Perfect Hiking Weather in Bozeman, MT

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The high yesterday, ninety degrees, that will be summer’s last stand (well most likely). Without doubt these are the last dog days of summer, as we begin the decent into the longest season in Bozeman, winter. However, we aren’t quite there yet, we still have a few weeks of interim (known elsewhere as fall). Whatever you want to call it, it is a pleasant mixture of conditions siphoned off of the annual battle between scorching heat and mind-numbing cold. Personally, I find it the perfect time to finish off the summer season with some mountain frolicking. Requirements are as such: one or more hiking companions, an excitable canine(this can count as the hiking companion), hydration, one canned great-success beverage, food (chocolate, always chocolate), a camera or smartphone (for shameless selfies to blast Facebook with), and a well laid out plan. Hold on, don’t forget this. That book might as well be my autumn bible, and is a great place to find inspiration for the location of your next hike. Speaking of which, here are some of my favorites.

Pine Creek – Just South of Livingston

The view from Pine Creek lake Livingston, MT

Looking north from the pool just before Pine Lake

The entire adventure that is this hike is just darn awesome! From forest to waterfall to mountain lakes, the Pine Creek hike certainly has it all. The trail will even wind you through the charcoaled remains of a forest that was thrashed by a blaze. The greatest prize of this hike is at its apex, where you will find Pine Creek Lake, the awe of which must be seen in person.

Lava Lake – Betwixt Bozeman and Bigsky

Lava Lake in Montana

Shameless selfie at Lava Lake

Easily one of my favorite hikes in the surrounding area is Lava Lake. It is equal parts easy hike, quick drive, and stunning views. It’s a rather quick hike to the top at only three and half miles, and well worth it. The serene beauty of this mountain lake is hard to contain in a simple photograph. Granted, if you don’t mind hiking with a little gear the perimeter of the lake presents awesome opportunities for swimming, camping, fishing, and yodeling.

Sacajawea Peak – Bozeman’s Highest Peak

Sacajawea Peak Bozeman, MT

Gregg Cummings looking down the spine of the bridgers

Memory is a fickle beast, and I can’t remember if this was my first hike here in Bozeman, but I think it may have been, either way an optimal choice it is. From atop this peak is the perfect perch for a panorama of the Crazies to the east, the Absaroka’s to the southeast, the Gallatin range to the south, and even the Tobacco Roots tucked away to the southwest. After you catch your breath, perhaps you dare walk the ridge down into town, or jog it.

Windy Pass – Also Betwixt Bozeman and Big Sky

windypass

http://www.hyalite.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/110716WindyPass10.jpg

Opposite the side of the highway that Lava Lake hails from is a nearby hike known as the Windy Pass. This hike is also splendid as it puts you on top of the western side of the area commonly associated with Hyalite canyon. Aside from the amazing views there are some nifty rocks to clamor around on, and if you are lucky you might happen upon a field of mountain flowers. Care to extend your stay, you can rent out a cabin near the summit of this hike, check it out here.

The Wind Rivers – Wyoming

Wind Rivers Mountain Range Wyoming

Jason taking in The Wind River Range

This mountain range will cure your soul of any ailments, guaranteed. The word “epic” barely begins to illustrate the supreme excellence of this mountain range. I think I recall reading somewhere, that native american’s regarded this mountain region as the ascension to the afterlife. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to explain it myself, it is otherworldly.

Outstanding Hot Springs Near Bozeman

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Fall is certainly here, and its first frosty reminder is swirling around Bozeman as I write. For some this brings discontent, for the rest of us it signals a period of undeniable excitement. What, you ask, is the hullabaloo all about? During the next few months the mountains will start to build their first solid snow pack, which will help to define the ski season ahead. It also signals the return of soaking in one of many hot springs near Bozeman. These hot springs, which are easily forgotten in the summer time (except on the occasional dreary night), serve as a necessary component to the perfection of almost any chilly fall day. Hot springs excel in fixing almost any ailment, be it stress from an exhausting day at the office, soaking your achy limbs after a taxing day on the ski hill, or the answer to finding that perfect place to sip a frosty brew in a serene atmosphere. Living in Bozeman (or Montana for that matter) affords us easy access to a plethora of options when seeking the therapeutic waters of a hot spring. The following are outstanding hot springs near Bozeman.

Water of the Gods – Norris Hot Springs

A frosty drink to sip on at the Water of The Gods, a hot springs near bozeman

http://www.norrishotsprings.com/

As the name suggests this place is quite divine. Water of the God’s has all its bases covered. It offers local beer (and wine) to calm the mind, live music to soothe the soul, and magma heated waters to mend thy wracked frame. It also helps that the 45 minute drive from Bozeman, helps to keep a portion of the riff-raff out. More about the Water of the Gods here.

The Boiling River – Yellowstone National Park

Elk in the river at the boiling river, also a hot springs near Bozeman

http://www.moldychum.com/storage/elk-in-boiling-river-montan.jpg

In the event that I find myself awake before noon on a non-work day (which if you ask anyone that knows me even a little bit would say is quite rare), The Boiling River makes for an awesome morning to late afternoon soak. There are some really nifty features to enjoy while at this location such as; a mini waterfall to sit under, the bone-chilling river attached to the spring, and well an elk. The Boiling River is the only hot springs on the list that is entirely natural, as all the others are spring fed but have structures built around them. Be prepared to have your Yellowstone Park Pass ready, as this destination is just inside the park.

Chico Hot Springs –  Pray, MT

A beautiful day at Chico Hot Springs

http://www.chicohotsprings.com/hot-springs/#

Chico in general is a pretty awesome place. Apart from other hot springs chico offers lodging as well, and it serves as an amazing location for weddings, as well as weekend getaways. Just outside of Livingston, MT it is nestled just beneath the superbly impressive Absaroka mountain range. More about Chico here.

Bozeman Hot Springs – Four Corners, MT

The hot springs at Bozeman Hot Springs

https://plus.google.com/111656203101819166162/about

In the event that I don’t have the time to make the trek out to the Water of the Gods there is always the nice alternative of Bozeman Hot Springs. At just 10 miles out of town, Bozeman Hot Springs is definitively the closest of all the options. While the majority of their pool facilities are indoors, they do have an outdoor pool as well. Located inside is a sauna, as well as a regular temperature swimming pool (in case you need to cool your jets after a long soak).

(Honorable Mention) The Huntley Hot Tub – Big Sky, MT

huntley hot tub

http://bigskyresort.com/

Let’s clear one thing up real quick, this is definitely NOT a hot spring. However, it does deserve mentioning as I can confirm it a necessary destination after a hard day of skiing at Big Sky. Careful though, The Huntley is not fond of those it deems “hot tub poachers” (of course I would know nothing of that).

If you are looking for other hot springs opportunities throughout Montana click here, for an interactive map.