Nexus Point Apartments


Just Relax: A Guide to Bozeman Spas

Whether it’s a vacation or a stay-cation, a spa treatment is a chance to step away from the fast track of life and give your mind and body some well deserved R&R. There are a variety of Bozeman spas, and their specialties are varied, so read on to find the one that best fits both your needs and your mood.

Canyon River Spa and Salon; Aveda Lifestyle

Aveda products have had a loyal following for years. Canyon River Spa and Salon; Aveda Lifestyle, brings the well-loved products together with a full salon experience. First known for their hair products, Aveda’s color is 97% natural and derived from plants with essential oils for soft and gentle hair color, and their talented stylists work wonders.

Men’s care is just as important as women’s in this spa; they understand how the elements and rigors of shaving affect men’s skin and have treatments to improve appearance and moisturize to soothe and reduce ingrown hairs. Men, if you haven’t tried a mani/pedi, we highly recommend it. Your skin will be as soft as a baby’s behind.

Martelli Salon and Spa

One of Bozeman’s newest spas, this full service salon creates personalized skin care programs using Epicuren Discovery® products and professional treatments for both hair and skin. These products have been successful in treating severely damaged skin ranging from sun damage and burn victims, to other environmental and toxic exposures.

The spa offers traditional massage, facials and nails, but what you won’t find in other spas is cosmetic body art. Microblading, a semi-permanent makeup for eyebrows, can fill in gaps or define brows. This technique gives the appearance of hair by using fine deposits of cosmetic tattoo pigment. They also offer eyelash extensions, tinting and lash lifting. And if you wish you hadn’t tattooed that ex’s name on your shoulder, fear not, they also do tattoo removal.

The Loft Spa

The Loft (as it’s known by the locals) is a full service salon and spa featuring hair, nails and massage. All of their services are top notch, but one of the real treats is their Hammam, a Turkish bath. For centuries people used hot and cold therapy to relieve muscle and joint pain, boost immune system function, detoxify the body and provide deep relaxation. A combination of the wet steam room, cold infinity immersion tub or deluge shower and dry sauna leaves you energized, increases circulation and adds to a healthy skin tone and texture.

If facials are your favorite treatment, you won’t be disappointed. Using a state of the art advanced light therapy, the LED therapy treatment advances cellular turnover and increases collagen and elastin production.

Indira Spa and Wellness

In addition to traditional spa treatments, Indira Spa and Wellness takes wedding planning to a whole new level. Beginning six months prior, they will work with you to develop a skin care plan to ensure both the bride and groom are radiant and relaxed. For the bridal party, Indira will come to your location to do full hair and makeup. (That is after two days of waxing, massage, facials and nails.) Gentlemen take note; grooms and groomsmen deserve a little pampering as well. Enjoy a steam bath, massage, gentlemen’s facial, pedicure and manicure.

Interested in a relaxing celebration? Try one of the spa parties. Want to incorporate some fun exercise in your routine? The Studio offers yoga, aerial arts, pole dance fitness and beginning dance. Private lessons are available.

Best Breweries in Bozeman

Brewing beer in Bozeman is not a new trend. The roots of Bozeman’s brewing industry date back to 1867 with Jacob Spieth and Charles Krug operating the Spieth and Krug Brewery which was later purchased by Julius Lehrkind, a German immigrant, in 1895. Nonetheless, these days breweries are hoppin’ spots in Bozeman. Bozeman is currently home to nine breweries with more in Belgrade, Big Sky and other surrounding areas. In Bozeman, breweries are the go-to after a day of skiing, hiking or exploring the city for a beer and some local eats. So, which breweries should you check out while in Bozeman? Here’s a quick breakdown of all the best breweries in Bozeman, Montana to help you make your decision.

Bozeman Brewing Company

The oldest of the breweries in Bozeman, Bozeman Brewing Company has been brewing beer since 2001. Located in the Bozeman Brewery Historic District, their tasting room is certainly a local’s hangout. Their most popular beer is the Bozone Amber, which you can find at most bars and restaurants around town. It’s a beer-only room, so it’s perfect for a post-powder day beet or a pre-dinner warmer.

Nordic Brew Works 

This eclectic brewery is the newest addition to the Bozeman scene, located in The Market at Ferguson Farm on Bozeman’s west side, a trendy new compound of restaurants, retail and other businesses. They offer a variety of rotating, internationally-inspired beers, such as the Mystery Train Vienna Lager and the Ludicrous Speed Schwarzbier, in addition to several kinds of IPA. Grab a flight so you can try a bit of everything before you delve into a wood-fired pizza. Whatever you choose, be prepared to settle in and hang out for a while.

