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The Bozeman Code

by Drew Pogge

Hey you!

Howdy. Welcome to town. Now that you’re here, it’s your responsibility to help us keep Bozeman the kind of place that attracted all of us here in the first place. There are plenty of examples of places that have been loved to death—please don’t Boulder-up our town. Here are a few things you should know about living here so it—and we—will survive.

#1: Slow it down. Everything. There’s no need for road rage or impatience at the coffee shop. We’re all headed in the same direction and you’ll get there when you get there. A relaxed Montana mosey is a benefit of living here—don’t be an uptight ass.

#2: Lend a hand. Forget the East Coast “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Here, we look out for one another. Hold that door, let that car into traffic, and if someone looks like they need help, ask. The next time you’re stuck in a ditch, we’ll surely return the favor.

#3: Buy local. For the love of all that is good and sweet and dear, don’t let Bozeman become like Colorado’s Front Range chain-store purgatory. Just because we have an Olive Garden doesn’t mean you should eat there. And shop local—Amazon should be a last resort.

#4: Don’t be a cliché or try to play a role. Just because you live in Montana doesn’t make you a cowboy or a Patagonia fashion model. We like you just the way you are, so have fun and forget the BS Bozeman “image.”

#5: Get yourself some outdoor education. Before you can become a verifiable badass skier, climber, paddler, hunter, or angler, you need to know how to handle yourself in an emergency. Take a Wilderness First Aid class and an avalanche course, hire a guide for a day or two, and apprentice with some experienced friends. Trial and error is for cooking, not outdoor survival.

#6: Don’t become a snob. Yes, Bozeman is incredibly awesome, but the rest of Montana is pretty amazing too. No one likes arrogance or entitlement—least of all people who live in “real” Montana. Step outside the Bozeman bubble when you get the chance.

#7: Learn about the history of this valley and its residents. More genuine badasses have graced these forests and canyons than almost anywhere else, from Jim Bridger and John Colter to Jack Tackle and Alex Lowe. Know who they are and emulate them.

#8: Try something new every season. Hunt, fish, climb, bike, ski, ride—there’s always a new challenge.

#9: Work harder than you play. But play pretty damn hard.

#10: Enjoy every day. This is a place you’ll always remember, even if you decide the winters are too cold and you go back to California. Make the most of your time here, be it five months or 50 years.

Bozeman’s Back Yard

By Phil Knight

It’s finally summer in the Bozone—the perfect time to save up some cash, take a break from schoolwork, and most importantly, enjoy the outdoors and beautiful weather. Where to go when adventure is calling? If time is tight, stay close without compromising fun and adventure. Just 20 minutes from downtown Bozeman lies one of the world’s greatest multisport mountain playgrounds: Hyalite. In this wild canyon and the surrounding peaks, you can pretty much do it all.

CoreyHockett_Hyalite-1

A great way to experience Hyalite Reservoir

This has long been the go-to place for locals seeking their mountain fix. But Hyalite has matured from a place to shoot old televisions, cut firewood, and get your truck stuck to a sophisticated adventure Mecca. Motorized recreation has been scaled back in favor of human-powered pursuits and wildlife conservation. The road up to Hyalite is paved, clean and right next to a stream great for fishing, making the way up to Hyalite an easy drive.

DavidTucker-BlackmoreSaddle_001

Views from the Mount Blackmore trail

Hyalite’s trail system is legendary and offers anything from an easy stroll to weeklong expeditions through the heart of a 500,000-acre roadless area. Throw in heaps of spectacular waterfalls, like Grotto, Palisade, and Horsetail, and it’s hard to find more classic hikes. Epic mountain biking also awaits, with favorite rides including History Rock trail into South Cottonwood Canyon, the East Fork trail to Emerald Lake, and the easier West Shore Trail along Hyalite Reservoir.

