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 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
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
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
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
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.