The following article is sponsored by Visit Big Sky
Big Sky, Montana literally sits in an ocean of mountains. The Gallatin Range, the Madison Range, the Bridger Range, the Tobacco Roots, the Crazy Mountains, the Absaroka Range, and the Beartooths are all close by - and let's not forget about Big Sky's biggest neighbor, Yellowstone National Park. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is some of the most remote country in the Lower 48. With endless trails wandering through this epic terrain, it's easy to see why these mountains beckon thrill seekers to explore them.
Big Sky Country is a hiking paradise. Pick a trail, any trail and go for a hike. You'll find plunging waterfalls, meadows covered in colorful wildflowers, snow-melt filled alpine lakes, deep forest studded canyons, broad alpine basins, remote and craggy summits, ancient petrified forests, abundant wildlife, and jaw dropping panoramic vistas. It's pristine and rugged wilderness that's basically undisturbed by humans.
It's exactly what every hiker dreams of and it's just steps out your door when you come play in Big Sky, Montana. Jump on the old heel-toe express and see where your next human powered adventure will take you. Maybe you'll spot a wild bison, a wandering grizzly bear, a bugling herd of elk, an elusive pack of wolves, or an ornery moose. Anything is possible in this massive outdoor playground.
Every hike you take in Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park will impress you. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready to explore Big Sky’s backyard. This place will blow your mind.
Below you'll find some of the best day hikes in Big Sky Country and in Yellowstone National Park:
- Big Horn Peak - 13 Miles Roundtrip, 3250' Elevation Gain - This hike begins at the Black Butte Trailhead in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park - just a short drive south of Big Sky. Follow the trail through thick forests, open meadows, and end on a craggy ridge walk to the summit of Big Horn Peak at 9930'.
- Ramshorn Peak - 16 Miles Roundtrip, 3,900' Elevation Gain - From the Gallatin Canyon, it's a big day to reach the iconic Ramshorn Peak. It's a shorter mission from the Paradise Valley. Either way you'll wander through wildflower meadows and the ancient Gallatin Petrified Forest that contains 50 million year old trees before you gain the summit of Ramshorn Peak at 10,296'.
- Beacon Point - 20 Miles Roundtrip, 6,000' Elevation Gain - Beacon Point is one of the most remote points in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. This hike offers expansive views of the greater Bozeman area, commanding views of Gallatin Peak, and impressive views of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. This demanding hike is well worth the effort.
- Cinnamon Mountain - 8.5 Miles Roundtrip, 2570' Elevation Gain - Starting at the Cinnamon Creek Trailhead, this well trodden trail wanders uphill to the top of Cinnamon Mountain at 9235'. From the aged fire lookout at the summit you have impressive views of the Taylor Hilgard Unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, Lone Mountain and Big Sky Resort, and the Gallatin Canyon far below.
- Storm Castle - 5 Miles Roundtrip, 1900' Elevation Gain - When you drive north on Highway 191 from Big Sky to Bozeman, you'll notice the unique and rocky tiered summit of Storm Castle. Take the steep trail to the summit and gawk in awe at the surrounding Madison and Gallatin Ranges. You may also recognize this mountain and the flowing Gallatin River from the Hollywood hit, A River Runs Through It.
- Gallatin Riverside Trail - 3.1 Miles One-way, 200' Elevation Gain - This short hike can be done one way or round trip. Follow the trail as it parallels the Gallatin River while it tumbles down the canyon. Thick forests and ancient gneiss formations combined with stunning views makes for a great way to spend a few hours.
- The Sentinel - 10.5 Miles Roundtrip, 2800' Elevation Gain - The Sentinel begins at the end of the rocky Portal Creek Road and follows the Gallatin Crest Trail thorough high alpine meadows and past historic forest service cabins to the summit of The Sentinel at 9945'. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Paradise Valley, Absaroka Range, Madison Range, and beyond.
- Spanish Lakes & Beehive Lake - 16 Miles Roundtrip, 3000' Elevation Gain - After leaving the Spanish Creek Trailhead, follow the Forest Service trail deep into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. At 9,000' you'll find the Spanish lakes - a series of interconnected lakes in a high alpine cirque. Push a bit further to Beehive Lake and the towering north face of Beehive Peak. It's an ideal place to fish, camp, and experience Montana.
With thousands of miles of hiking trails to explore, Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park is filled with a lifetime of adventure. Grab a map, fill up your water bottles, pack your extra layers, stock up on snacks, and bring the bear spray because you're going to love exploring the Big Sky backcountry. What's the first hike that you're going to go on?