Bridger Brewing

Bridger Brewing is located right across 11th Street from the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. They feature some classic beers and what many argue is the best pizza in town. It’s popular hangout for MSU students or anyone attending events at the Fieldhouse. Try out their Vigilante IPA or the Ghost Town Coffee Stout. If you want something a little lighter, the Mad Mile and the sour, fruity Comeback Gose are great, too. Bridger Brewing is a lively, family friendly spot, and a favorite for before and after sporting events at the university.

MAP Brewing Company

MAP has, hands down, the best view of all breweries in Bozeman. It sits along the west shore of Glen Lake and the East Gallatin Recreation Area with a stellar view of the Bridger Mountains in the background. During the summer you can rent paddle boards nearby and spend a few hours cruising around the lake and, of course, finish with beers on the patio. They also serve some killer pub food, so it’s a popular spot for lunch and dinner as well. Because of its popularity, tables can fill up quick, so make sure to get on their online wait list plenty early. Be sure to try local favorites like the Midas Crush IPA or the Party Lager.

Mountains Walking Brewery

Also located in the Historic Bozeman Brewery District, Mountains Walking features a large range of classic and experimental beers. You’ll always find several hefty double-IPAs, along with unique seasonal beers. For example, they currently have a rotating suite of sweet beers like Black Current Cheesecake Sour and a Cookies & Cream stout. Their beers are inventive, and the ambience is a mix of cozy and trendy. Fermented crust wood-fired pizza makes a menu powered by savory melted cheese, and you can taste the impact of their hand-built wood burning oven on the whole array of food offerings that pair perfectly with handcrafted brews.

Union Hall Brewery

Daily specials, a unique blend of flagships and rotators, and a food menu worthy of attention await at Union Hall Brewery. Located right on downtown Main Street, it’s any easy stop while you shop or bar-hop on an easy Saturday. The inviting space exudes warmth and a sense of community. It’s a newer brewery with an old-school feel that’s inspired by Bozeman’s brewing roots. Plus, their sandwiches and tacos nicely complement the beer, making it an all-in-one location.

Outlaw Brewing

Outlaw is located a little off the beaten path behind Target and Bob Ward’s on North 27th Street. It sits at the edge of a neighborhood and has a very local, family-friendly feel. The beers are great, including their Pot Shot Pilsner and Hop Mullet IPA. In the winter the Gambler Amber is great after a day shredding Bridger Bowl. If you are feeling strong, hop on the pull-up bar to earn a free beer during Tough Guy/Gal Tuesday. In the summer, enjoy their outdoor patio in the sun, snack some free popcorn, or hit up whatever rotating food truck is currently parked onsite.

Bunkhouse Brewery

Bunkhouse is located right near campus and around the corner from Bridger Brewing. They focus on bringing back an older style of German brewing while still producing popular beers. Check out the Pamplemousse “Grapefruit” Wheat or the traditional Czech dark lager, Frank’s 12 Degrees. You can easily add this on to a brew tour that includes Bridger Brewing, or just stop in to check out their weekly specials like community pint nights on Tuesdays or $3 off growler fills on Thursdays.

Lockhorn Cider House

If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter (and gluten-free), Lockhorn Cider House brews some delicious pomme-based alternatives to beer. Their slightly sweet Grapefruit Mint Cider is a huge hit, and the Hot Spiced Cider is a winter favorite. Located on the eastern edge of downtown on south Wallace, Lockhorn has a very chill atmosphere with board games and indoor and outdoor seating. Furry friends are welcome on the outdoor patio as well.

Notable Taprooms

Looking to try some brews from a variety of local and regional breweries? Check out some of Bozeman’s best taprooms, including:

Hop Lounge

SHINE Beer Sanctuary + Bottle Shop

Bozeman Taproom

Pour House

Why Bozeman Is One Of The West's Best Ski Towns

Walk down Bozeman’s Main Street and you’re just as likely to see worn-in cowboy boots and Carhartt barn coats as Patagonia ski shells and Sorel boots. In the heart of big sky country, bracketed by Yellowstone National Park to the south and skiable mountains in all directions, Bozeman is known in outdoor circles as a veritable outdoor playground. Regardless of the season, there’s always something to do outside — and wintertime is no exception. Two world-class ski resorts, Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl, are both within an hour’s drive of downtown and offer a combined 7,000 vertical feet and nearly 8,000 skiable acres. A plethora of backcountry and cross-country skiing are also nearby, meaning there’s plenty to occupy outdoor-folk, and the town offers a variety of dining and lodging for all budgets.

