Day Hikes around Bozeman, Montana
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
© Robert Stone/Day Hike Books. All Rights Reserved.
We headed up this trail hoping for a decent view of Bozeman, and we weren't disappointed. The trail starts off in one of two directions; both traverse a muddy area on old wooden planks that are none too sturdy, so be careful where you step. The trails converge at a bridge that is at an improbably slant, but unlike the planks on the trail, the bridge seems solid. From this point, the trail switchbacks sharply up the hill and splits again at the top. All of the intersections are well-signed, so don't worry about staying on the right track. I took the left path here, which winds through a gorgeous and rare broad-leafed canopy before reaching another intersection. Turn right here to stay on Loop 1, or go straight on Loop 2. The trail is all uphill until past the next intersection. At this intersection you can either turn right on Loop 1 or go straight up Loop 3. I went up Loop 3, which has some nice views through the trees of the town and the Bridger Mtns, then levels off and winds through a nice forest before reaching a scenic viewpoint of the Madison Range, complete with panoramic sign identifying what you are seeing. As it is facing west, the sunset is likely to be stunning from this point. From here, head back downhill, staying to the left at the intersections to head back to the parking lot. You'll appreciate the switchbacks and the fencing along the steep final stretch of the trail before the bridge. Take a different route back through the muddy area to see the difference in the planking used here. I'd really like to know the story behind it. I haven't done Loop 2 yet, as we had to race the sun down the hill, but I imagine it would have some nice views as well.
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