Are you planning to go hiking in Montana? If yes, then you should check out this list of the best places to hike in Montana.
With so many things to do in Montana, Missoula is a popular destination in Midwest that is known for its beautiful lakes, majestic mountains, and curving rivers.
From water rafting to visiting cute historic towns, there is no shortage of things to do in Montana, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.
Also known as Big Sky Country, Montana is a great place for nature lovers and offers lots of amazing trails and national parks for visitors to explore.
Plus, 3% of Yellowstone National Park lies in the state so it makes for a great place to sight wildlife and go on amazing hiking adventures.
There are lots of beautiful hiking trails in Montana to explore such as Glacier National Park, Bitterroot National Forest, Flathead Nation Forest, and more.
15 Scenic Trails for Hiking in Montana
Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, For Epic Hiking In Montana
Glacier National Park is one of the best places to hike in Montana with over 700 miles of fun and exciting trails in Montana to explore.
From amazing mountain passes to hidden lakes, to glacial valleys, you can enjoy different sceneries at this national park in Montana. One such amazing trail for hiking in Montana is the Highline Trail.
It is a slightly tough out-and-back hike that begins from the top of the Logan Pass. You can choose to complete the hike or do the hike one way.
If you choose hiking one-way, then you would need to sort out your transportation for the same. On this trail, you will start the hike from 6,500 ft and end it at 4,000 ft with the highest point being at 7,200 ft.
For the most part of the trail, you will be hiking on a ridge with a few wildflower meadows and amazing views.
Enjoy lunch at the Granite Peak Chalet and keep a lookout for the bighorn sheep and mountain goats that can be prominently found here.
Since this is an exposed hike, make sure to carry lots of water and sun protection to avoid getting dehydrated while hiking.
Overall, if you are looking for a scenic hiking trail in Montana, then Highline Trail in Glacier National Park is one of the trails to consider.
Palisade Falls Hike
Are you looking for fun hikes near Bozeman? If yes, then you cannot miss out on the amazing Palisade Falls which is located 10 minutes away from Bozeman.
This is one of the most popular Bozeman hikes that also happens to be easy and can be attempted by hikers of all ages. This is one of the best things to do in Bozeman.
Located in Hyalite Recreation Area, the entire hike is over a mile long.
The cascading waterfall is 4446 feet tall and is particularly beautiful to witness in the springtime when the rainfall and melting snow increase the water volume.
You can pack lunch and have it at the picnic tables found at the trailhead.
Since the trail can become a little crowded, it is best to start early in the morning. Also, guess what?
This is a dog-friendly hiking trail as long as you leash your dog properly and don’t disturb other hikers on the trail.
So, if you are looking for a trail in Montana to explore with your family, especially near Bozeman, then do check out Palisade Falls hike.
Rattlesnake National Recreational Area
Are you looking for the best Montana hiking trails to explore? If yes, then you should definitely visit Rattlesnake National Recreational Area near Missoula.
One of the best Missoula hikes, Rattlesnake features an amazing network of trails.
You can drive six miles from downtown and reach the Rattlesnake Main Trailhead.
From here, you have lots of trail options to explore including the trail to the famous Stuart Peak which is located at 7,980 feet.
This is a 9-hour-long trail that takes you through an elevation of 4,500 feet.
Apart from hiking, this area is also great for other recreational activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.
The best part is you can bring your dogs also on this trail and don’t have to keep them on a leash for the hike.
Trust me, this is one of the best Missoula hikes that you cannot miss out on.
There are so many things to do in Missoula, so if you have time check the city out.
Holland Falls National Recreational Trail
One of the best hikes in Montana, Holland Falls National Recreational Trail is perfect for families and friends.
This easy hiking trail begins from Holland Lake in the Seeley-Swan Valley and offers stunning views of the Swan and Mission Mountains.
You can reach Holland Falls by completing the 1.6-mile trail that gradually ascends 750 feet to reach the destination.
From the 50-foot waterfall, you can admire Holland Lake with Swan Mountains in the backdrop. Trust me, the sight looks breathtaking and gives you a good view of the waterfall too.
After the hike, you can spend some time at the lake, dipping your feet in the cool water or enjoying a swim in it.
So, if you are looking for an easy trail to go hiking in Montana, then do check out Holland Falls National Recreational Trail!
Black Canyon Lake Trail, Beartooth Mountains
Located within the Beartooth Mountain range, Black Canyon Lake is one of the best Montana hiking trails to explore.
