One of Bozeman’s best.
Hyalite Canyon is one of the great Bozeman area hikes, and arguably one of the best “not in Glacier Park hikes” in the state. The shady 5.5-mile trail gently gains 2,000 feet of elevation, passing by several waterfalls on the way to Hyalite Lake, which is situated in a beautiful cirque beneath Hyalite Peak. I’ve done Hyalite several times, including a couple times during the winter. But what made this time so fun is that my wife (Mardi) and I were joined by my step-son (Mark), who has just recently been showing an interest in hiking. When Mark (lives in Billings) told us he’d like to meet us in Bozeman for a hike, we were “all over it” – and Hyalite was the obvious choice.

Late bloomer?
Mark, who was 7 years old when Mardi and I got married, is now in his early 40’s – about the same age I was when I started to really get into hiking. Mark and I enjoy each other’s company, but unfortunately, we don’t get together as often as we should. In fact, Mardi and I don’t get away to do “out of town hikes” very often either – She is a realtor, and summer is her busy time of year. So, it really didn’t matter which hike we did, this was going to be a good day.

Hey rookie . . . you were good. (from “Field of Dreams”)
The day turned out to be way better than “good”. Mardi and I dropped my step-daughter (handicapped) off in Bozeman to spend the day with Auntie Ava (Mardi’s sister). From there Mark, Mardi, and I drove to the trailhead 20 miles south of Bozeman, and started hiking at 12:30 pm. It was a Monday (8/13/18), so there was very little traffic on the trail (less than 15 people), and the weather was perfect – calm and sunny, with temperatures in the 70’s. Fire season is upon us, so the skies were hazy, but it wasn’t an issue because this is more of a “canyon hike”. Actually, the smoke filtered out some of the shorter wavelengths from the Sun, causing a very pleasant orange-ish light to shine on the valley – like what you see at sunset or sunrise. We took our time, taking short side trips to enjoy several waterfalls along the way, and then swung by Grotto Falls on the way back. We got back to the parking lot at 6:30 pm. It was great company, a great trail, and great weather – and most importantly, Mark enjoyed his first hike over 10 miles, and even seemed interested in coming back next summer to bag Hyalite Peak (would be his first 10,000-footer). The three of us agreed that we need to get together for hikes like this more often.

Below: This map marks hikes that have been featured on so far, including several in Glacier Park – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.