Seven Bozeman Area Hikes
It’s wonderful to be back. Back among the mountains that remind us of our vulnerability, our ultimate lack of control over the world we live in. Mountains that demand humility, and yield so much peace in return. - Alex Lowe
These words ring true to my heart and thoughts of the mountains surrounding us. We see them everyday and marvel at their beauty, but to be in them is the ultimate goal. Once there you begin to realize how very small you are in this world and feelings of peace and calm settle on your soul. Our mountains are a playground for many…skiers, backpackers, bikers, fisherman, campers. For me hiking is the thing. The thing that calls you out and pulls you towards them. I like the simplicity of it. The ease of packing a few essentials in a pack, throwing on your hiking boots and heading for the trail. The feeling you get as you lace up at the trailhead and begin. Full of energy and optimism. This optimism waning as you get a couple miles in…still feeling strong but looking up and knowing how far you have to go. Trying to remember how good it feels when you reach the top.
This is what drives you. Legs strong, climbing and pushing up the trail. Heart beating, breath increasing, trying to take in the nature surrounding you. Far away from civilization and distraction. Optimism returning as you reach the peak. Along with it, its good friend Accomplishment. Feeling on top of the world. Taking in a deep breath, slowly releasing. Settling into the peace of the mountain. Always sooner than you want, it is time to begin the descent. Looking at everything with fresh eyes on the way down. Seeing the trailhead sign and feeling happy to know soon you can take off your boots. Happily exhausted by the hike, the fresh air and spending the day in the mountains.
We are fortunate to live in Bozeman, where hiking is abundant and the options are endless. Over the years I have gone through phases of hiking…high school strolls with friends, serious hikes and backpacking with my husband, easy hikes with babies and many solo. I love having trails for each of these different types.
Hiking for me began somewhere in my teen years. Simple hikes with friends to get away. These turned harder and longer during college with my future husband as his eagerness to explore the highest peaks after growing up in a city. Years later, babies changed everything as we tried to continue the hiking of our youth, but found being strapped down with babes in backpacks hindered our earlier passion. I am happy we pushed on and persevered…eventually taking them on small hikes they could manage on their own. Instilling in them a love of mountains and what it can bring to their lives. Feeling proud as they stood upon Sacajawea Peak for the first time this summer. Knowing the years of hiking we did in their young years paid off. Passing the love of the mountains to this next generation.
My favorite Bozeman hikes…
Grotto Falls: A waterfall is a kid pleaser. It gives you a destination to be going towards and while at this point the top of a peak may not be attainable, a waterfall is a good alternative. Grotto Falls is an easy hike up and kids can splash in the water around it. Continue on Hyalite Creek Trail to more waterfalls if you are wanting to go further.
Blackmore Lake: Mount Blackmore is one of the most prominent peaks in the Hyalite range. Hiking to the lake gives you a beautiful view of this mountain and puts thoughts in little minds of one day reaching the top.
History Rock: History Rock is an easy and quiet hike. A large boulder full of names, dates and pictures carved on each available space. Every time we go our girls search for their names which have been carved in twice. Searching for the oldest date they can find, observing the history scrawled across. I have hopes of them one day taking their own children to this very place and pointing out where their dad carefully carved their names into History Rock.
Sacajawea Peak: Longer and more strenuous for the kids, but well worth the slow and steady climb to the peak. When kids see it from the valley and point to the top, they will feel strong and proud. These are very good feelings for our young girls. Feelings I hope continue into the teen and young adult years.
Hyalite Peak: Standing on the top of Hyalite Peak you can see all around you. It’s a beautiful hike on the way up as you pass several waterfalls. Stop at the lake for lunch and a break. Take in the beauty. Gaze up at how far you still have to go and get yourself psyched for it.
Pine Creek Lake: Our neighboring Paradise Valley is breathtaking. The mountains have a more rugged appearance and on this trail rightfully so. It goes on and on, making you believe you are just about there. Finally it becomes worthwhile when the lake with the amazing peaks behind it come into view. If it’s summer, strip down and jump in the freezing cold lake to refresh after the long hike. Trust me, you won’t stay in long.
Mount Blackmore: There’s something about seeing the noticeable peaks from town that I love. When I see them, even if I can’t get to them at that moment I love knowing I’ve stood on top. It can bring the sense of calm I feel up there back to my soul even if I’m sitting in traffic. Even if only for a moment. Mount Blackmore is one such peak. It’s a beautiful hike with a mid-way lake stopping point. Then push on to the top. Breath in. Exhale. Soak it up.
With snow covering our peaks many months of the year I take full advantage of the time we have. Sharing our mountains with the skiers during the winter, but as the snow melts the feelings begin. The mountains calling to me. Feeling such a strong need and desire to get to them after the winter hiatus. Knowing how wonderful it will feel to be back.