CoreyHockett_Hyalite-12

Hyalite Reservoir

Brim-full early in the summer, the reservoir is a paradise for boaters seeking still water. Stand-up paddleboarders look like lost surfers, families putt along in overloaded outboards bristling with fishing poles and dogs, and couples enjoying evening picnics paddle by canoe or kayak. Hardy scuba divers train in the chilly depths of the snowmelt-fed water and boaters jump ship to take a cool swim—just watch the sunken stumps. There’s great fishing year-round, and in winter, ice fishers set up shop on the frozen tabletop. More remote lakes beckon from the backcountry, offering awesome lakeside camping and fishing.

MariaSanderson-Waterfall

Shower Falls up the Hyalite Creek trail

You want wildlife, Hyalite’s got it—even wolves and grizzly bears are making a comeback here in the north end of the Gallatin Range. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep skitter across ridge tops, golden eagles ride the thermals, moose lurk in the deep woods, and coyotes cruise for stray poodles.

Though Hyalite is close enough to Bozeman for great day tripping, you can also pitch your tent or park your camper at Langhor, Hood Creek, or Chisholm campgrounds. Or, if you prefer a fully equipped cabin, reserve the Window Rocks or Maxey cabins—both accessible by car.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-24-at-3.17.41-PM

One of Hyalite’s full-time residents

Hyalite By the Numbers
forest service trailheads
500,000 roadless acres
campgrounds
2 vehicle accessible rental cabins
2 day-use areas, including a pavilion with fireplace and wood-fired grills
2 wheelchair-accessible trails (grotto falls and palisade falls)
1 trout-filled reservoir
1 trout-filled alpine lakes
2 trout-filled creeks
5 daily trout limit
40,000 monthly visitors during the summer

Are you a Bozemanite?

Whether this is your first year in Bozeman or your fifth, the question inevitably arises: are you a true Bozemanite? Take our quiz to find out if Bozeman is really the place for you.
1. Do you plan your MSU class schedule so that you can make it up to the ski hill at least three days a week?
2. In the fall and spring, do you wear shorts underneath snow pants, to be prepared for any kind of weather?
3. Do you know at least three dogs named Bridger or Madison, and maybe one or two people?
4. Do you understand what the Barmuda triangle means?
5. Do you wait until July to remove your snow tires?
6. Do you start ski training in August?
7. Do you eat ramen all year so that you can afford outdoor gear?
8. Are cuts, bruises, and abrasions a source of endless story-telling
rather than intolerable pain?
9. Have you worn Birkenstocks or Chacos with socks?
10. Does a “study day” involve throwing a couple books into your pack and heading up to the hill, whether it be to hike or ski?
11. Have you gone skiing every month of the year?
12. Have you danced the night away at Music on Main?
13. Have you guided your car through a cattle drive on a state
highway?
14. Do you drive a Subaru?
15. Have you gotten up before dawn to go fishing?
16. Have you entered in at least one of Outside Bozeman’s contests in an attempt to score awesome gear?
17. Do you float the Madison or Jefferson every summer?
18. Have you watched live music at Norris Hot Springs while your hair forms icicles?
19. Have you gone extreme sledding down Peets Hill, sans helmet and knee pads?
20. Do you chuckle good-naturedly at the antics of obvious out-of-staters, calling them “tourons”?
———————————————————————-
0 points: What the heck are you doing here? If all you do is study and sleep, might as well be in Kansas or Nebraska.
1-6 points: You’re not a total loser, but you are pretty pathetic. Throw away the Valium, wipe the slobber off your chin, and explore this awesome town we call home.
7-13 points: Not a bad start, but you’ve got plenty of work to do. Keep doing what you’re doing; if you need some guidance, check out the MSU Pocket Guide and Outside Bozeman magazine.

14-20 points: Congratulations, you’re a Bozemanite! Now, the bad news: you’ll never be able to leave this awesome place, and for the rest of your life, envious house guests will take over your living room every summer and winter.

Higher Calling

by the editors

A climbing adventure guide for the rookies and the vets.

