The Yellowstone River is one of our nation’s most remarkable treasures. It’s the last major free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, traveling 680 dam-free miles. The river begins as a melting snowbank on Yount’s Peak deep in the Wyoming wilderness south of Yellowstone Park. From here it runs north then east until it joins the Missouri River in North Dakota.
Note: This is an account of a hike to George Lake I sent to a friend of mine. It is a lot more personal than most info here and I hope you find it useful. For more complete information we have a page on the George Lake Trail.
Yankee Jim Canyon is a short, narrow canyon on the Yellowstone River about 13 miles north of Yellowstone Park. The canyon has the largest rapids on the Yellowstone River outside of the Park (boating on the Yellowstone River is banned in Yellowstone Park). Yankee Jim Canyon is less than five miles long and the whitewater rapids are confined to the first couple of miles. Rafting and kayaking are popular and there are a number of whitewater rafting companies located nearby.
The South Fork Deep Creek trail provides great hiking just a few minutes south of Livingston, Montana. The trail provides access into the north end of the Absaroka Mountains and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. The trail is mostly used for day hiking but it connects to a trail network that offers great backpacking opportunities.
Pine Creek rushes out of the Absaroka Mountains into the Yellowstone River in the heart of Paradise Valley, providing two great hikes. A beautiful 2 1/2 mile roundtrip hike follows the creek to Pine Creek Falls. Backpackers and serious hikers can head on another 4 miles to reach Pine Creek Lake. Visit here once and you’ll discover why Pine Creek is the most popular hike in the Livingston area.
The Goose Creek trail area near Bozeman and Livingston Montana is popular for all types of outdoor recreation. Goose Creek is part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and has been actively managed by the Forest Service. Most of the area has been logged in the past and the abandoned logging roads provide today’s trail system. This is a popular area for both motorized and human-powered activities so expect to find yourself sharing the roads and trails.
The trail to Elephanthead Mountain (forest trail #37) is a favorite hike for many in the Livingston/Big Timber area. The Elephanthead trail is in the headwaters of Mission Creek which comes out of the Absaroka Mountains and runs into the Yellowstone River east of Livingston. The trail is part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and it’s easy to reach the Elephanthead trailhead from either Livingston or Big Timber. However, most come in from the Livingston side as the road from Big Timber is a long drive on a gravel road.
Passage Creek Falls is a popular destination for hikers in the Livingston/Bozeman area. The hike to Passage Creek Falls is 5 miles round-trip on an easy trail. Many hikers turn around at the falls but the trail is also a primary access to the backcountry. The Passage Creek trail begins as part of the Wallace Creek trail (Trail #58). The Passage Creek trail (Trail 558) branches off before the falls while the Wallace Creek trail continues into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and on to Yellowstone Park.
The Crow Mountain trail is in the Mill Creek drainage south of Livingston, MT. Mill Creek is a popular National Forest access area where people enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, and every other form of recreation. The Mill Creek drainage is fairly large and there are a lot of different areas to explore.