Gallatin National Forest in Montana

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Gallatin National Forest

Gallatin National Forest, with its snow-capped mountains and popular trout streams, is the perfect vacation destination for those who want to get out there and experience Montana’s Northern Rockies.

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  • Find incredible snow-capped mountains and popular trout streams in Gallatin National Forest
  • Accessible year-round, these forestlands provide all-season outdoor recreation
  • Travel the Beartooth Scenic Byway to see alpine tundra and glaciers
  • Three ski areas to choose from within Gallatin National Forest

Overview

When visiting Gallatin National Forest you have the best of all worlds, with almost 2 million acres of forests in southwestern Montana, right next to Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by other scenic wilderness areas.

Location/Directions

Gallatin National Forest is situated in south-central Montana. You can get there by taking I-90 South to US 89 from Livingston, Montana, or taking US 191 South from Bozeman to West Yellowstone.

Seasons

Gallatin National Forest is accessible year-round.

Activities

Listed here are just some of the activities you can enjoy in this popular national forest:

Hiking and Biking
With more than 2,600 miles of hiking and riding trails, you’ll find miles of paths suitable for your experience level. Get into the wilderness areas and even find interlinking trails into Yellowstone.

Camping and Picnicking
You’ll discover nearly 40 campgrounds accessible by vehicle, and many picnic areas throughout the forest. The unique and scenic surroundings make for a great experience. Some of the campgrounds, like Colter and Eagle Creek, are located near Yellowstone Park.

Fishing and other Water Recreation
Fly-fishing in remote streams or lakes offers some excellent adventures. There are more than 1,700 miles of fishable rivers and streams. Prefer only “Blue Ribbon” trout streams? The Madison, Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers have their headwaters in Gallatin National Forest. These locations are also great for rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

Wildlife Viewing
Spot some wildlife in your excursion through the forest. You may see bison, elk, moose, mule deer and antelope. There are also bighorn sheep, mountain lions, grizzlies and black bears around so keep your eye peeled. A gray wolf or a Canada lynx could also be around the next bend.

Scenic Driving
The favorite drive around Gallatin National Forest is the Beartooth Scenic Byway. Travel through lush forest onto the alpine tundra. This three-hour drive provides breathtaking views of alpine lakes, glaciers and of course, the snow-covered peaks. In winter, snowmobiles can make this journey.

Ice Climbing
A real opportunity to climb on some amazing frozen waterfalls is available in Hyalite Canyon, south of Bozeman. This location is internationally recognized and if you are a climber, you must put this on your itinerary.

Skiing
With three ski areas to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Pick Bridger Ski Area, Lone Mountain Ranch, Bohart Ranch, or try all three. Bohart Ranch and Lone Mountain Ranch have groomed cross-country trails for some wonderful adventures in the snow.

Snowmobiling
Anytime between 1 December and 31 March is the time to take to the snowmobile trails in the West Yellowstone area. You can take flat trails or engage in some mountain climbing trails. Gallatin National Forest is best enjoyed riding through the wilderness in the cold winter snow.

Additional Info

Gallatin is part of the Greater Yellowstone Area, established in 1899. With 1.8 million acres, it has six mountain ranges within its boundaries and two designated Wilderness areas. In the Beartooth Range, you’ll find the highest point in Montana, Granite Peak, at 12,799 feet

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Other Gallatin National Forest Resources

Yellowstone Mountains

Mountain ranges in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Gallatin Range

The Gallatin Mountains form the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park.