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Big Sky Hiking – Summer & Winter Adventures

“It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmond Hillary

There are so many amazing hikes around the Big Sky Montana area, far too many to list them all! To help guests who visit the area with the intent to hike a new trail or experience a new adventure we have picked some of the best hikes nearby to Big Sky and offered some important hiking reminders for those unfamiliar with our Montana terrain. Check out our handy hiking tips guide to stay safe while hiking and enjoying nature in Yellowstone country. Have questions about hiking in Big Sky or the mountain Ranges around Big Sky? Read our Big Sky Mountain Range & Nearby Peaks page and don’t hesitate to contact us for help, as locals we spend a great deal of time in the outdoors around Big Sky! Check out our Big Sky Area Guide for other great recommendations to partake in during your Big Sky adventure.

Hiking Tips

  1. Know before you go. Take the time to research the terrain and understand what you are getting yourself into. The mountains surrounding the Big Sky area are very much the “wild west.” Elevation and quick weather changes can offer new challenges to hikers unfamiliar with Montana.
  2. Download the All Trails APP. This APP is a great resource for getting details about the hiking trails around Big Sky.
  3. BRING BEAR SPRAY. Close encounters are rare, but it is wise to be prepared because Big Sky is definitely bear country!
  4. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray. Some of the worst sunburns occur on overcast days AND the horse flies are not friendly, especially near the high alpine lakes.
  5. Stay on the trail. Montana hiking is beautiful because residents and visitors respect minimal impact practices.
  6. Please pick up after yourself, you pack it in you pack it out.

 

Recommend Hikes

  • Easy Hikes

    Ousel Falls - This is a 1.5-mile round trip easy hike located just outside town center, you can actually catch the trail from town center to create a longer, mellow hike. The Yellowmule Trails branch off the main Ousel Falls trail if you would like to extend the hike into the backcountry. Be highly aware of wildlife if venturing onto the Yellowmule Trails.
    Great during all seasons | In Winter, bring yak-tracks



    Uplands Trail - This is a 2-mile loop just outside of Big Sky town center. Easy meander through the lowlands. Great for hikers and mountain bikers.
    Great during all seasons | In Winter, bring yak-tracks or snowshoes



  • Moderate Hikes

    Yellowmule Loop - This is a 16.3-mile lightly trafficked loop trail. This trail is rated moderate, you will gain 3,133ft of elevation within the hike. The starting point for this trail begins a short distance above the Ousel Falls trailhead, you will start at the Ousel Falls trailhead. This trail sees a lot of bear activity. We recommend this to our experienced mountaineers. If you don’t know what to do when you see a bear on a trail, this hike is NOT for you!
    Great during all seasons | Winter may be more of challenge



    Hummocks Trail - This is a 3-mile loop, rated moderate for difficulty. A fun rolling trail that traverses the area’s bumpy topographic features. Great for hikers and mountain bikers.
    Great during all seasons | In Winter, bring yak-tracks or snowshoes



    Upper Beehive Basin Trail - This is a 7.1-mile in and out hike, located in the Spanish Peaks mountain range. Fairly popular trail, featured in the media as a top 10 must hike trail in North America. This trail has AMAZING view points. We often run into Moose on the trail or see them hanging out by the creek. You will come to a high alpine lake, most stop at the lake. You can continue onto Beehive Peak (this will add 2-miles to the journey). Please note, the hike to the peak is not marked, please do not attempt if you are not an experienced hiker.
    Best during Summer and Fall | In Winter, you will need snowshoes



    Storm Castle Peak - This is a 4.7-mile in and out hike, located off HWY 191. This trail is rated moderate. Amazing rock formations at the peak, and breathtaking photo opportunities. This area can be very hot in the Summer months, there is no water running. Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated as you gain 2,000 ft elevation quickly.
    Best in late Spring through early Fall | In Winter, the access road is closed



    Lava Lake - This is a 5.5-mile heavily trafficked trail. We recommend starting early to avoid a crowded trail. This trail is rated moderate as you will gain some elevation.
    Best in Summer and Fall | In Winter, bring yak-tracks



  • Difficult Hikes

    Garnet Mountain Trail - This is a 7.7-mile in and out hike, located off HWY 191. This trail is rated difficult, you will gain 2,814ft of elevation within the hike. Climb to the top and reach the fire lookout which peers over the Gallatin River. This trailhead is directly across from the Storm Castle Peak trailhead. This is a great alternative to the Storm Castle Peak trail if you are looking for more of a challenge.
    Best in late Spring through early Fall | In Winter, the access road is closed



    Table Mountain from Lava Lake - This is a 16.3-miles in and out hike, this is a difficult trail. You will gain 5,193ft of elevation through the hike. This trail is primarily used for hiking. The views and the serenity are not lacking while hiking this gorgeous and challenging terrain. This trail sees a lot of bear activity. We recommend this only to our experienced mountaineers. If you don’t know what to do when you see a bear on a trail, this hike is NOT for you!
    Best late Spring through early Fall | Avoid in the Winter



    Ramshorn Lake - This is a 5.9-mile in and out hike, located off HWY 191 south of Big Sky. This is an intermediate/difficult trail with a lot of bear activity. We recommend this to our experienced mountaineers. If you don’t know what to do when you see a bear on a trail, this hike is NOT for you!
    Best late Spring through early Fall | Avoid in the Winter



Reserve Your Big Sky Hiking Home Base

When looking to reach new heights hiking in the Big Sky area, look no further than Wilson Peak Properties to serve as your perfect home base. We have a variety of beautiful Big Sky vacation rentals that will suit anyone’s needs and we have great local knowledge to help you map out your hiking adventure or vacation plans.

Search our Big Sky rentals in Meadow Village, Big Sky Town Center, and Mountain Village, for easy access to the mountains. Get ready for your mountain vacation by exploring our Big Sky Area Guide!

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