Bozeman, Montana: Population: 46,746, Elevation: 4,793 feet
From scenic hikes and backcountry skiing in the Bridger Range to epic drives into the mountains and proximity to blue ribbon trout rivers, Bozeman, Montana is a hub for outdoor adventure and recreation. Bozeman is located in the Gallatin Valley and boasts breathtaking mountain views from all angles.
In recent years, Bozeman had experienced a boom in visitation and population growth. As the town grows, the locals continue to extend kindness to all who travel to the destination. Western hospitality and opportunities for outdoor adventure are only a couple of Bozeman’s highlights! With an average of 300 days of sunshine, summer temperatures that hover around 80 degrees, and 63 inches of snowfall per year, it’s an all-season paradise.
Local Adventure Vibe
On the edge of the Gallatin National Forest, visiting Bozeman offers the conveniences of city life with an easy escape into rural wilderness. Among the many other outdoor recreation opportunities Bozeman offers, it’s also home to arguably some of the most scenic and challenging competitive trail runs in the state. Every year, locals and visitors mark their calendars with the opening registration dates for the Old Gabe and Bridger Ridge Run, which are both hosted by the Big Sky Wind Drinkers.
In addition to the activities right at Bozeman’s doorstep, many adventures are waiting within an hour’s drive of town. In the summertime, flyfishermen head south to fish the infamous trout water on the Madison River. Meanwhile, whitewater enthusiasts flock to the Yankee Jim Canyon on the Yellowstone River for splashy class III rapids and spend high-water lapping the Mad Mile on the Gallatin River. In the wintertime, powder hounds can choose from skiing Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Big Sky Resort, or the seemingly endless backcountry terrain in the Gallatin or Beartooth Ranges.
Food & Drink
Want to start your day with something sweet? Check out Granny’s Gourmet Donuts! Right across from the university, this is a popular morning ritual for many on-campus students. They must know best because these donuts are fresh made, and there’s nothing else like them in town!
Catering to the area beer lovers, Bozeman has many local breweries to choose from. If you’re looking for outdoor seating and great food to pair, check out Map Brewery. There, you’ll also find great views of the Bridger Range and Midus Crush IPA, a Bozeman favorite!
If you’re looking for a high-class dining experience and local Montana beef, you’re definitely having dinner at Open Range. With a prime downtown location, make this your first stop for an evening wandering Main Street.
Places to Stay:
There are many places to stay in and near Bozeman, Montana. Choose from a variety of charming Airbnbs! The Black Bear Run on Hyalite Creek offers proximity to town while being tucked back into the wild surroundings. Maybe your stay in Bozeman is destined to be a little more rustic. In that case, ditch the four walls and glamp in a cozy teepee!
Best nearby campsites
Get a little way out of town and into the rich history of the Gallatin Valley. At Missouri Headwaters State Park, you can camp near the same sites that explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery did. Explore the walking, hiking, and bike trails at this beautiful landmark and witness the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers!
Hyalite Canyon is a popular recreation area that offers epic mountain views and just about every kind of outdoor sport! Langohr Campground is the perfect basecamp for mountain biking, hiking, climbing, fishing, or boating in this popular area of the Gallatin National Forest.
Camping and hot springs go well together. At Bozeman Hot Springs, campers can return from a day in the mountains to be rewarded with a relaxing mineral soak. There are pools indoors and outdoors, and the establishment does welcome non-campers to soak for a reasonable fee.
Gallatin Canyon has two distinct areas. Driving south from Bozeman, you’ll first spot the limestone buttresses. There’s great sport here (including a south facing winter area called Scorched Earth), as well as some mixed routes. A couple more miles to the south, there is a high-quality gneiss climbing area. The Gallatin Tower is nearly hidden, but has tons of classic routes.
The Waltz can be found on the canyon’s east side. This climb ascends up three large steps from close to the canyon floor. The pitches end on huge ledges with bolted anchors. The faces all go with pretty reasonable protection.
The Pass is littered with fun climbs ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to 5.13b. The walls here are mostly stout with pockets and crimps. There’s plenty of places for experienced climbers to face off with a challenging project, but the area has good beginner routes too. Get here by heading east on 90 toward Livingston. Take exit 316 for Trail Creek and go under the overpass. Take a left onto the dirt road and follow it until you reach the designated parking area near the end of the fence.
Pump up on the The Training Wall. The established routes are all sport and hold ratings above 5.11. This wall gets quite a bit of sun in the summertime and is best visited in the late afternoon for partial shade.
The Frat Boy Wall is by far the most popular wall in The Pass. There are six established sport routes that are great for intermediate climbers. The comfortable belay stations here are a huge plus!