Explore Big Sky’s Ski Runs and Backcountry

Big Sky Resort features more than 5,800 acres of terrain and an impressive vertical drop of 4,350 feet. One of the largest ski resort in the U.S. in terms of acreage, Big Sky boasts the Lone Peak Tram, which transports adventurous skiers to 11,166 feet on Lone Mountain’s Summit. The resort encompasses four large mountains connected by chair lifts, and offers European-like skiing with powder stashes and minimal wait time.

Wine and Dine in Big Sky Village

After a busy day of skiing the slopes, nothing makes the après-ski scene like a hot meal, a strong drink and relaxing with friends. Big Sky boasts a broad selection of options for wining and dining. Local favorites include Montana Jack for burgers and craft beers, Scissorbills Saloon for live music, drinks and a quick snack and the Carabiner Lounge, where large windows and a big deck offer the perfect respite to relax and watch the snow fall. Big Sky’s first microbrewery, Lone Peak Brewery, offers 12 taps with rotating seasonal and award-winning brews.

Cross-Country Skiing at Bohart Ranch Cross-Country Center

Locals know the best groomed cross-country trails are located a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Bozeman in the Bridger Mountains. Bohart Ranch offers a scenic, relaxed cross-country skiing experience through groomed trails teeming with wildlife. More than 30 kilometers of trails over varying terrain are regularly groomed and offer both classic and skate-style tracks.

Snowshoeing Hyalite Canyon

Tucked a mere 20-minute drive south of Bozeman, Hyalite Canyon is a season-round favorite of Bozeman locals. A leisurely drive up the canyon road leads to a scenic reservoir and a selection of hiking trails offering bountiful wintertime options. Winter choices include a marked trail system and an endless supply of wintery backcountry. Grotto Falls Trail #42, a short hike leading to a scenic frozen waterfall, is the perfect option for a post-brunch stroll in the snow.

Pre-Adventure Fuel: Bozeman Breakfasts

Fueling properly is key before is a big day on the slopes. Accordingly, Bozeman doesn’t slack in the breakfast department, with most options to be found downtown. The local’s favorite coffee shop, Wild Joe’s Coffeehouse, offers the best espresso drinks in town as well as quick breakfast burritos and sandwiches. The Nova Café features locally sourced ingredients in a trendy environment, and The Western Cafe is a classic, always-bustling spot for those seeking a hearty traditional breakfast. Coffee shops are also scattered around town for those seeking a quick break to the ski hills.

The Local’s Favorite: Bridger Bowl

With the suitable catchphrase “Ski the Coldsmoke,” Bridger Bowl is known as the local’s ski hill. A vertical rise of 2,700 feet and 2,000 skiable acres of terrain offer enough options to keep even ski-savvy Bozeman residents occupied, and with an average snowfall of 350 inches, odds are good that visiting skiers will get a chance to sample the mountain’s famous powder conditions. One quad, five triple, and two double chairlifts mean it’s easy to move around the mountain, and a terrain park keeps trick-happy athletes occupied.

The Best of Bozeman: Apres-Ski and Shopping

Bozeman is quickly gaining a well-earned reputation as the culinary capital of Montana. After a frigid day on the slopes, nothing is finer than relaxing with a big meal and a favored drink. A simple stroll through downtown Bozeman offers a broad variety of dining options, from the cheap and quick to fine local fare. Locals often gather at Montana Ale Works (ask for the off-menu parmesan fries) and Bar IX, an industrial-style bar with busy nightlife. The Cannery is a local’s favorite dive bar, and Copper Whiskey Bar and Grill offers more than 130 varieties of whiskies for the most discerning of tastes.

Cross-Country Trails Around Bozeman

Wintertime adventures in the Bozeman area don’t require a drive out of town. The Bridger Ski Foundation grooms community Nordic ski trails at six venues around Bozeman, including easily-accessible in-town Bridger Creek Golf Course and Sunset Hills Trails. Local ski shops offer half-day and daily rentals of cross-country ski gear, making it easy to enjoy the in-town trails.

