-mile hike on a good trail that climbs gradually for the entire distance. The trail includes a narrow gorge with raging whitewater, great mountain views, and a stream that becomes a wide, flat lake.
Blue Lake is the most popular hiking destination in the Crazy Mountains for good reason. Sitting at 8,282 ft in a valley between Granite Peak and Crazy Peak, Blue lake is connected to the larger Granite Lake and the smaller Thunder Lake. The hike to Blue Lake is less than 4 miles on good trails with an elevation gain of about 2,200 ft.
The Woodbine Falls trail is only about 3/4 mile long and features mild climbing on a well-designed and maintained trail. The trail ends at an overlook that provides excellent views of Woodbine Falls as it plunges down a vertical cliff wall. It’s easy to understand why this is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness.
Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access site sits on the Yellowstone River 12 miles south of Livingston, MT in the heart of Paradise Valley. The site features a boat ramp, access to miles of Yellowstone River fishing, and a campground with 13 campsites. Mallard’s Rest is on the banks of the Yellowstone and the Absaroka Mountains to the east are spectacular.
Pine Creek rushes out of the Absaroka mountains just south of Livingston, MT in Paradise Valley. Pine Creek Campground is at the end of a 3-mile paved road leading into the national forest. The campground has 27 sites set in the forest near the creek. The Pine Creek trailhead is adjacent to the campground and leads to Pine Creek Falls and Pine Creek Lake.
Mill Creek is the largest tributary to the Yellowstone River between Livingston, MT and Yellowstone Park. It’s one of the few places where roads penetrate into the national forest and there are lots of trails to enjoy. The East Fork of Mill Creek trailhead provides access to a major trail system in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness.
The northern section of the Porcupine Ibex trail was opened for public use in late 2019. This 2.9-mile trail departs from the Porcupine Cabin and crosses the forested west slopes of the Crazy Mountains. The trail leads to a junction with the North Fork Elk Creek Trail #195 which heads to Campfire Lake and deep into the Crazies. The trailhead and parking area are right at the Porcupine Cabin which is a USFS rental unit.