This tough 14-mile-long trail is perfect for experienced hikers who are prepared for the challenges of completing this hike.
However, it is all worth it because of the amazing views that you will see on the way.
The first part of the hike begins at the end of Lake Fork Road and is relatively easy, especially if you are an experienced hiker.
On the way, you will find a side trail going to Lost Lake that is worth the detour. Once you reach the midway, the trail becomes tougher and is advised to be avoided during the winter months.
Of course, once you complete the hike, you reach the gorgeous Black Canyon Lake that sits at the base of the amazing Beartooth Mountain.
Overall, this is one of the best hikes in the Midwest but, beware of the bears and always follow safety tips when hiking here.
Bitterroot National Forest
Another one of the best places to hike in Montana, Bitterroot National Forest offers lots of amazing hiking trails to adventurers.
And it offers some of the best camping in Montana as well!
One such amazing hike to consider is the Trapper Peak hike which will make you climb around 4,000 feet in over 4 miles.
This hiking trail is gradually steep and well-marked and includes a short scramble leading to the top of the peak.
Apart from hiking, this forest is also quite popular for horse riding, mountain climbing, wildlife photography, and more.
There are several other fun trails to explore here such as St. Mary Peak Trail, Blodgett Canyon Overlook Trail, Bass Creek Trail, and more.
If you are looking for adventurous trails in Montana for hiking, then do check out Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.
Cracker Lake Trail, Glacier National Park
Located in Glacier National Park, Cracker Lake Montana is another great hike that you must do in the state.
This out-and-back hiking trail takes you to one of the most gorgeous turquoise-colored glacial lakes in Montana.
One of the best Montana hikes, Cracker Lake is an offbeat lake which is why it is less crowded than Iceberg Lake.
The 12.2-mile roundtrip hike to Cracker Lake can be easily completed in a day.
On this hiking trail, you will cover different landscapes including wooded forests, mountains, lakes, creek crossings, mining ruins, wildflowers, and more.
Throughout the hike, you gain an elevation of 1,400 feet only which is not too tiring. Furthermore, the amazing views and the sight of this glacial lake make the hike completely worth it.
The hike begins from the end of the Many Glacier Hotel parking lot and is mostly easy.
One thing to remember when hiking in Montana is that you can encounter wildlife like wolves, bears, etc. so, always be prepared.
Beehive Basin Trail, Big Sky, For Epic Views, While Hiking In Montana
Are you looking for the best Big Sky hiking trails to explore? If the answer is yes, then you should check out the Beehive Basin Trail in Montana.
Located near Big Sky resort, the hike to the Beehive Basin U-shaped glacier cirque is one of the best trails for hiking in Montana.
Hikers can begin from the Beehive Basin Trailhead and reach the Beehive Basin in three miles with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet.
The entire trail is clearly marked and hikers can enjoy the view of the Lone Peak along with alpine meadows and wildlife on the hike.
If you wish to go hiking in Big Sky Montana, then don’t forget this 6.6-mile out-and-back trail in Montana.
Morrell Falls Hike
Are you looking for fun things to do in Montana? If so, then you cannot miss out on one of the best Montana hikes to Morrell Falls.
This is a quick and gorgeous waterfall hike in Western Montana where you can enjoy great views and a nice picnic with family or friends.
You can reach Morrell Falls Trailhead which is located around 8 miles from the town of Seeley Lake. Park your car at the parking lot and begin the hike to the falls.
This is one of the easiest trails for hiking in Montana which includes walking through light woods followed by a small incline up a hill.
After that, it is more walking through a dense forest before you reach the gorgeous Morrell Lake.
If you are doing a multi-day hike, you can choose to camp beside the lake. However, be ready for Grizzly bears and carry bear spray for self-defense.
For those not camping at the lake, you can chill at the falls, take a dip, eat lunch, and then head back to the trailhead.
This is undoubtedly one of the easiest hikes with stunning views to enjoy!
Ross Creek Natural Trail, Kootenai National Forest
If you are looking for the best hikes in Montana, then Ross Creek Natural Trail in Kootenai National Forest is a good choice.
Located in northwest Montana, close to the Idaho border, the Ross Creek Cedars Area features trees that have been growing for over 500 years.
The best way to explore this area is by taking a self-guided hike through the Ross Creek natural trail.