The Best of Bozeman and Big Sky Ski Shops

As expected in an outdoor town, Bozeman boasts its fair share of outdoor shops. Local favorites Chalet Sports and Roundhouse offer ski and gear sales as well as tune-ups and rentals, and they are the best place to stop and ask the locals what’s been skiing well. A perpetually busy REI is Bozeman’s chain store option. Big Sky Grizzly Outfitters, Lone Mountain Sports, and Gallatin Alpine Sports all cater to visitors and locals alike.

The Winter Warm-up: Local Hot Springs

When the weather is truly icy, sometimes it’s best to retreat to the hot springs. Bozeman Hot Springs, located 15 minutes from downtown in nearby Four Corners, has been around for more than 100 years and offers recently renovated natural hot springs pools. Norris Hot Springs, 45 minutes away, is a popular choice for its natural hot springs, live music, and food and drink. Both are a solid option for those seeking to soak away post-skiing soreness.

Originally written by RootsRated Media for Bozeman Tourism. 

Top Places to Rock Climb in Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman is a haven for rock climbers of all levels, with hundreds of routes that can be accessed within less than an hour of driving. Though famed for its plentiful ice climbing routes in the winter, Bozeman’s canyons offer tons of climbing experiences from spring to fall, from bouldering to sport and trad, and even some easy, beginner’s top-rope routes. 

While most Bozeman-area climbing destinations are on public land, a few do require private permits or require you to pass through private land. To ensure the continued use of these areas, remember to be respectful to nearby neighbors, follow posted rules and clean up after yourself, following Leave No Trace guidelines. Above all, safety should be your first priority when climbing, so make sure you are confident in your abilities and knowledge of risk mitigation. If you’re not 100 percent sure, go with a guide! 

This blog relies heavily on research using the Mountain Project app, a staple in the climbing community for sharing information about sites and routes. It allows you to search for routes by location, climbing style, difficultly, and more. It’s a handy tool to have when trying to locate a particular route outside.  With that in mind, here are some of the top spots near Bozeman for outdoor rock climbing. New to the sport? You’ll find guided options and climbing courses in this blog as well. 

Hyalite Canyon

As one of the most easily accessible climbing areas from Bozeman, this is a popular area for locals to head after work or school to get some weekday climbing in. Practice Rock, the area on the north end of the canyon, hosts around 25 routes and is only a 15-minute drive from Bozeman on Hyalite Canyon Road. Here, you’ll find nearly every style of climbing you can imagine. As you head further up this road, you’ll find some slightly less busy, more secluded climbing areas. Note that many of the routes in this canyon are just off the main road, so it’s less scenic than some areas and can be a bit louder. But for such a short commute, it’s totally worth it. 

Gallatin Canyon

On the highway south to Big Sky, you’ll find tons of routes in Gallatin Canyon. We’re talking more than 450, including quite a few bouldering problems as well. This canyon is incredibly scenic, with craggy rocks, the clear flowing Gallatin River and tons of camping and hiking opportunities as well. It’s easy to make a weekend out of it with so many things to do here. Popular climbing highlights in Gallatin Canyon include Gallatin Tower, Storm Castle, Greek Lake, and Lava Lake.  

Bozeman Pass

Just 20 minutes east of Bozeman en route to Livingston, Bozeman Pass has more than 36 sport climbs for beginners and experts on what some consider the best limestone in the area. This spot is rather close to the highway, but you won’t notice it when you’re dangling from crimps and sending some short, fun walls. From the parking area, it’s an easy approach that requires just 15 minutes of hiking to the first rock formation, known as the Frat Boy Wall. As soon as you harness up and coat your hands in chalk, you’ll be on the wall in no time.


Hit up Allenspur just south of Livingston for some seriously beautiful views of Paradise Valley. When on the wall, find a solid spot to rest and look behind you at the nearby mountains and Yellowstone River. Beginners will have plenty to climb here, with several beginner’s sport routes. Access to this site has been controversial in the past, so make sure you’re following the rules so that climbers can continue to use this crag. One rule is that dogs are not allowed, so as much as we love them, leave your crag dogs at home. 

Go With a Guide

If you’re new to climbing or want to go with a local, Bozeman offers guided opportunities as well. The Montana Mountaineering Association offers private, guided one-on-one or group experiences at Bozeman area crags. Montana Alpine Guides offers a large variety or clinics and courses, as well as instruction and guiding for climbing excursions. They’ll educate you on area climbing spots, what kind of gear you’ll need, and how to keep yourself safe. With both outfitters, no previous climbing experience is required. 

