- Just about 15 miles south of Bozeman is the beautiful Hyalite Canyon, a portion of the Gallatin National Forest and Greater Yellowstone Eco-system. Recreational opportunities abound in the canyon, and locals treat the area like a much-loved city park. Surrounded by 10,000 foot peaks, Hyalite Canyon is 34,000 acres of coniferous forest. At the top of the paved road access is Hyalite Dam and Reservoir which provides drinking water for the city of Bozeman, as well as opportunities for fishing and non-motorized boating. Hyalite Creek is known for its brook trout, yellow cut throat, and arctic graylings. While some locals will fish with bait, the vast majority prefer to fly-fish.
There are three developed campgrounds, and a seemingly endless system of trails for overnight backpacking, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. While there are several hikes that are classified as "easy", the most popular hike is to Grotto Falls and Hyalite Peak. The trail head is easy to find at the very end of the road, and you can take a 2.5 mile hike to a waterfall. Take the trail in the winter months (by skis, or snowshoes); the creek and falls freeze over creating a stunning winter landscape. If you continue past Grotto Falls for several miles, you will pass 10 more waterfalls and eventually reach the top of Hyalite Peak. Be prepared for a snowy trail until through the middle of July. The 10,299 foot summit affords sweeping views of the entire canyon.
The trail to Palisade Falls is also very popular. Hikers enjoy watching a creek crash over the edge of a tall cliff to the trail below. As it is paved and short, the trail is marked as easy, but the trail is fairly steep. A great trail for mountain-biking is the History Rock Loop. The trail winds mostly through a mountain meadow, has a great view, and passes a rock where early pioneers inscribed their names. More adventurous hikers will head to Emerald and Heather Lakes, and Blackmore Peak.
Depending on the time of year, there are also opportunities for ice fishing, ice climbing, hunting, mountain biking, geo-caching, and canoeing. Many locals will go up the canyon just for a picnic, a bonfire, watch birds and wildlife, and take photographs. A good place for more detailed information is the Bozeman Ranger Station.
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