Living in Bozeman, you’ve probably noticed that the Rocky Mountains are aptly named. Limestone, sandstone, granite, gneiss—we’ve got rocks galore, and that means tons of climbing opportunities await. Getting vertical is in our DNA here, so whether you’re new to the sport, or a veteran looking to tick off the classics, read on for a primer on where to go, what to bring, and how to learn to climb safer and harder.

 

Photo by Brian Grossenbacher

Flexin’ up the mountain.

Gear

Check out Spire Climbing Center to pick up essential gear locally. A 60-meter rope is sufficient for most Bozeman-area climbs, though longer routes are going up in places like Wolverine Bowl, where a 70-meter rope may become handier. And dust off those tricams—they can be super helpful for protecting pocketed limestone routes, of which there are many.

If you’re just getting started, take a lesson or attend a clinic at Spire—the good folks there will help you select the appropriate shoes, harness, and belay device to get you climbing quickly and safely. Do NOT buy used climbing gear at pawn shops or on Craigslist—it’s beyond sketchy, as you never know what it’s been through. You can also check out the Outdoor Rec Center on campus for gear.

 

A classic summer sight around the Bozone.

A classic summer sight around the Bozone.

Crags/Routes

Right off Hwy. 191 near the 35mph bridge, Gallatin Canyon has dozens of routes and bouldering problems, great history, beautiful scenery, and easy access. The canyon is largely traditional climbing, but there is a smattering of bolted climbs as well. Many of the older routes are appropriately sandbagged, so climb with gusto. Skyline Arete (5.6, six pitches) is a classic crowd-pleaser, and shouldn’t be missed. Step up to the ultra-classic, perfect parallel cracks of Sparerib (5.8, two pitches), Diesel Driver (5.9) or virtually anything on Gallatin Tower (5.8-5.13 options).

Bozeman’s pet crag, Practice Rock, delivers a convenient pump after class or before work. Head up S. 19th, turn on Hyalite Canyon Rd. and continue for 3.1 miles. Park in the pullout on the right, and slog up the talus. Forgot your trad rack? Most of the routes can be top-roped by hiking around to the right; just use caution when doing so. Hundreds, maybe thousands of climbers have experienced their first climb or trad lead on routes like Strawberry Crack (5.7), Jerry’s Route (5.8+), and Rosebush Crack (5.9). Make sure to check out the splitter gear line of Theoretically (5.10c)—it’s a must-send.

If clipping bolts is your jam, head to Bozeman Pass. Limestone routes from 5.6-5.13 are clustered among fins and faces, with relatively quick and easy access off I-90 at Trail Creek Rd. You may also want to check out Bozeman’s coolest—both scenery-wise, and temperature-wise—sport-climbing crag at Wolverine Bowl, in the Bridgers. It’s a longer drive and about an hour-long hike to the base of the climbs, but the steep limestone has some of the best friction around, and route development has been progressing nicely here (though mostly at harder grades). Check out The Beat Connection (5.10b) and Hate Street Dialogue (5.11b) for sure.

 

Photo by Beth Johnson

Live-action cliffhanger.

Events

Want to meet some new partners? Get together and spray with like-minded rock nerds? Drink beer and climb rocks? So do we. There are several events each year in southwest Montana that bring the climbing community together. Here are the highlights.

September 21
Tour de Hyalite – Hyalite Canyon. In September, competitors run 14 miles up to Hyalite Peak and back, then climb the five hardest routes they can at Practice Rock to reduce their time—the harder the routes, the faster your time! Details here.

September  [Exact Dates TBD]
Butte Bouldering Bash – Butte. If cruxing out is more your style, check out the annual Butte Bouldering Bash in October. There’s a competition, raffle, food, and a LOT of awesome granite boulders. Check it out on Facebook here.

November 9
Full Gravity Day – Bozeman. Before getting lost in a sea of finals, solve some boulder problems at Spire. This is the largest bouldering event in the Northern Rockies, so even if you aren’t competing, it’s worth checking out for the scene. Take a look at last year’s finals here.

