Paradise Valley, Montana offers some of the most scenic country in the state, with the pristine Yellowstone River running through it and dramatic mountain ranges rising on either side. Driving through the area is breathtaking on its own, but hiking through its peaks and valleys on foot brings a new perspective. We’ve compiled some of our favorite hikes to explore in Paradise Valley.
Keep in mind that depending on the season, some trails may be difficult to reach due to snow, so do your research and check the weather before heading out on any adventure. And remember that Montana is bear country, so always have bear spray handy.
Starting from the Pine Creek Campground, this trail allows you to choose your own adventure, with three different destinations you can visit depending on how long and hard of a hike you’re up for. Start at the Pine Creek Campground and follow the moderate 2.5-mile trail up to Pine Creek Falls, a beautiful, cascading fall with a creek crossing bridge that provides easy viewing and photo-snapping.
Ready for a challenge? If you choose, you can continue on the same trail up to Pine Creek Lake. The hike is grueling, but the reward is worth it. After 3,000 feet of elevation gain within 4 miles, you’ll reach a beautiful, alpine lake set to a backdrop of craggy peaks. Still not done? If you’ve got the energy and some rock climbing experience, you can scramble your way up to the summit of Black Mountain for 360-degree views of the Absaroka Range. Do a day hike, or make it into an overnight backpacking trip. This trail has options for everyone.
The Big Creek Trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll along a peaceful creek. The entire trail runs eastward for 14 miles, but you can make the hike as long as you choose as an out-and-back hike. Start near Big Creek Cabin on Forest Road 2500 and follow the creek for an easy, meditative hike through the Montana wilderness.
This relatively flat and easy 5-mile hike offers beautiful views without a day’s worth of effort. The Passage Creek Falls Trailhead is less than an hour’s drive from both Livingston and Gardiner, making it a convenient destination as you’re traveling from one city to the other. There is little shade on this trail until you arrive at the falls, so be sure to cover up or bring sunscreen! View these spectacular falls from the top, or traverse down steep switchbacks to view the falls from the bottom.
Emigrant Peak is an impressively challenging mountain towering over Paradise Valley, summoning powerhouse, experienced hikers only. With incredibly steep elevation gain (5,082 feet, to be exact) within less than four miles of hiking, your calves and glutes are not to be spared. Expect this hike to take several hours even though it’s only 7.5 miles roundtrip, and bring some serious nourishment for the summit – you’ll need it!
Suce Creek is most known for its abundance of wildflowers in the spring and summer months. However, with tons of trees and vegetation, this area comes alive with color for a short period in the fall as well. Well-maintained, clearly-marked, and moderate, this trail is great for families and dogs. It can be done as an out-and-back, or as a 6-mile loop, connecting to Suce Creek West Trail #450 for 2 miles before reconnecting to the #44 for the last half-mile. Note that some creek crossings may require you to get your feet wet depending on the season.
Whether you are coming for an adventure, or just passing through, we have eight properties in Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman, and Bigfork to help you feel at home while you are on the road. Click here to book now.