Here in Montana we don't let winter stop us from getting outside. It can be February and you will still see fisherman on the rivers and cars heading up Hyalite for hiking or ice climbing. However, sometimes you don't feel like venturing all the way to the mountains to get some fresh air and often the roads don't allow it. Lucky for us there are a number of nature trails right in town so you don't have to go far to get out and enjoy. Here are the 10 best walking trails in Bozeman to take advantage of this winter (or any season for that matter!)
Cherry River Pond
This is a great nature trail because of the big Bridger views the whole walk and it stays relatively unbusy. It is one of the few trails in Bozeman that many actually keep their dogs on a leash and while we love our four-legged friends as much as the next Bozemanite, it's nice sometimes to not be overrun by them. It's a quick walk with a 1-mile or 1.3-mile route and is flat making it accessible to all abilities. There are two ponds and access to the East Gallatin River. There are cattails throughout and ponds full of birds year round so you can enjoy their songs during your stroll. To get there head north on 7th, just past the overpass and it's on your right.
East Gallatin Recreation Area
This trail is 1.7 miles and meanders around Bozeman Beach and into a bit of open space. The Bridger views are fantastic throughout the trail and you can cross Manley Road to Cherry River if you want a longer walk. This one is fun during the winter because you can watch the ice fishers on the pond. OR if you get chilly, stop in MAP for a beer. Dogs are allowed on this trail. To get there take Griffin to Manley Road and park in the beach parking lot.
Snowfill Recreation Area
This one is for the dogs (but humans benefit as well!!) As one of Bozeman's most popular off-leash dog trails, it's always full of happy pups running around. There are two miles of trails on the park's 37-acres with benches throughout and beautiful views of both the mountains and valley below. The trail is hilly compared to other nature trails on our list, but still considered moderate. It gets icy, so make sure to bring your yak tracks. To get there, take Manley Road to McIlhattan and the parking lot is just off of the road.
Sourdough Creek Nature Trail
Not to be confused with Sourdough Canyon trail, which is also a good one in the winter but a little further out of town. This one (often referred to as the Nature Trail by natives) is one of Bozeman’s best in-town trails, accessed by either Goldenstein or Graf. Located on Bozeman’s south side, this trail follows the meandering Sourdough Creek and is surrounded by aspens and cottonwood trees. With many offshoots, loops and turns, this trail can be traveled many different ways and it never gets dull! The trail remains relatively flat no matter which way you turn making it easy to enjoy, especially during the winter months and easy for all abilities. The best way to get there is to take Goldenstein and park in the lot right off the road.
Right in the center of town, this trail is super popular with locals. The best place to start is across from the base of Peet's Hill and then follow the leisurely trail through Langhor Park and eventually to the Sourdough Creek Nature Trail if you so desire. There are a couple of trails that go off of the main one towards Bozeman Creek and then meet back up. Before Langhor Park you reach the climbing rock and if you bring the kids, they're sure to want to attempt a climb. Another fun option with this trail is to take the trail up to Mason Street and then up towards Willson and go back that way and enjoy the beautiful historic homes on Willson Avenue.
If you are looking for more than a flat trail, Peet's Hill is a good choice. Here you get awesome panoramic city views. During the winter it is a popular spot for jogging, dog walking and sledding! The trail starts as a short climb, but once you are on top of the hill it stays relatively flat. It connects to Lindley Park and the Bozeman Public Library. While this trail is quite popular, everyone stays pretty spread out so it never feels overly crowded. This is a great trail and a reason it's everyone's favorite. To get there take South Church to the parking lot.
This one can be a walk if you take the bottom section or a hike if you go on the top (or a little of both if you do the whole trail!) Definitely one of our all-time favorites any time of the year because it gives you a little bit of everything. Triple Tree Trail begins at the parking lot off Sourdough Canyon Road. The trail gradually climbs over a hill and into a wooded creek area on a beautiful tree-lined path (it’s especially beautiful with some fresh snow!) The first 1.5 miles remain relatively mild but after the creek crossing it begins to climb up to a viewpoint with great views of the valley. If you do the entire trail it is approximately 4.5 miles round trip but you can turn around at any point. The top offers fantastic views of the whole valley and a different perspective of the Bridgers.
Gallatin County 100-Acre Regional Park
Located on Bozeman's ever-growing west side, the 100-Acre Regional has a couple of different trails around the ponds and towards the surrounding neighborhoods. It's a flat trail with fantastic mountain views all around. Right next to one of the ponds is another off-leash dog park. This one is around 23-acres with ponds (including a doggy beach!) and a great trail. There are a couple options for getting to this trail. There's a parking lot off of Ferguson (best if you are going to the dog park), one off of Oak and one off of Davis, by the Dinosaur Playground.
Sourdough Canyon Trail
Okay, we know it doesn't look like this in the middle of winter, but it is still beautiful in a snowy-wonderland sort of way. Especially after a fresh snowfall, the trees on the mountainside are covered in white and the Bozeman Creek peacefully flows alongside the trail. The Bridger Ski Foundation grooms this trail in the winter time making it an easy escape into the mountains. You will share the trail with cross country and skate skiers so please be courteous and share the trail. Distance can range from .5 miles to 8 miles one way if you head all the way up to Mystic Lake. To get there take Sourdough Road to Nash and then a left onto Sourdough Canyon road to the parking lot at the end.
This is a short, but sweet trail around the pond and you can take as many laps as you want. There are benches, a covered pavilion, playground, climbing rock, beach area and an off-leash dog area all just off the trail. It's easy to get to, right next to the Gallatin Valley Mall making it a popular before or after work spot for a quick walk. The parking lot is off of Fallon.