Here and near Big Sky, MT
If you are thinking about something close to town and short, visit the trails that are maintained by Big Sky Community Organization. Out of these trails, I would start with Hummocks or Uplands. They’re on the southeast edge of town. It’s a great sunset hike with a bench on the way up so prepare some snacks and drinks. Also, bring a blanket and headlamp because you’ll want to stay past sundown.
Local Tip: Bring bear spray. Don’t pick the wild flowers. After they go to seed in the fall, those seeds fall and create more flowers the following spring.
Ousel Falls to First Yellow Mule or Second Yellow Mule is perfect for a hot, sunny day. You drop down to the river, so if you’re feeling really adventurous, bring sandals to jump in. The water’s freezing since it’s in the shade but the rock formations are totally worth it. The parking lot is very busy and is often full by mid-morning.
Local Tip: There’s a nice gravel trail that takes you all the way out and starts in town so you can park near Len Hill Park. Then lock your bike up and start the hike.
Beehive Basin is the most popular trail, so I would try to stay out of that one. Even with two parking lots, it’s full early. But if you don’t mind the tourist traffic, it’s a nice one.
If you are wanting to put some miles in, I would suggest the North Fork Trailhead. You can either walk a few miles on the two tracks before it hits the river single track or drive up past the trailhead on “Ridge Road’’ and hike the Beehive Ridge Trail #403. This will get you the Beehive Basin views without the traffic.
DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND
Dudley Trailhead is just a few miles down the Gallatin Canyon (not on the Big Sky Community Organization website). This is a really small trailhead and very vertical. It’s just over 5 miles up with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain to Dudley Lake.
There are a few water crossings that aren’t that deep, but expect to get wet if you can’t rock hop across. This trailhead is a popular one for summiting Wilson Peak. Do this one, and don’t say a word to anyone about it.