Top 10 Bozeman Winter Hikes

Kate Hulbert


Don’t let a little snow and cold weather stop you from getting out to the mountains this winter! Winter in Bozeman offers some of the greatest hiking of the year. The trails aren’t nearly as crowded and the landscapes look entirely new. Here is our list of the best winter hikes in Bozeman. 

Lava Lake

This trail is 5.5 miles out and back and while it stays very busy in the summer months, it slows down in the winter making it a great time to go.  The frozen lake and snow-covered peaks that surround it (including Jumbo Mountain) are a spectacular sight.  The hike climbs 1,600 ft and is a fairly moderate hike, depending on your ability. It can get icy and slick, so be sure to bring your Yaktrax.  

Pioneer Falls

The Spanish Peaks Trail in Gallatin Canyon is the starting point for a few different trails, one being the trail to Pioneer Falls.  The drive to the trailhead is pretty awesome in itself and there’s a chance you will see buffalo and maybe even a moose!  (Make sure to check for road closures in the winter).  The hike to the falls is around 4 miles, but there is not a big elevation gain, so it is doable for all levels.  The trail takes you through meadows & forests and offers some of the best mountain views as a backdrop.  Around the 3-mile mark you reach a fork, take a right and head a little over a mile more to the falls.  Depending on the snow level, this one can be done in Yaktrax, but snowshoes might be helpful if it’s been a snowy season.  

Garnet Mountain

This trail is 3.5 miles to the top with 2,800 feet of elevation gain, making it more strenuous than some other hikes on this list.  But, the view from the top is worth it!  You get a great view of the snow-covered peaks in the distance and the Gallatin River below. When the road is not closed, you have the option to approach the hike from Rat Lake. This is a longer way to go, but definitely a less strenuous climb. 

Sypes Canyon

This trail is close to Bozeman, so if you don’t want to drive far in wintery conditions, this is a good choice. The trail takes you through the forest and switchbacks up to an overlook at the 2-mile point offering big views of the Gallatin Valley.  This is part of the Bridger Foothills trail, so you can veer off at any point to take your hike across the foothills in either direction. This is a fairly moderate hike with great views at the top. 

Drinking Horse

Another hike close to Bozeman, Drinking Horse Trail is located directly across the street from the M trailhead. This one begins at the Fish Hatchery and is just about 2 miles long. It’s a pretty hike through the snowy forest and over the creek. Soon after crossing the bridge, the trail splits. The left fork is slightly steeper than the right. We suggest making a loop to make the most of this beautiful hike! At the top, you can enjoy views of Bozeman on one side and Bridger Canyon on the other. 

Leverich Canyon

Leverich Canyon is mostly used as a mountain bike trail, so most hikers steer clear of this trail during the summer months.  However, in the winter the number of mountain bikers sharply decreases (except for a few fat tire bikes) making it a good choice for a winter hike. The trail makes a nice loop and is close to Bozeman. The road to the trailhead is notoriously bad and the parking is limited, which can be a deterrent (meaning fewer people!)

Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is one of the many beautiful winter hikes in Hyalite Canyon.  The road is plowed to the trailhead (although can still be treacherous in the winter) making this a popular spot year-round with hikers and ice climbers. Speaking of that, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse or two of ice climbers on your way up.  The trail is only 2.4 miles round trip and there is little elevation gain, making it easy for all hiking abilities. The frozen falls this time of year are like a winter wonderland!  If you want to continue hiking, you can continue on to see more waterfalls all the way up to Hyalite Lake, depending on snow and trail conditions.  

Blackmore Lake

This is a popular backcountry skiing trail and also a nice winter hike. The trailhead is just before Hyalite Reservoir and the trail is only around 2 miles to the lake. You’ll find a lot of cross-country skiers at the beginning of the hike. The trail climbs steadily through the forest, switch backing its way to Blackmore Lake. 

History Rock 

A popular cross-country ski trail and a perfect choice for a winter hike with the kids. History Rock is a 1.4-mile hike to the rock itself and once there, kids love to check out all the names engraved on the giant rock over the years.  It has little elevation gain, but a few short steep sections. This hike stays relatively quiet year-round. If you want to hike further, the trail continues on. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can follow the trail all the way South Cottonwood Creek!

Ousel Falls

A frozen waterfall is a sight to behold and Ousel Falls in Big Sky is an easy one to get to in the winter.  It’s a 1.6-mile hike to the waterfall with little elevation gain. It’s an easy drive to the trailhead because it is close to Big Sky. This trail gets quite a bit of use, so the snow stays nicely packed down. 

This article was provided by Bozeman Real Estate Group. To read the original article go to: https://bozemanrealestate.group/resources/blog/best-winter-hikes-in-bozeman   

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