by Maggie Slepian
Montana’s weather is notoriously volatile—not to mention brutal—so when the sun comes out, it makes sense for you to get out, as often and for as long as possible. On those bright, warm days, take advantage of Bozeman’s many parks by setting up a hammock, taking the dog out for a jaunt, or lounging under the trees. Remember to follow all posted leash rules, pick up after your pup, and be considerate of other park-goers.
This northside park has picnic tables, lush green grass for napping or Frisbee-throwing, and basketball courts for working up a sweat. On-site is a charming old building that’s available to rent, on the cheap, for meetings, receptions, seminars, or dance parties. In the winter, the city floods the park for outdoor skating.
Bogert has tennis courts, a pool and playground, a huge expanse of grass, and a creek flowing behind the pavilion. Just a few blocks south of Main Street, on the east side of downtown, this park is a hub for local events.
Practice casting flies at the pond, wander around the trails, or hang out under the large pavilion at a picnic table. This park has a small fenced-in area for letting dogs run and swim, plus a climbing boulder for aspiring ascendants to practice their moves in a low-pressure environment. For something more vigorous, round up all your pals for a rousing beach-volleyball game in the sand court.
Just a few blocks south of downtown, Cooper Park is ideal for dogs. Large shade trees provide prime relaxation opportunities, plenty of picnic tables make for excellent impromptu gatherings, and the allowed off-leash play means Fido can tire himself out.
This expansive complex has multiple ponds, a fenced-off dog park, looping trails, a pump track, and a climbing boulder. It’s basically a multi-sport destination in and of itself. In the winter, bring a saucer or inner-tube for some good clean fun on the sledding hill.
Langhor Gardens is a community garden with a climbing boulder—what could be more Bozeman than that? The Gallagator trail crosses through the park and will take you all the way downtown, and a nearby creek makes for a nice respite after a stressful day.
Adjacent to the Bozeman Public Library, connected to Peets Hill, and providing access to different trail options, Lindley has it all. In the warm weather you’ll find folks slinging hammocks and slacklines between the trees, and the trails around Lindley are groomed for skate skiing in the winter, so it’s a year-round attraction.
If disc golf is your thing, this is your spot. Smack-dab in the middle of Bozeman—a short bike ride from most places—Rose Park’s course isn’t overly challenging, but you can play a quick round with pals and then walk or pedal to a nearby restaurant to re-fuel.
Southside Park lies near the MSU campus and is often bustling with students. Depending on the season, you can be serving up goals or aces. This 6.5-acre park has tennis courts from spring through fall, and an ice rink in winter.
This is Bozeman’s largest and newest park. With several miles of trails, a climbing boulder, an adventure playground, an enclosed dog park for pups to roam and play fetch, an amphitheater, a community center, and several open-air pavilions, Story Mill has it all.