Working to keep Hyalite Canyon enjoyable for all

Friends of Hyalite is a 501(c)3, grassroots, charitable organization that draws on a broad base of community engagement to promote volunteerism and support for recreational opportunities and conservation of the outstanding, year-round, recreational opportunities found in Hyalite Canyon on the Gallatin National Forest near Bozeman, MT.

Welcome to Friends of Hyalite

April 1 Road Closure Notice

For Immediate Release Contact: Mariah Leuschen, 406-548-1174

Date: March 28, 2014 Marna Daley, 406-587-6703

Hyalite Road Closure Offers
Non-Motorized Recreation Opportunities; Seasonal Trail Changes In Effect

Bozeman, MT – Starting April 1 and continuing through May 15 the Bozeman Ranger District will close the lower portion of Hyalite Road at the mouth of the canyon to motorized use. Each year, spring break-up during this time period causes the road sub-grade to thaw and become saturated with snowmelt. Hyalite Road has an overwhelming amount of traffic and the asphalt road is unable to support the repeated motorized use during the spring thaw which causes additional surface cracking and potholes. This transition time period provides a great opportunity for non-motorized recreationists to use this very popular corridor on the Custer Gallatin National Forests.

“The Hyalite Corridor is one of the most popular winter recreation destinations and we estimate over 10,000 visitors a month enjoy the area for ice climbing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross country skiing activities,” said Lisa Stoeffler, Bozeman District Ranger. “With the start of spring, many recreationists are able to bike, hike and run the Hyalite Corridor enjoying the canyon from a different perspective. Each winter a continued partnership with Gallatin County, the Friends of Hyalite and the Forest Service keeps the road plowed. “This season, Gallatin County and Friends of Hyalite did an excellent job working to keep Hyalite accessible despite the significant amount of snowfall,” Stoeffler continued.

As the spring thaw is underway, bears are starting to emerge from their dens and recreationists are reminded to carry bear spray and to have it readily accessible when traveling into the Hyalite Corridor and across the Custer Gallatin National Forests. Spring break-up can also cause loose rocks and debris to fall onto the road. Administrative vehicle traffic may be present with crews maintaining the road and dam.

Starting April 1 – June 15, seasonal trail changes will also take effect on the Buffalo Horn Trail #1, Porcupine Creek Trail #34, and Teepee Creek Trail #39, all in the Gallatin Canyon south of Big Sky; these trails will be closed to pack and saddle livestock and mountain bikes. During this time of year these trails can be very soft and muddy, and use can significantly increase damage and rutting to the trail and soil. Many other roads and trails on the Forest are also wet and muddy this time of year. Please use caution and common sense when planning your trip.

For information about road and trail conditions, please contact the Bozeman Ranger District at 3710 Fallon Street or by phone at 406-522-2520. For more information on the Gallatin National Forest, visit us on the web at

Upper Hyalite Road Closing Temporarily Due to Seasonal Conditions

March 20, 2014 Press Release from the Gallatin National Forest:

Bozeman, MT – The Bozeman Ranger District will be closing Hyalite Road to motorized use beginning at the Hyalite Dam on Friday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m. Hyalite Road accesses the popular Hyalite Canyon south of Bozeman, Montana. Skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized users can still park at the Blackmore Day Use area and use the road beyond the gate. The closure is needed because of the significant amount of snowfall the area recently received, the piece of equipment Gallatin County would use to plow this portion of the road is unavailable, and the money budgeted for plowing has been spent.

Hyalite Road from the mouth of Hyalite Canyon to the Blackmore Day Use site at the reservoir is open. If the area receives additional snowfall making it difficult to drive this portion of the road the Forest Service will consider closing this section as well. Gallatin County was able to plow the road on Wednesday, March 19th.

Each year Hyalite Road closes to motorized use at the mouth of the canyon during spring break-up on April 1 – May 15th. As spring comes and the days get warmer this is a great opportunity for bikers and hikers to experience the area in a different way.

Hyalite Road is plowed each winter as part of a partnership between the Gallatin National Forest, Gallatin County and Friends of Hyalite. Hyalite Canyon is one of the most popular national forest recreation destinations in Montana, receiving over 20,000 winter recreationists monthly.

“Plowing Hyalite Road is a great asset for this community. It provides access to fantastic winter recreation areas and provides families an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful landscape during the winter months,” said Lisa Stoeffler, Bozeman District Ranger. “The agreement to plow the road so we could leave it open during the winter months was made with this community, Gallatin County, and Friends of Hyalite. However, this winter we find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to plow the upper section and need to close it to address public safety concerns.”