4 Spots to Go Fly Fishing In Bozeman

In 1992 Robert Redford spoke the opening line, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing” and Bozeman was changed forever. The movie was A River Runs Through It, which tells the story of the Maclean family and their love of fly fishing. The film was narrated by Mr. Redford and featured a young Brad Pitt as the troubled younger brother of Norman Maclean, set in the town of Missoula, Montana. But the entire movie was filmed in the Bozeman and Livingston areas, which put the towns on the map as the premier fly fishing destination in the United States.

That moniker still holds true today with three pristine rivers within a short drive: the Gallatin River, Madison River, and Yellowstone River, not to mention the Missouri and Jefferson rivers and all the small mountain streams and lakes that feed into these larger rivers. Fly fishermen of all ages and ability levels flock to Bozeman each year for the experience that A River Runs Through It shared so passionately. If you are planning on fly fishing in Bozeman, here are a few spots where you can get your own little taste of the action.

The Gallatin River – Axtell Bridge

The Gallatin River begins in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park and flows north past Big Sky and out into the Gallatin Valley. This river is chock full of Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Whitefish. A popular spot to test your fly fishing skills is the Axtell Bridge between Gallatin Gateway and Four Corners. This is a public access site which offers a small parking lot and easy access to the river. 

Hyalite Reservoir

If you need a little extra room to practice your 10 and 2 casting, head south of town on 19th Ave to the Hyalite Reservoir. This is a very popular recreation area with lots of hiking, camping, rock climbing and mountain biking all around the reservoir. The water is dammed to collect the spring snow melt from the surrounding mountains and it is also the city of Bozeman’s main water supply. Below the surface you will find some big trout that will put up a good fight. Knowing where to find the fish is the skill that presents the most challenge. 

The Madison River – Beartrap Canyon

If you are up for a little drive, Beartrap Canyon on the Madison River is a beautiful spot where the river splits away from the highway and flows out of Ennis Lake. It is a popular hike as well so you will encounter plenty of friendly Montanans out enjoying the views. Try casting your fly right behind the large rocks and boulders that pop up along the river’s edge. The fish like to hide right at the edge of the fast moving water where bugs and other types of food collect. 

Hyalite Creek

On the way up to Hyalite Reservoir you will wind along Hyalite Creek which flows out below Hyalite Dam. This is a controlled flow, meaning it usually isn’t impacted as much by deposits from snow runoff that tend to cloud up the larger rivers in early spring. The fish aren’t as big but they are still fun to catch, nonetheless. You won’t need to master your casting abilities on this smaller creek, but you may want to practice your roll cast prior to hitting the river. The trees and bushes can get a little tight, which may prevent a full cast. Along the way up to the reservoir there are plenty of pullouts and places to park. 

Yellowstone River – Mallard’s Rest

The other very popular river is of course, the Yellowstone. This river flows out of Yellowstone Lake within the park and is known as the longest free flowing (undammed) river in the Lower 48. There are plenty of fishing access sites throughout the Paradise Valley and in Livingston, but this river is most commonly fished from a drift boat. If you want to toss a line from shore, check out Mallard’s Rest fishing access site. 

Around the Bozeman area there are plenty of fishing options. During your time in town, you could very easily try a different fishing spot each day. If you are looking for a guided experience, we encourage you to check out the options on our Fishing page. Bozeman’s fly shops feature some of the best fly fishing guides in the world, and their local knowledge about which flies to use and where to fish can’t be overstated. We wish you the best of luck, and we know that you’ll enjoy your time on Montana’s rivers. 

6 Amazing Swimming Holes Near Bozeman, Montana

Montana summers aren’t long, but they can get hot. There is nothing better than spending a day at the lake or catching an afternoon dip on a hot day. From local ponds to scenic mountain lakes, there’s no shortage of water bodies to cannonball into when you need to cool off. So as the temps heat up, we’ve gathered up a few of our favorite swimming holes for you to explore on a hot day this summer in Bozeman. 

Bozeman Beach

Located at Glen Lake Rotary Park on the north side of town, Bozeman Beach offers a little sandy spot of heaven along Glen Lake with a backdrop of the Bridger mountains. You’ll also find sand volleyball courts and easy access for a kayak or paddleboard.  Trails surround the lake, and the dock is perfect for diving in.  It can get a bit crowded on a hot summer day, but you can usually find a spot for your beach towel and jump in for a swim. This is probably the most accessible swimming spot in town. Plus, it’s right next to one of the most popular breweries in town, MAP Brewing, which looks out over the lake.  