Right near one of the most popular hikes in Bozeman, there is some fun climbing with year-round accessibility. At The “M” in Bozeman, there are a few established routes with a mix of trad and sport. To get to the crag, park at the trailhead and use the trail that forks to the left to make your way up to the wall.
A trip to Bozeman isn’t quite complete without at least one hike in the Bridger Range. Why not make that hike to the tallest peak? At 9,596 feet, the summit of Sacagawea Peak is an area icon and bucket list item. There are a few different ways to approach the peak, but the Sacagawea Pass Trail from Fairy Lake is one of the most popular. Another fun hike in the Bridgers is the Truman Gulch Trail. Fit for all skill levels, Truman Gulch features a small creek and a beautiful alpine meadow.
The Bozeman Creek Trail is perfect for day hikes or overnight backpacking trips in the summertime. This trail is a fairly popular weekend attraction, and there’s no wonder why! Paralleling Bozeman Creek into the canyon, the trail has plenty of opportunities to take a dip in the chilly water. Anyone out for an overnight trip should make the trek out to Mystic Lake.
Mount Blackmore’s North Ridge is a popular run for weekend warriors in Bozeman to visit. From the parking area at the Hyalite Reservoir, begin your skin on the Mount Blackmore Trail. Continue past Blackmore Lake and make your way up to the peak. The views from the top of the run are epic, but the turns down are the real dessert.
Summer skiing? You’ve got that right. The Great One in the Bridgers can hold snow until mid-summer, and sometimes it’s skiable every month of the year! Although your ride may be a little rougher in August than December, it’s still a good time!
The upper powder field at History Rock offers some great terrain that’s easy to access and lap all day. The parking area at the History Rock Trailhead is off of the Hyalite Canyon Road.
On the south side of town, Sourdough Canyon is an excellent escape for all levels of mountain biking. Advanced level bikers should aim to ride the 5-mile Leverich Canyon Loop, while intermediate-level bikers with solid stamina will love the scenic ride to Mystic Lake. The ride to Mystic Lake is mostly uphill, but the 10-miles back from the lake is a lot of fun downhill.
If you’re looking for a challenging bike ride in Hyalite Canyon, definitely give the trail to Emerald Lake a go! The views are phenomenal from the lake with the opportunity to spot mountain goats in the cliffs above. Plan accordingly – this trail is on a Trail Timeshare, which prohibits mountain bike use on Sundays and Mondays between July 16 and September 5.
For some charming routes right in town, head over to the trails near the Sunset Hills Cemetary and Peets Hill. The Burke Hill Park Trail is a fun and family-friendly cruise that pairs well with summer sunsets. Similarly, the Highland Glen Trail is perfect for beginners and young riders.
Dedicated trail runners can be spotted training in the Bridgers year-round. One of the most popular training runs is to the top of Baldy. At just under 11 miles round trip, the “M” Trail to Baldy Mountain is challenging with lots of elevation to tackle and scree to navigate. If you’re looking for something a little easier, you can eliminate the summit of Baldy and go as far as the
Bozeman “M” for a nice view of town.
There are many fun trails to run on in Hyalite Canyon. For a short and sweet run up to one of Bozeman’s favorite waterfalls, check out Palisade Falls. However, if one waterfall just isn’t enough, challenge yourself with the trail to Hyalite Peak. This route will take you past over a dozen gorgeous falls and an alpine lake!
Fairy Lake makes a great day-trip destination from Bozeman. To get there, head north on MT 85 toward Bridger Bowl Ski Area. After about 22 miles, turn left onto Fairy Lake Road. The road is only open from July 1 – September 15 and is best traveled on dry days since it becomes very slippery when wet. The jade-green Fairy Lake waits at the end of the road!
Disconnect from it all with a drive up to Flathead Pass. Not far from the comforts of town, head down Springhill Road until it transitions into Rocky Mountain Road – eventually turning to dirt. The rest of the way is a scenic trip into a quiet alpine paradise.
Best guided adventures by 57Hours
With a professional guide from 57hours, you don’t have to be an expert skier to experience the backcountry ski terrain near Bozeman, Montana. Whether you’re held back by time, experience, or location knowledge, these two trips from 57hours are sure to take you to the epic powder your seeking!
There are no lift lines here, in fact, there are hardly any other people at all! Experience solitude in Yellowstone as you tour through the wild landscape with the direction of an experienced guide from 57hours. The variety of terrain will keep you in complete awe!
Cooke City is a mecca for winter backcountry adventure. Experience the hype for yourself by booking a guided trip through 57hours. There’s terrain for all skill levels to shred in the Beartooth Mountains – the Yellowstone views aren’t bad either.
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