“Friends of Hyalite wholeheartedly supports the closure of Hyalite Roads above Hyalite Reservoir,” said Joe Josephson, Friends of Hyalite Executive Director. “The county crews have done a tremendous job over the winter so we can all enjoy Bozeman’s favorite backyard. This year, the recent storm cycles have really made for tough driving beyond the dam and no one really wants to see the old “Hyalite Rodeo” days again.”

Josephson continued saying the unique collaboration of keeping this Forest Service road open for our benefit by using county crews requires continued financial help from the community to pay for plowing costs. “This year we simply ran out of money. Donations to Friends of Hyalite directly pays for plowing and can help avoid this situation in the future. Please visit us at to find out more and make a donation.”

For additional information please contact the Bozeman Ranger District at (406) 522-2520 or visit us online at .

- FS –

Join a guided snowshoe hike in Hyalite

Beginning this January, the Montana Wilderness Association is offering 55 guided snowshoe walks across some of the state’s most magnificent backcountry… including 4 hikes in Hyalite and three wildlife tracking seminars.

  • Sat., Jan. 11:  Hyalite Logging Trail — There will be grand views of adjacent snow covered mountains in all directions and a view of Hyalite Creek Valley all the way back to Hyalite Peak from this 4-mile route.
  • Sun., Feb 16:  Hyalite Creek Trail — 11 miles along the waterfall-rich trail to Hyalite Lake
  • Sat., Feb 22:  Window Rock Ridge — The trip begins at the Window Rock cabin (about 6,800 feet elevation) and goes directly west to the top of the ridge (about 8,200 feet elevation) for great views.  This is a 6-mile, moderately strenuous trip for experienced snowshoers with some stamina.
  • Sat., Mar 15:  Palisade Falls & Maxey Cabin Loop — This gentle loop hike will take us to the base of Palisade Falls, with its frozen stream cascading over columnar basalt. From there we’ll follow the route of a ski trail through the woods to the large meadow surrounding Maxey Cabin, which offers views up towards Mount Blackmore and Elephant Mountain.

The Winter Wildlife Tracking seminars are offered January 25, February 8 and March 1, with an evening snow tracking and track identification workshop on the preceding Thursdays.

Winter Wilderness Walks are a great way to meet new people, explore and view wildlife in a winter setting.

All outings are free and open to the public, but participants need to preregister for walks. MWA will provide snowshoes for participants if necessary.

17th Annual Bozeman Ice Festival®

The Arc’teryx Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival, held December 11-15, 2013 was the biggest and best yet in our 17 year history. Featuring the inaugural UIAA North American Ice Climbing Championships at the Emerson Cultural Center, more than three dozen athletes from eight countries competed for $6,800 in prize money.

Hyalite Canyon, home to the longest season of accessible ice in America, is home to over 250 ice and mixed climbs and since the road began getting plowed in 2008, it has become a international destination, drawing hundreds of climbers to Bozeman from around the world from Halloween to the end of March. Over 80% of the participants in the 2013 festival came from out of state with volunteers from as far as Ontario, Canada.

Find more photos at our Facebook Page.

Ice Fest 2013 poster

Dozens of climbers, volunteers and sponsors contributed in many ways to celebrate Bozeman, Hyalite Canyon and help host the biggest and best ice climbing festival in the country. Together, we raised over $9,000 for the 501(c)3 Friends of Hyalite road plowing fund to help keep Hyalite Canyon open in winter and enjoyable for all.

Please thank these local companies and groups who make it all happen:
Lhoss Construction, Mystery Ranch, Voke Tab, Emerson Cultural Center, Bozeman School District #7, Gallatin National Forest, Gallatin County Search & Rescue, Gallatin Avalanche Center, Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Bozeman Association, Polar Bears International, First West Insurance, DJAJ Audiovisual Solutions,Simkins-Hallin, T&D Masonry Inc., Alaskan Brewing, Seacat Creative, The Spokane Mountaineers Ben Herndon Photography, Jason Thompson Photography, Oracle Film Group, Outside Bozeman, Max Lowe Media, The Mazamas, Promotions West, Northern Lights Trading Co, REI, The Emerson Grill, Roost, Sola Cafe, Plonk, DJ Trey, Western Heritage Inn, Lewis & Clark Motel, Bozeman Brick, F11 Photo, Wicked Cool Ice, Montana Party Rental, Titan Rentals, Rocky Mountain Security Service, The Ice House, Montana Ale Works, Bozeman Running Company, Crossing Latitudes, Inc., Insty Prints, Hyalite Equipment, Spire Climbing, Bozeman Center for Healing Arts, Personalize It, Khumbu Climbing Center, First Security Bank, Copper Whisky Bar, McDermott Financial, The Zebra, The Bear Canyon Singers, Bozeman Mayor Sean Becker, County Commissioner Steve White.