Hyalite Reservoir 

The Hyalite Canyon Recreation Area offers nearly any kind of outdoor activity you can think of, including swimming. You may want to wait until a little later in the summer for this one because the mountain runoff water can be pretty cold. But in such a beautiful area, surrounded by mountain peaks, it’s worth just hanging out in the sun, making a picnic, and dipping in when you get too hot. Only 30 minutes from downtown Bozeman up Hyalite Canyon Road, it feels out of town without the long drive. It’s also a great place to bring your dogs, your paddleboard or kayak, and a fishing rod. At Hyalite, endless trails circle the lake, taking you past waterfalls and up to nearby peaks, so you can easily pack in a full day of fun. 

You can stick around the main boat launch at the base of the reservoir or drive around the lake and see if there is a spot available at one of the campsites bordering the reservoir.

Axtell Bridge

Axtell Bridge is technically a fishing access site, but plenty of Bozemanites visit the area to swim. Located a 15-minute drive from Bozeman along the highway toward Big Sky, Axtell Bridge offers a safe spot to wade into the cool clean waters of the Gallatin River. Beware if you go too early in the summer season, the currents could be a little fast. Save this spot for late June or early July. 

Fairy Lake

Fairy Lake is probably the most scenic swimming hole near Bozeman. Located in the Bridger Range, the lake itself is full of emerald-colored water at the base of Sacajawea Peak. From the parking area and campground, it’s an easy one-mile hike down to the lake. With opportunities for camping and hiking to the summit of Sacajawea, you can easily spend a good amount of time here. This magical spot does require a bumpy drive along a rough road for several miles, so a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. 

Canyon Ferry Lake

Take an hour-and-a-half drive north from Bozeman to the third-largest body of water in Montana. With 76 miles of shoreline, Canyon Ferry Lake is a great place to throw down a beach towel and head for the water. Fill up the coolers with some lunch and beers and spend the day relaxing in the sun. With camping, fishing and boating opportunities, this lake sees plenty of traffic throughout the summer, so plan to arrive early to scope out the best spot!

Ennis Lake

Ennis Lake, formed by damming the Madison River near Ennis, Montana, is one of the more shallow lakes in the area. This means warmer waters, even in earlier summer months. Just an hour southwest of Bozeman, it’s a scenic drive to the day use area at Kobayashi Beach. It’s a popular spot for families with picnic tables, bathrooms, and keep your eye out for an awesome rope swing. 

If you’re not up for jumping in the nearest swimming hole, Bozeman offers plenty of shady patios and cold brews for cooling off during the summer months. If you’re looking for something a little warmer, check out our list of nearby hot springs as well. 

The 7 Best Mountain Bike Trails Near Bozeman

Bozeman is surrounded by mountains, so it’s little wonder that the locals spend much of their recreation time exploring them. Thanks to a bustling cycling community, mountain bikes are a common sight in Bozeman, and riders of all skill levels and preferences will find trails to explore. Whether you’re looking for a lung-busting climb—and the subsequent adrenaline-jolting downhill—or a more mellow, rolling ride along mountain creeks, the Bozeman area won’t disappoint. Here are seven of our favorite area trails.

1. Mystic Lake

Distance from Downtown: 7 miles

The 18-mile loop at Mystic Lake offers a mild 700 feet of elevation change and an intermediate rating. The ride starts smoothly on Sourdough Mountain Road, branching off at a bridge at 4.8 miles and then again a bit later to the left toward Mystic Lake. The trail meanders through the forest, eventually winding along the scenic lake, where there’s a Forest Service cabin for rent for those wanting a weekend escape. At approximately 10.5 miles riders reach the locally named “Wall of Death,” a sheer wall that, with a bit of careful consideration, is read

2. Leverich Trail

Distance from Downtown: 8.3 miles

The 6-mile Leverich Trail features uphill (east portion of the trail) and downhill (west portion of the trail) sections, allowing bikers to cruise and flow down the steep descent. This singletrack loop features 1,500 feet of elevation change and a few small jumps—plus some banked turns for fun downhills. The trail is heavily used by hikers, but those on foot and on horseback are asked to use the eastern side of the trail, leaving the western side free for bike-riding adrenaline lovers.