It is a less-than-a-mile loop trail on which you will see several giant western cedars.
Since there is no elevation gain or strenuous hiking on this trail, it is quite popular among large families, especially during the summer season.
So, if you are looking for a good Montana hiking trail to enjoy with your family, then Ross Creek Natural Trail is perfect!
Mount Aeneas Summit Trail, Flathead National Forest
Do you wish to see the best views in Montana?
If yes, then you should hike the Mount Aeneas Summit Trail in Flathead National Forest.
The hiking trail begins from Camp Misery Trailhead and is between four to six miles, depending on the path you choose.
This looped trail leads you to Mount Aeneas, the tallest peak in the Jewel Basin area, and involves an elevation gain of 1,800 feet.
It is one of the most accessible summits but the hike is hard and should not be attempted by hikers who are used to easy or moderate trails only.
However, if you are able to overcome the steep sections, you will reach the summit. From here, you can admire the gorgeous views of Glacier National Park and Flathead Valley.
Ice Caves Trail Offers Unique Hiking In Montana
One of the most unique Montana trails for hiking that you must explore is the Ice Caves Trail near Lewistown.
This Montana hiking trail begins from the Crystal Lake Campground and covers an elevation gain of 2,200 feet.
It is a moderately difficult 5-mile trail that leads to the year-round ice caves found at the top of the Snowy Crest.
Although it is not an easy hike, the views from the top are spectacular and make the effort worth it.
From the top, you can see several mountain ranges such as Little Belts, Crazies, Highwoods, and more.
For those who are looking for a challenging yet rewarding trail for hiking in Montana, Ice Caves Trail is definitely a top choice.
Grinnell Glacier Trail, Glacier National Park
Another one of the best trails for hiking in Montana, Grinnell Glacier Trail is a tough yet gorgeous hike that you cannot miss.
This 11-mile-long hike takes you through some of the most gorgeous lakes, meadows, cliffs, etc. including the famous Grinnell Glacier Overlook.
The trail begins from the Swiftcurrent Lakeshore and you start gaining elevation almost immediately.
Although the hike is hard, the views from the top of the glacier and blue lake make it worth it.
Plus, you can encounter some local wildlife here including elk, bighorn sheep, and more. There are high chances of seeing a bear as well so be careful while hiking here.
Apart from the Grinnell Glacier, you will also cross the Salamander Glacier and Gem Glacier on this trek.
So, if you are looking for fun things to do in Montana, then do hike the Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park.
College ‘M’ Trail
One of the most popular Bozeman hikes, the College ‘M’ trail is a perfect hiking trail for all ages.
This 2.4-mile loop hiking trail splits into several different paths but reaches the 250-foot white rock ‘M’ on Mount Baldy. The mark was created in 1915 by the students of Montana State University as a monument to the school.
One of the best things about this trail is that it is one of the closest hikes near Bozeman, at a distance of 4 miles.
There are three trails for visitors to choose from. If you want a short yet steep hike, then choose the right fork. For those who want a good workout, this is the best choice.
If you are looking for a gradual ascent with lots of shade, then choose the left fork that takes you through the juniper forest.
Throughout the day, you will find locals enjoying a quick trip to this trail to enjoy the views of the Gallatin Valley including the Tobacco Root Mountains and Spanish Peaks.
The trail dries out in the spring season and you will observe lots of wildflowers here.
Trust me, if you are looking for a fun hiking trail near Bozeman, then do check out the College ‘M’ Trail!
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Bozeman MT!
The Beaten Path, Beartooth Mountains
If you are searching for the best views in Montana, then the East Rosebud Trail a.k.a., the Beaten Path trek is a great choice.
This is one of the top Montana trails that goes through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and spans over 26 miles.
It is a beautiful alpine trek that starts from East Rosebud Lake and ends at the Clarks Fork Trailhead on the Beartooth Highway.
On the trail, you can views of beautiful alpine lakes, majestic peaks, and lots of wilderness.
Experienced hikers can complete this hike in a day or you can take a more relaxed approach and complete it in 3-4 days time.
Overall, for views and adventure, The Beaten Path in the Beartooth Mountains is one of the best trails for hiking in Montana.
There are so many things to do in Helena MT other than hiking!
Packing List When Hiking In Montana
If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to Montana, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when hiking in Montana.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone as I have. And wow is it fast!
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking photos.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.
You can also order replacement carbon filters for your Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.
Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.