Gallatin National Forest in Montana

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Gallatin National Forest

This 1.8 million acre national forest spans over six mountain ranges, encompasses two wilderness areas, and hundreds of miles of Blue Ribbon trout rivers.

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Why should I visit the Gallatin National Forest?

Spanning 1.8 million acres from Yellowstone National Park to the Crazy Mountains North of Bozeman, Gallatin National Forest encompasses the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, the Gallatin Range, the Madison Range, the Bridger Range, the Crazy Mountains, and 1,740 miles of fishable streams and rivers. Outdoor recreation abounds, and you’ll find plenty of climbing, skiing, and fishing opportunities. Plus, there’s no shortage of wildlife: grizzly bears, grey wolves, and bald eagles make their home in this forest - part of the largest intact ecosystem in the continental U.S.

Where is the Gallatin National Forest?

The main office is in Bozeman but the forest spans most of the area between the Crazy Mountains and West Yellowstone from North to South, and between Cooke City and Big Sky from East to West. The town of Big Sky is surrounded by the Gallatin National Forest on all sides.

What can I do and see within the Gallatin National Forest?

It would take an entire website to describe all that there is to do and see within the Gallatin National Forest. For the sake of this page we are focusing on things to do near Big Sky.

  • Hiking Trails
    A bazillion hiking trails wind through the Gallatin National Forest near Big Sky. Our favorites.
  • Camping and Cabins
    A handful of campgrounds line the banks of the Gallatin River. For a unique experience stay at a forest service cabin. The closest cabin is at Spanish Creek.
  • Mountain Biking
    Beehive Basin is great for biking right in Big Sky or discover the Grizzly Loop down in the canyon.
  • Skiing
    Enjoy skiing and boarding at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin, both of which lie within Gallatin National Forest.
  • Fishing
    Fish the banks or wade fish the Gallatin River from late June through the fall. The Gallatin is known for having some of the best fishing around. Don't forget your fishing license.
  • Ice Climbing
    Some of the best and most consistent natural ice climbing in North America, Hyalite Canyon has over 140 ice climbing routes over the course of two and half miles. It’s easily accessible along Hyalite Canyon Road, about 5 miles South of Bozeman.
  • Snowmobiling
    Try the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail which links Little Bear Creek in Bozeman to Grayling Creek West Yellowstone.
  • Rafting
    Spend your day battling class I – IV rapids on the Gallatin River 13-mile section between Greek Creek and Spanish Creek.

Who can I call with more questions?

Contact the forest service office at (406) 522-2520.