Waterfalls HIkes Near Bozeman, MT Is A Must!

From passionate adventurers to professional photographers, there's much to do and discover in the great outdoors around Bozeman. One of the greatest area highlights are the stunning waterfalls, accessed via the winding hiking trails through the hills and mountains—a must-see for every nature-lover. Below we have the best waterfall hikes in Bozeman listed for you, check it out!

Palisade Falls

At about 45 minutes south of Downtown Bozeman, Palisade Falls is an absolute must-see. It certainly is one of Bozeman's most popular hikes, with ample parking and a paved trail, it makes for an easy afternoon activity. Though it is busy, it is certainly worth it! You will not only view a spectacular waterfall, which reaches heights that make you dizzy attempting to view the top of the falls but also a gorgeous drive to the falls.

Along your drive, you'll pass through Hyalite Canyon, featuring Hyalite Creek, trees for miles, and extensive mountains along the way until you summit over the hill, arriving at Hyalite Reservoir. This vast body of water is stunning in and of itself, making the adventure to reach gems like Palisade Falls tucked within the area a truly great experience.

Directions to Palisade Falls

Ousel Falls

Ousel Falls is a well-known, classic hike within the Big Sky. When you arrive in Big Sky, you will find several signs directing you to the hike, which is about 2 miles (or a 5-minute drive) southwest from the town center.

This highly popular choice is well worth any traffic you may endure on the trail. You enter into the trail with a downward slope, where you will then proceed through the rest of the hike at creek level, passing over several bridges. Rising back up over the hill, you continue on unsure when you will arrive at the waterfall. All of a sudden you will catch a glimpse of the roaring falls down a set of stairs with a handrail provided. Proceed down the steps to get up close to these gorgeous falls. 


Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls also lies within the beautiful Hyalite Canyon recreational area, south of Bozeman. Grotto Falls is one of many incredible trails within the region, all certainly worth spending your weekend adventure time at. What makes this trail popular, much like the nearby Palisade Falls, is that it is labeled as an easy hike, being only 2.4 miles round trip, with relatively flat ground along the way.

This user-friendly trail is tucked on the far end of Hyalite Canyon, where you will find yourself nestled within the trees. Grotto Falls stands by its name, you feel as if you disappear into a hidden natural grotto in the woods. Nature has worked its magic at these falls, with such natural beauty, it looks as if fairies would live in the area. What also makes this trek unique is that you can continue on to connecting trails taking you further into the Hyalite Canyon area. Continued trails span over several more miles, so use proper judgment and gauge your hiking ambitions for the day prior to taking off on additional trails!


Pine Creek Falls

Don't miss out on the amazing Pine Creek Falls in Livingston, Montana, located 45-50 minutes east of Bozeman.

This hike lies within the Custer National Forest. It is only 2.5 miles out and back. It is described as moderately challenging with an elevation gain of nearly 400 ft. It is said that this hike within Paradise Valley is best viewed during the late summer months as the forested area thrives during this season. This hike can be extended further as you can find additional trail connections from the waterfall. These additional trails continue on to Pine Creek Lane, and you will endure a much more challenging hike if you so choose to proceed. 


Passage Falls

Located near the unincorporated communities outside of Livingston, Passage Falls in Custer National Forest is just over 5 miles out and back with a 623 ft elevation gain. Like Pine Creek Falls, this waterfall is a bit of a drive from Bozeman, at just over an hour.

Along the hike, you will find a vast forest, a soothing river, spectacular views, of course, wildflowers, the Passage Falls waterfall, and potentially some wildlife. These features are especially prevalent and glowing in the late summer months, though the trail may be more trafficked during this time, the hike is still certainly worth it. Not only does this adventure offer a marvelous hike to the falls, but you may also camp in the area, and the trail is dog friendly!


Champagne Falls

Champagne Falls resides within the Hyalite Canyon area, with fellow waterfall hikes, Palisade Falls, and Grotto Falls nearby. Though, you will find that Champagne Falls is far less trafficked as the trail totals 7.1 miles round trip with an elevation gain of over 1,200 ft. This waterfall is also the furthest away from Bozeman, at about an hour and a half drive—so this would make an excellent day trip!

This hike is certainly challenging, but seasoned hikers will absolutely love the journey, and beginner hikers will be able to embark on the trip as well, so long as they prepare for quite the climb. Here you will find abundant wildflowers, a dense forest, and stunning views, especially in the late summer months. Enjoy the hike with your trusted puppy companion, as dogs are allowed on the trail!


Ousel Falls Image

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