3. South Cottonwood Trail

Distance from Downtown: 13.3 miles

A popular hiking trail, South Cottonwood is equally as welcoming to mountain bikers. The intermediate-rated 6-mile trail gains 800 feet of up-and-down throughout its length, and it features a few creek crossings with narrow log bridges. The first 2.5 miles are gently rolling (the moderate pitch from the parking lot is the hardest climb) and suitable for riders of all levels. The remaining 3.5 miles grows increasingly challenging. Often completed as an out-and-back, the trail also connects to other trails for loop options, but riders should come prepared for massive climbs and serious commitment. The true beauty of South Cottonwood lies in the options for all skill levels.

4. Truman Gulch

Distance from Downtown: 15.7 miles

Thanks to its short (about 3.5 miles) distance and varied terrain, Truman Gulch is a post-workday favorite for Bozeman athletes. The singletrack has 1,200 feet of elevation change and is rated advanced thanks to a technical upper half with steep climbs and rocks and roots to navigate. The first half of the climb moves through shady trees, along a creek with a few crossings, providing a timely cool-off on hot summer days. The descent requires a bit of care as it’s easy to gain speed and then meet unexpected twists and turns. This trail is popular with confident, thrill-seeking riders.

5. Bangtail Divide

Distance from Downtown: 19.5 miles, just past the Bridger Bowl Ski Area

One of the Bozeman area’s most storied trails, Bangtail Divide is best ridden from south to north. The 24-mile ride kicks off with a plethora of switchbacks that warm riders up quickly, then levels out to stunning views and rolling hills. The singletrack has an elevation change of 5,100 throughout the loop, and while there’s another hearty climb near the end, riders are then treated to several miles of downhill. The trail is known for its gorgeous views and lush wildflowers in the early summer months. Pack a lunch and start early to avoid hot summer days.

6. Emerald Lake

Distance from Downtown: 20.3 miles

Many riders herald Emerald Lake as the best ride in Montana. The 10-mile out-and-back trail boasts 7,406 feet of elevation change and is rated as intermediate. Riders face a lung-busting 2,000-foot climb to stunning Emerald Lake (pack fly fishing gear and a lunch), but they can enjoy the adrenaline-filled ride back down. The trail is popular with hikers and horseback riders, so many mountain bikers choose to explore Emerald Lake on the weekdays where you’ll find limited trail traffic.

7. Hyalite Creek Trail

Distance from Downtown: 20.8 miles

The Hyalite Creek Trail is a stunning canyon ride leading to a classic alpine cirque and lake. The trail passes 11 waterfalls along the way (some require a slight detour, but are worth the look) and is open to bikers on a shared use schedule, as it is quite popular with hikers and horseback riders. The 12 miles of singletrack has a few gnarly sections as it gains 6,818 feet of elevation, but the views from the out-and-back are well worth the sweaty ride and sometimes crowded trail conditions.

Written by Jess McGlothlin for RootsRated Media in partnership with Bozeman Tourism.

For more information on biking in Bozeman, go to

The 10 Best Hikes in Bozeman

Nestled amidst craggy mountains, winding rivers, and sprawling valleys, the town of Bozeman is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. The mountain town, home to many world-class athletes, lives and breathes outdoor recreation. Hikers have it particularly well in Bozeman, with a wide number of incredibly scenic options to explore. Choosing the top 10 best hikes in Bozeman is tough, but you can’t go wrong with any of the trails on this list.

1. Drinking Horse Mountain Trail

Miles: 2.2 
Elevation Change: 583 feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 10 minutes

This trail is located across from the popular M Trail, and is one of Bozeman’s newer trails, popular with local hikers and runners. Just 4.7 miles from downtown, the 2.2-mile loop trail offers stunning views of the Gallatin Valley. It climbs a mere 583 feet and is rated as moderate, but many inexperienced hikers will find it very attainable with a relaxed pace. Dogs can use the trail, and it is a popular choice for families with smaller children as well.

2. M Trail

Miles: 1.7 – 2.4 
Elevation Change: 800 feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 10 minutes

Perhaps the most iconic Bozeman hike, the M Trail is easily accessible just 4.9 miles from downtown. The short 1.7-mile loop gains 770 feet as it climbs to a large, white “M” sketched into the hillside. One side of the trail is more moderate over slightly longer mileage, while the other climbs steeply, which allows hikers to choose the difficulty of their hike. This short trail is a favorite for pre- or post-workday exercise for busy Bozeman locals and their dogs, and offers impressive views of the valley.