A special shout out to these folks who helped with the festival and are a big part of the fabric that makes Bozeman such a special community:
Pat Callis, Conrad Anker, Pamela Hainsworth, Rich Searle, Rick Alexander, Liz Layne, Hannah Arm, Marko Pujic, Dana Weller, Stephen Halvorson, Alan Oram, Hilary Eisen, Emily Reinsel, Dylan Taylor, Greg Caracciolo, Peter Caracciolo, Bud Martin, Daniel Burson, Scott Adamson, Adam Knoff, Rick Emerson, Brian Martin, Francine Spang Willis, Joshua Garrigues, Doug Chabot, Jeff Ho, Dustin Fric, Willem Ossorio, Becca Skinner, Casey Williams, Blaine Hebner, Lindsey Klouser, Rachel Johnston, Alex Lussier, Rusty Willis, Echo Oak, Lauren Flynn, Laura Jones, Gabrielle Antonioli, Cloe Erickson, Felicia Ennis, Amber Jean, Sam Hennessey, and many others.

Save the date!  The 2014 Bozeman Ice Fest will be December 10-14 , 2014.   Competitor & clinic registration begins October 1. To volunteer at, support or sponsor the 18th Annual Bozeman Ice Festival, December 10-14, 2014, please contact Joe Josephson at

Additional Media:
Rock and Ice and Gripped, The Climbing Magazine, posted the results of the U.I.A.A. North American Championships.

Attend virtually by viewing Rafal Andronowski’s photo collection of BIF 2013.

Watch Joe Josephson’s short film on the birth of waterfall rock climbing in Hyalite, starring Pat Callis, Yvon Chouinard, and Pat Wolfe. Check out the gear they used to use!


New Year’s Day: Tour de Hyalite

Hyalite Tour 2014Skiers, celebrate New Year’s Day in the winter wonderland that is Hyalite by joining us for the Annual Bridger Ski Foundation Hyalite Tour!

Meet at 10:00  a.m. at the reservoir day use area, join groups skiing on the trails that the USFS grooms for us, then circle back to the pavilion for a free lunch of soup, bread and hot drinks at 12:30.  (Feel free to bring something to share.)  TOKO will be offering free kick waxing, too.

Friends of Hyalite will be there roasting brats and answering any questions you might have about the road plowing.

Happy New Year!

How can you keep Fido out of traps?

If you’re concerned that your off-leash dog might get caught in a trap in Hyalite, and you missed the two FWP trap-release clinics this fall, here’s another option.  Dog trainer Linda Holenstein and Dr. Jane Mittelsteadt of 360 Medical are giving an informative lecture Nov. 13 from 6pm to 8pm at the Bozeman Public Library on trap and injury prevention training.  You’ll learn training techniques to avoid a trap or, if trapped with certain types of traps, yield to the pressure of the trap to hopefully prevent death or injury.  Free.  No, don’t bring your dog!

Sound Off about XC Ski Trails

Bridger Ski Foundation is asking for feedback about existing and future community ski trails. Please give them your input!

FYI, in Hyalite, the Forest Service grooms the trails, but BSF has been instrumental in designing and building XC ski trails in the Canyon.  BSF grooms the Sourdough, Lindley and Bridger Golf Course trails and maintains the online grooming report for all the trails.

As Bozeman’s population grows, we need to think about the capacity of the land to handle the volumes of future users.

Here’s the link to the BSF survey.

BSF banner

Learn to Ice Climb…or Improve Your Skills

Registration is now open for the skills clinics offered as part of the Bozeman Ice Festival.  Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced ice climber, there is something for you.  There is even a women-only class and an in-town short clinic for those who only want to put a toe in.

This is the 17th year of the Arc’teryx Bozeman Ice Festival, which will be held December 11-15, 2013.  Hyalite Canyon graces us with some of the best early-season ice in the country, not to mention over 150 routes.

Tour de Hyalite 9/28/13

Tour de HyaliteHow can you run a 14 mile race in under 5 minutes?  When it’s the Tour de Hyalite, where you get to climb Practice Rock afterwards to shave minutes off your race time.   Curious?  Read about it in Outside Bozeman.

Preregistration ends at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept 27, so hustle down to Spire Climbing Center to get signed up and save $5.

If you’re a runner but not a climber, invite a climbing friend to team up with you.

The race starts Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 9 a.m. at the Grotto Falls parking lot.   The day ends with a celebratory pitcher of beer at Columbo’s.   Have fun!

Restrictions lifted!

The East Fork Hyalite Road is open (it had been closed due to the Horsetail Fire) and the Stage 1 fire restrictions have been lifted, which means campfires are allowed again.   With the snow coming down today, you may need that campfire to keep warm!

Sorry about the delay in reporting these changes.   The restrictions were lifted more than a week ago.