Despite waking up to snow on the ground the past few days, we can feel spring is right around the corner! Blooming wildflowers, running rivers and warmer temps means it’s time to get outside. Below we’ve compiled our recommendations for the top 5 hikes in Bozeman. Dust off your hiking boots, it’s time to hit the trails!
1. M Trail
Perhaps the most iconic Bozeman hike, the M Trail is easily accessible just 4.9 miles from downtown. The short 1.7-mile loop gains 770 feet as it climbs to a large, white “M” sketched into the hillside. One side of the trail is more moderate, while the other climbs steeply, which allows hikers to choose the difficulty of their hike. This short trail is a favorite for pre- or post-workday exercise for busy Bozeman locals and their dogs, and offers impressive views of the valley. The close proximity to town and stunning views are why we named the M Trail one of the top 5 hikes in Bozeman.
2. Drinking Horse Trail
This trail is located across from the popular M Trail, and one of Bozeman’s newer trails, popular with local hikers and runners. Just 4.7 miles from downtown, the 2.2-mile loop trail offers stunning views of the Gallatin Valley. It climbs a mere 583 feet and is rated as moderate, but many inexperienced hikers will find it very attainable with a relaxed pace. Dogs can use the trail, and it is a popular choice for families with smaller children as well. Keep an eye out for paragliders who launch from the M Trail across the road in the summer months!
3. Baldy Peak Summit
For those seeking a challenging all-day adventure, Baldy Peak Summit is well worth the climb. The 9.6-mile, out-and-back trail gains an impressive 4,225 feet as it follows the backbone of the Bridger Mountains, and offers breathtaking views along the way. Hikers who are willing to brave the steep climb to the summit are often rewarded with sightings of mountain goats and wonderful panoramic views. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash. The trail is accessed from the M Trail, 4.9 miles from downtown Bozeman.
4. Bear Canyon Trail
Just 17 miles from downtown Bozeman, the Bear Canyon Trail covers 8.1 miles through a stream-fed canyon south of town. The out-and-back trail winds along a flowing creek and, after the turnaround, climbs to the Bear Lakes and then ties into the Chestnut Mountain Trail. Rated as moderate, this is a good choice for those seeking a hike with stops for sightseeing, lunch, and even fishing. The trail is in its best condition from March through October and accommodates dogs both on and off-leash.
5. Hyalite Peak
A trip to Hyalite Peak is one of the most iconic Bozeman experiences. That’s why we named the hike to Hyalite Peak as one of the top 5 hikes in Bozeman. A true all-day affair, this 16.2-mile, out-and-back climbs 3,789 feet and is rated as difficult. Along the way, the trail follows a meandering stream and features several crossings, before entering a meadow section with an overlook to Hyalite Lake. To make it to the peak you’ll conquer a steep climb to the summit. The Hyalite Peak Trail is popular with hikers, trail runners, backpackers, and even horseback riders, and dogs are allowed. The scenic drive to the trailhead climbs through Hyalite Canyon and passes Hyalite Reservoir, yet the trailhead is only 25.3 miles from downtown Bozeman.
Have you ever conquered one of these the top 5 hikes in Bozeman? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience. Share in the comments below!
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