3. Baldy Peak Summit

Miles: 9.6 
Elevation Change: 4,225
Drive Time From Downtown: 10 minutes

For those seeking a challenging all-day adventure, Baldy Peak Summit is well worth the climb. The 9.6-mile, out-and-back trail gains an impressive 4,225 feet as it follows the backbone of the Bridger Mountains, offering breathtaking views along the way. Hikers who are willing to brave the steep climb to the summit are often rewarded with sightings of mountain goats and wonderful panoramic views. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash. The trail is accessed from the start of the M Trail, 4.9 miles from downtown Bozeman.

4. Sypes Canyon Trail

Miles: 6 
Elevation Change: 1,620 Feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 13 minutes

The Sypes Canyon Trail is a fairly quick afternoon hike if you’re looking to get your heart rate up. Located on the north end of town, access to the trailhead takes you through the Springhill neighborhood to the base of the Bridger Mountains. You gain elevation fairly quickly, hitting switchbacks that will take you to the scenic overlook at about 3 miles. If you’re looking to explore further, you can continue on and hook up with a few other trails, including Truman Gulch, the College M Trail, or Middle Cottonwood. Overall the 6-mile loop offers a good afternoon hike close to Bozeman. 

5. Bear Canyon Trail

Miles: 8.1
Elevation Change: 1,463 feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 18 Minutes

Just 17 miles from downtown Bozeman, the Bear Canyon Trail covers 8.1 miles through a stream-fed canyon south of town. The out-and-back trail winds along a flowing creek and, after the turnaround, climbs to the Bear Lakes and then ties into the Chestnut Mountain Trail. Rated as moderate, this is a good choice for those seeking a hike with stops for sightseeing, lunch, and even fishing. The trail is in its best condition from March through October and accommodates dogs both on and off-leash.

6. Emerald Lake Trail

Miles: 8.9
Elevation Change: 1,850 feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 45 minutes

The impressive, fish-filled Emerald Lake attracts its fair share of mountain bikers, hikers, wildlife watchers, and backpackers to its shores via the Emerald Lake Trail in Hyalite Canyon. This 8.9-mile trail is rated as moderate and gains 1,850 feet as it climbs to its namesake mountain lake. Keep an eye out for dogs and horses — both are allowed on the trail. The trailhead is 21.7 miles from downtown Bozeman.

7. South Cottonwood Creek Trail

Miles: 4.4
Elevation Change: 524 feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 24 Minutes

A relaxed hike, the South Cottonwood Creek Trail is a 4.4-mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back just 13.1 miles from downtown. Busy on the weekends, the trail accommodates dogs on leashes and is popular with families. Hikers can enjoy several small stream crossings and a mix of terrain, including a fair amount of nearly flat terrain despite the overall 488-foot elevation gain. This is a lovely trail for hot summer evenings, as it parallels a creek and gains evening shade.

8. Lower Mount Ellis Trail

Miles: 6
Elevation Change: 2,400 Feet 
Drive Time From Downtown: 13 minutes

Located just southeast of Bozeman, this 6-mile out-and-back is a great option for viewing wildflowers in the late spring months and the Bridger Range any time of year. Despite the fact the trailhead is merely 7.4 miles from downtown, this trail is lightly trafficked and perfect for finding some solitude. Rated as moderate, it climbs 2,400 feet over 6 miles and is popular with both hikers and trail runners. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

9. History Rock

Miles: 3
Elevation Change: 698
Drive Time From Downtown: 30 minutes

The 3-mile hike to and from History Rock is a good option for all skill levels. Nestled just 17 miles south of Bozeman in Hyalite Canyon, History Rock is a quick out-and-back trail that gains a mere 698 feet, making it a quick, kid-friendly hike. Climb up to History Rock itself, a large sandstone boulder covered with engravings, and the perfect place for a quick snack, before meandering back down the hillside through forest views and rolling trail conditions.

10. Hyalite Peak

Miles: 16
Elevation Change: 3,789 Feet
Drive Time From Downtown: 40 minutes

A trip to Hyalite Peak is one of the most iconic Bozeman experiences. A true all-day affair, this 16-mile, out-and-back climbs 3,789 feet and is rated as difficult. The adventure begins at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead and follows a meandering stream and features several crossings, before entering a meadow section with an overlook to Hyalite Lake. Then the real work begins with an exposed, steep climb to the summit. The Hyalite Peak Trail is popular with hikers, trail runners, backpackers, and even horseback riders, and dogs are allowed. The scenic drive to the trailhead climbs through Hyalite Canyon and passes Hyalite Reservoir, yet the trailhead is only 25.3 miles from downtown Bozeman.

Looking for more hikes around Bozeman? Check out the rest of the Bozeman Travel Blog