7 Best Trails and Hikes in Bozeman – For Inspiring Views

Noel Massey



7 Best Trails and Hikes in Bozeman - For Inspiring Views

Bozeman, Montana. A place where the air smells like freedom, and the trails call your name with a voice as gruff as Clint Eastwood’s. You’ve landed here because you’re itching to explore the great outdoors, or maybe you’re just trying to escape the city’s noise.

Whatever your reason, I’ve got you covered with the 7 best trails and hikes around Bozeman. No frills—just straight-up trail talk. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s begin.

Trails and Hikes in Bozeman

A Prelude to Mud, Sweat, and Views

Before we jump in, let’s get one thing straight. With 72 scenic trails available, Bozeman is an outdoor enthusiast’s buffet. You have to be a real adventurer with limitless energy to cover them all.

From historic sightseeing hikes to family-friendly strolls, there’s something for every level of ambition (or lack thereof). So lace up those boots, or don’t, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the variety of adventures waiting.

1. Drinking Horse Mountain Trail

Drinking Horse Mountain Trail

  • Length: 3.5 km
  • Elevation gain: 197 m
  • Route type: Loop

A moderately challenging loop that promises mud, possibly some accidental ice skating, and definitely some dodging of dog surprises (I’ve noticed a lot of dog poop near trails, so be a good sport if you’re taking your pet, and clean up afterward).

The views? Spectacular. The company? Plentiful. Best enjoyed May through October, and remember, your furry friend needs a leash (this is the case with most of the trails here, so always bring one).

My Take

Muddy, icy, and oddly satisfying. Watch your step unless you enjoy the scent of Eau de canine. The rugged terrain here, reminiscent of the wonders of Northwest Montana, is best navigated with caution. Microspikes can save your dignity on the north side.

2. College M Steep Trail

College M Steep Trail

  • Length: 3.1 km
  • Elevation gain: 250 m
  • Route type: Loop

This loop is a mixed bag of conditions—clear paths, sneaky ice patches, and a delightful mud fest.  The views are a just reward for your efforts. Keep your dogs leashed, and maybe bring some poles unless you fancy mud surfing.

Mud is everywhere, so dress appropriately. Don’t let this discourage you, though. The trail is well worth going through despite the mud.

My Take

Expect a mix of conditions and a crowd. The views make up for the slippery end, though.

3. Sypes Canyon

Sypes Canyon

  • Length: 14.3 km (8.9 mi)
  • Elevation gain: 955 m (3,139 ft)
  • Route type: Out & back

A trail that says, “I dare you,” with every step. Challenging, yes, but the kind of challenge that leaves you bragging to your friends. Best tackled May through October, with microspikes as your best friends.

The period that you opt for will entirely depend on the conditions in which you would like to hike. I personally love snowy months, as they provide a special type of experience.

My Take

Prepare for a mix of dry, snowy, and muddy conditions. I recommend bringing some waterproof-ish shoes along.

4. Triple Tree Trail

  • Length: 8.7 km
  • Elevation gain: 292 m
  • Route type: Out & back

A moderately challenging trail that offers solitude, panoramic views, and the occasional mountain bike passing by. The best times to come here are May through October.  I’ve been hiking for a very long time, so this trail didn’t really present much of a challenge.

However, it’s great due to other reasons, such as unparalleled beauty and untouched nature. I also love the fact that the trail is rarely crowded (at least when I visit, which is usually mid-June).

My Take

The views are worth it, and the loop offers a scenic return. Surprisingly solitary for such beauty.

5. Palisade Falls

Palisade Falls

  • Length: 1.8 km
  • Elevation gain: 73 m
  • Route type: Out & back

A quick jaunt to a stunning waterfall, manageable for most and teeming with fellow nature lovers. The road to adventure is temporarily longer due to closures, but the falls don’t disappoint. This is one of my favorite trails during snowy months.

For the adventurous souls seeking the thrill of conquering Montana’s most dangerous roads, the challenge awaits just beyond the tranquil beauty of these falls.

My Take

Snowy but accessible – combat boots over spikes. And yes, bugs, ice, snow, and all, it’s still great.

6. Grotto Falls Trail

Grotto Falls Trail

  • Length: 3.9 km
  • Elevation gain: 85 m
  • Route type: Out & back

An easy, icy trek to a waterfall that seems to straight-up ignore the laws of thermodynamics. I recommend bringing spikes unless you’re practicing for “Dancing on Ice.” All jokes aside, equip yourself for an icy adventure, as it can get really slippery.

My Take

A beautiful blend of icicles, moss, and waterfalls. Ice skating skills are optional but helpful.

7. Baldy Peak Summit

Baldy Peak Summit

  • Length: 15.8 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,361 m
  • Route type: Out & back

This is where you prove yourself as a hiker, and it is the toughest trail that I have decided to put on this list. Challenging, with elevation gains that laugh in the face of your gym membership. Best visited… honestly, whenever you feel like punishing yourself for fun.

Although this trail can be tough, even for the more experienced and fit among the hikers, going through it is very much worth the hassle. Once you get to the end, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

My Take

Leg day, the trail. Yaktraks recommended, and prepare for mud as the day warms up. But oh, the views! Absolutely spectacular!

Parting Words of Wisdom

So there you have it—Bozeman’s best trails, served up without a side of sugar-coating. If you’re here to challenge yourself, enjoy nature, or simply escape reality for a few hours, these trails offer something for every breed of outdoor enthusiast.

Just remember, the wilderness doesn’t care about your feelings, but it will generously reward your efforts with beauty, tranquility, and maybe a few blisters.