When spring is springing and the snow finally melts off the trails, it’s time to get out there and hit it. The best part is, you don’t have to go far. With these perfect spring hikes right here in the BZN, you can take advantage of early spring weather quickly, just in case sunshine turns into a snow flurry. When you never know what the weather will do, it pays to have so many great hiking options this close to downtown.
Basically in Town: Drinking Horse Mountain
Just about as close as you can get to town while still hitting the mountains, the Bridgers are a perfect spring stop. Right across from Bozeman’s famous M trail, Drinking Horse Mountain gives you a moderate summit with big view payoffs, perfect for the Insta. The two-mile loop takes you over the river and through the woods, with a vista all around as you go. See out over Bozeman and down into Bridger Canyon.
Parking right off the main road means you don’t have to weather your way down miles of rough dirt roads to get to the trailhead. If you’re going to do one hike in the BZN, this is the one to get a little bite of views with mountain time close to the action. In only 700 vertical feet, you’re flying high to views on all sides.
A Few Streets Away: Sourdough Canyon
Check out the source of 40% of Bozeman’s delish drinking water with a hike up Bozeman Creek at Sourdough Canyon. The trail is a gravel path, so once the snow melts, it’ll dry out a little faster than full dirt trails. The wide trail gives plenty of room for passing other hikers or bringing along mountain bikes and strollers.
Get that uphill bun burner while you head up the moderate trail, and enjoy the forested feel as the trail climbs up above the riverbank to give you tight views across the canyon. You can trek as far as you feel invigorated to go, with the trail taking you all the way to Mystic Lake in an epic 19-mile out and back, or you can cruise up a few miles and enjoy stretching your legs before you head back down.
A Short Hike to Your Hike: Lava Lake
Take a hike out of Bozeman, and head out of town toward Big Sky. Inside the Gallatin Canyon, you’ll see the start of the popular Lava Lake trail. It’s fun in any season, but spring brings a new vigor to the moderate 5.5 mile round trip. Spring can be a little slippery, so take care on the trail, but hikers of all abilities love this route year round.
The trail follows Cascade Creek up to alpine Lava Lake, ideal to dip your toes in on a warm spring day. Only the boldest hikers dare to take a full plunge in the chill water on a hot summer afternoon. Instead, finish off the hike with a soak at Bozeman Hot Springs on your way back to Bozeman, and you’re good to chillax all night long.
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