M Trail

OutAndBack • 1.6 mi • 850 ft

The Montana State University “M” is located at the mouth of Bridger Canyon on the south flanks of Baldy Mountain. The “M” was created by MSU students in 1915. The 250-foot whitewashed rock “M” has two access routes. The right fork follows the ridge for a short and steep hike. The left fork switchbacks through a fir and juniper forest, making a more gradual ascent. The left fork is the beginning of the Bridger Mountains National Recreation Trail, a 21-mile ridge route following the contours of the Bridger Range to Fairy Lake. This hike to the “M” climbs up the steeper ridge route and descends through the forest via the switchbacks.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Bozeman
Length: 1.6 total miles
Elevation Gain: 850 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 1 hour
Season: Best May to October
Local Maps: U.S.G.S. Kelly Creek - U.S.F.S. Gallatin National Forest East Half
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Recent Trail Reviews


This ended up being a much more rewarding hike than we originally thought it would. We took the right hand path (there is a fork in the road at the trailhead) which went straight up to the M. (And I mean, straight up.) The actual hike thus was a lot more strenuous than I thought it would be, which was a nice surprise. And once you get to the top, the views are simply amazing. Well worth the effort! There are a few benches and some space to relax or take a picnic. The trail keeps going up from the M if you want to keep going. But this is definitely a worthwhile and fairly quick day hike.


Nice hike and a lot of fun. Beautiful views of the valley and the Spanish Peaks in the distance. It's very easier to connect to the Bridger National Forest Recreation Trail. That's definitely well worth exploring!

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