Montana is home to vast mountain ranges, clear blue skies, and wild huckleberries that grow in higher altitudes. Designated by locals as the "unofficial" state fruit, huckleberries typically grow in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.


An interesting fact about huckleberries is that they are only native to the Northwest region. "Native Americans gathered the berries for food and medicine. As a food source, they were sun-dried or smoked, formed into cakes, and wrapped in leaves to sustain Native Americans through the winter. Huckleberries were also used as medicine to treat heart conditions, pain, and infections." As a bonus, "Huckleberries are full of antioxidants, high in iron, and a good source of vitamin C and potassium", according to the Everyday Wanderer

Due to the berries resisting cultivation, you must find and gather these tasty morsels by hand, unless you want to spend a hefty price per pound at the market. Prime picking season typically starts in August, and just as a precaution, I would avoid picking around dawn and dusk as you could find yourself fighting for the same bushel of berries as other four-legged animals... i.e. bears.  

1. Grotto Falls 

Located in Hyalite Canyon, these falls are only a short half-hour hike away. Once you reach the falls, make sure you take time to relax in the various natural pools formed by the falls themselves. Along the way, you should find yourself greeted by many purple berries! 

2. Spanish Peaks Trail 

For more experienced travelers, this trail is located near Ennis. At 15.7 miles. Spanish Peaks offers various activity options for horseback riding, hiking, and trail running... as well as huckleberry picking not too far up!

3. Lava Lake

About a 3.5-hour hike, this trail "follows Cascade Creek through a thick evergreen forest, continuing past a few waterfalls to a forest-lined lake surrounded by rock walls and treeless mountaintops." Although strenuous, the lake views at the top are so worth the trip! 

4. Brackett Creek

Located in the last section of the Bangtail Divide Trail, this hike provides vast views of the Bridger Range, with the opportunity to see Bridger Ski Area! This hike is steeper, with tight switchbacks, so make sure you are properly prepared. 

5. Leverich Canyon Trail 

Typically used by bikers, Leverich is located in a narrow canyon just south of Bozeman that's tucked between the two prominent drainages of Hyalite Canyon and Sourdough Canyon. This trail follows a creek for the first half of the trip, where you can search for wild huckleberries ready to be picked! 

*As always, make sure you know exactly what you are picking as there are other similar-looking berries that can potentially be poisonous.  

Do you know of any other trails where you can spot huckleberries? Let us know in the box below! 


Posted by Tamara Williams on
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