Located 2 miles from City Center in Big Sky, the Ousel Falls Trail is an easy hike to a beautiful waterfall. Open all year, this very popular hike is recommended for everyone!
Brand new in 2022 is the Cutler-Sphinx Trail located north of Gardiner, MT, and west of the Yellowstone River in Yankee Jim Canyon. The roughly 5.5-mile point-to-point trail takes hikers and mountain bikers through sagebrush, grasslands, and juniper forest.
Campfire Lake is a beautiful mountain lake nestled below dramatic mountain ridgelines near the center of the Crazy Mountains. Trailheads on both the east and west sides of the Crazy Mountains offer options for climbing to the lake. The hike is 7 – 13 miles one-way depending on the route you choose.
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.
2023 Update – Following the historic flood of 2022, the Stillwater River Trail parking area and trailhead are closed. The trail itself is closed through the Gorge section but the bypass trail can be used to access the trail past the gorge.
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.
The Snowbank Campground and Mill Creek Cabin sit along Mill Creek in the Custer Gallatin National Forest near Pray, Emigrant, Livingston, and Gardiner, Montana. Mill Creek is popular for hiking, fly fishing, and mountain biking. The campground and cabin are great places to set up a base for exploring the drainage.
As of early July 2023, the Woodbine Falls Trail is closed due to a washed-out bridge. The campground has reopened after the historic flooding in 2022 but the Woodbine Falls trail and the Stillwater River trail and trailhead remain closed. The US Forest Service is working on repairs and you can get the current status from the USFS at 406-446-2103
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.