The Bozeman Bouldering Circuit
If it’s a nice day in Bozeman, Montana, and you’re on a bike ride around town or you want to do some rock climbing, you might want to make a stop on the Bozeman Bouldering Circuit. The Bozeman Bouldering Circuit is a route around town that takes you to a collection of seven climbing boulders. All of them are different shapes, sizes, colors, and climbing difficulties. Each boulder is unique and has its own special location with multiple challenges. They’re great practice. The boulders are tall enough that you can climb using a series of moves but so tall that if you fall you could get hurt. I just started climbing the boulders, and I have already enjoyed them a lot. They are all really good exercise and fun to climb.
Here is a list of all the Bozeman Bouldering Circuit boulders and a short description of each:
Gallatin County Regional Park Boulder
There are two boulders here, a small one and a large one. I think they are the easiest out of all the boulders, so I recommend doing them first. The boulders have a great design, with lots of curves that make perfect rock climbing holds. Both of these boulders are located near the dinosaur playground in Gallatin Valley Regional Park.
This park has a couple of other fun things to do. The bicycle pump track is a dirt track that has jumps and loopty loops. This track is a great skill builder and it has lots of fun things to do. There are several paths that run through the park where you can watch the ground squirrels.
Pond Park Boulder
The Bozeman Pond Park Boulder is a great climbing boulder to visit. It is one of the biggest boulders on the circuit, and it is perfect for intermediate rock climbers. This boulder is located at Fowler Avenue near the Bozeman Pond Park basketball court. The park also includes a fishing dock on a pond, a fenced-in dog park, picnic benches, volleyball court, and a playground.
The MSU Boulder
I think the MSU boulder is the hardest boulder. It is located near the college’s Plant Growth Center. One of the reasons this boulder is so hard is because the handholds are very small and one side of the boulder is leaning backwards. If you’re at the college, I also recommend going to a doughnut shop near the boulder called Granny’s Doughnuts. It has really good food and is a nice way to reward yourself after a long session of rock climbing. The duck pond is also a really fun place to go because it’s interesting to observe the ducks and the unusually colored fish. (Seriously, I have never seen fish like these!)
Langohr Park Boulder
This is my favorite boulder because it has such a good mix of easy and challenging climbing options. This boulder is located on the Gallagator Trail and it is a really fun place to stop and have a break on a bench for resting. The Gallagator Trail also leads to several other bouldering circuit destinations. The Langohr Park Boulder has a tunnel in the middle, an easy way up, and lots of difficult climbing options.
Train Depot Boulder
Train Depot Boulder is one of the smaller boulders, but it is really fun to climb because of its texture. This cement rock has lots of small handholds and footholds that make it great for climbing on any of its sides. And if you’re a train fan, it’s a great place for train watching; there is a historic train depot nearby. Several restaurants and cafes are near this boulder.
Glen Lake Rotary Park Boulder (formerly East Gallatin Recreation Area Boulder)
The Glen Lake Rotary Park Boulder is in the park next to Glen Lake across from MAP Brewing. It is a very big boulder with lots of fun climbing options, but it can be very challenging to climb with wet feet from swimming in the lake. There is a pretty view of the water and the mountains from the top of this boulder. The lake is really fun because there are lots of trees you can sit under when it’s hot. The lake is great for swimming, if you can stand cold water. Sometimes, there will be ducks swimming in the lake that you can watch.
The Mysterious Seventh Boulder
All the maps and websites say there are six boulders, but there is actually a seventh boulder that most people don’t know about called Norm’s Boulder. The seventh boulder is at Story Mill Community Park off Bridger Dr. It is actually not part of the circuit, but it’s still a fun place to visit. Story Mill Community Park has lots of things to do, including a playground, a dog park, a community garden that anyone can help with, and a path that leads to Bridger Creek.
The Building Of the Boulders
The boulders were a partnership between Bozeman Boulder Initiative, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and the City of Bozeman. Famous local climber Conrad Anker was very involved from the beginning. I emailed him to ask if there was anything he wanted people to know about the boulders. Conrad said, “If you are motivated, you can ride your bicycle between the boulders in town and in the process get a decent workout in. I enjoy running from boulder to boulder and climbing in my running shoes. It complements the aerobic nature of running, and it’s a way to keep one’s fingers strong. All of the boulders have a moderate route to the summit which gives the climbers a great vantage point. It’s wonderful to see children sitting on the top thinking about life. The climbing community is very grateful to the Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department for the boulders we have In town.”
Each boulder cost $20,000 to build and was built by a company called Stronghold Fabrication. The boulders take about six weeks to build. First, Stronghold makes a screen skeleton. Then, they add a layer of special concrete. For more information about The Bozeman Boulders, go to the Gallatin County Land Trust Association’s website www.gvlt.org, or Stronghold Fabrications website at www.strongholdfabrication.com.
All of these boulders are fun places to visit and are great for beginner, intermediate, and advanced rock climbers. Have fun climbing the boulders!