Hyalite Canyon provides a scenic backdrop to over 30 km of groomed cross-country ski trails, plus endless un-groomed terrain to explore. This network of ski trails are on old logging roads, summer hiking trails and connector trails built for Nordic skiers. The majority of the ski trails are marked with blue diamonds. Detailed trail maps are posted on the parking area bulletin boards. The Bridger Ski Foundation has donated thousands of dollars and volunteer hours to building and maintaining these trails.
Cross Country Skiing Resources:
Hyalite Canyon is a top ice climbing destination in the Rocky Mountains with over 150 routes with varying difficulties. Routes range from the moderate ice climbs such as the historic Mummy Cooler I & II (WI 2 & WI 3+) (first climbed in 1971 by Pat Callis) to some of the hardest climbs in the U.S. such as the canyon’s test piece, Winter Dance WI 7, 5.9, A1 135m (first climbed by the late great Alex Lowe and Jim Earl). There is easy access to the Main Drainage at the Grotto Falls Trailhead because the road is now plowed from December 1–March 31.
Ice Climbing Resources:
There are infinite possibilities for exploring this area of the Gallatin National Forest on snowshoes. You can follow the marked trail system or simply explore the wintery backcountry off trail. When following the marked cross country ski trails, please be aware of trail etiquette and avoid walking on the ski tracks set by the groomer or by other skiers.
Because the road is now currently plowed during the winter, Hyalite Canyon provides quick easy access to some of Southwest Montana’s best backcountry skiing. There are parking areas at History Rock, Blackmore Trailhead, Emerald Lake Road Cut-off and The Grotto Falls Trailhead. You can find steep ski-mountaineering to long low-angle ski tours. Please be aware of current avalanche conditions before you plan your trip.
Backcountry Skiing Resources:
The Hyalite Reservoir provides an excellent location for ice fishing through the winter months. You may find a variety of fish species including brook trout, yellow cutthroat, and arctic grayling. The Montana State Fishing Regulations can be found by contacting Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 3 in Bozeman (406) 994-4042. Since the reservoir provides a large source of the drinking water for the Gallatin Valley please be aware that motorized vehicle use is prohibited on the reservoir. This includes vehicles, snowmobiles, ATV’s, motorcycles, etc. Power augers are allowed for drilling holes.
Hyalite canyon provides public access to some of Gallatin National Forest’s perfect Christmas trees. Permits are only $5 per tree and limited to three permits per household. Please be aware that trees should not be cut in campgrounds, trailheads, wilderness areas, and planted areas. For questions concerning these regulations, please contact the Gallatin National Forest.
Christmas tree permits are sold during November and December at the following locations:
Permit season for firewood cutting runs from April 1–March 31. The price is $6.25/cord with a 4-cord minimum and 12-cord maximum. You can gather dead down trees and logs as well as standing dead trees unless the trees are flagged as reserved from cutting. There is also a 6 foot maximum length. Please contact the Gallatin National Forest for questions regarding regulations.
Firewood cutting permits are sold at the following locations:
Snowmobiling opportunities can be found at the Moser trailhead in the northeast corner of the canyon. Please be aware that parking is provided only at the Moser trailhead and the first 2 miles of the trail are shared with non-motorized users. You can find a map of the Gallatin National Forest Over-Snow Vehicle use at any Gallatin National Forest District office. Be aware that south of Moser road junction and on the reservoir snowmobiling is prohibited.