December 11-15
Bozeman Ice Festival – Bozeman. Trade chalk for ice axes, and shoes for crampons, at the 22nd annual Bozeman Ice Fest. Expect on-ice clinics in Hyalite, gear demos from industry leaders, an adventure film festival, and much more. Details here.

April [Exact Date TBD]
Spring Fling – Finally, kick off the spring climbing season at Spire, with their Spring Fling rope competition. There are adult and youth classes, and spandex is encouraged—it’s that kind of event. Details will be posted here when the date is announced. Meanwhile, get psyched watching 2017′s competition.

For an up-to-date list of events around town check out Outside Bozeman’s event calendar.

 

Locations

Looking to pick up a print copy of the Blue Light Guide? Here’s where you can find us:

On Campus                                         
Admissions/New Student Services
SUB Cafeteria
Office of Student Success
Hannon Hall
Hapner Hall
North and South Hedges
Langford Hall
Outdoor Recreation Center
Roskie Hall
The Renee Library
The Outdoor Rec Center



Off Campus/Around Bozeman
Bozeman Health
Daily
Paulie’s
Bridger Brewing
Taco Montes
Spire Climbing Center
Wild Joes
Cafe M
International Coffee Traders
Town & Country
Bridger Bowl
REI
Bridger Brewing

Streaming Service

by the editors

A fishing guide for the attendees of Trout U.

Ever wonder why Montana State is nicknamed Trout U? Because the Bozeman area’s got some of the best trout water in the world, that’s why. You have the privilege of taking classes less than an hour from three top-notch trout streams, and dozens of other fishing options. From alpine lakes in the backcountry to valley streams near town, MSU truly is an angler’s paradise.

If you’re new to the sport or new to the area, the first thing you’ll want to do is grab a copy of the Cast fishing guide. This local publication is full of everything you need to know about fishing in southwest Montana, from matching the hatch to how to get geared up. Once you have your bearings, you need only head to the river. With a little practice—and patience—you’ll be catching your limit in no time. Here’s some basic information to get you started.

The ultimate getaway.

The ultimate getaway.

Essential Gear

Walk into any outdoor store or fly shop, and the quantity, diversity, and variation—not to mention prices—of fishing gear can be overwhelming. Luckily, it’s not all essential to having fun and catching fish. A good all-around setup will keep you casting and catching all season, without breaking the bank.

For fly fishing, you’ll need a rod, reel, line, leader, and tippet. A good 9-foot, 5-weight, fast-action rod should handle everything from lightweight dry flies to heavier streamers. Match it with a 5-weight reel and a WF5 (weight-forward 5-weight) fly line. A 9-foot 5X leader and a range of tippet material, from 2X-6X, should accommodate most scenarios. Confused yet? Don’t worry; it makes sense once it’s all in your hands.

 

Every summer day is a good day for fly fishing.

Every day is a good day for fishing.

 

Next, get yourself some waders and wading boots, especially if you plan to fish in late fall, winter, and/or early spring. Be sure to use a wading belt so your waders don’t fill with water in the event of a plunge. Polarized sunglasses are great for spotting fish, although they can be expensive and are certainly not required.

Organize your flies in a fly box or sleeve; bring nippers for trimming line, floatant to keep your dry flies on top of the water, and pliers or forceps to removing hooks. Pack it all into a small chest-pack, butt-pack, or vest to keep it organized.

 

Brown trout, Yellowstone River

Brown trout, Yellowstone River

Where to Go

Hyalite Creek
The road to Hyalite Reservoir follows this creek and there are plenty of pullouts. Small rainbow trout are plentiful, and a well-presented dry fly will almost certainly entice a strike. For slightly larger fish, head up to the reservoir.

Gallatin River
The valley’s namesake waterway is a great option, thanks to its abundant public access, proximity to town, and high numbers of fish. Whether you fish the upper river in Gallatin Canyon or the lower section out in the valley, taking the time to walk a little ways from your car provides solitude and better fishing. The lower stretch holds larger fish and can provide good dry-fly fishing, especially on cloudy days. Cameron Bridge, Axtell Bridge, and Williams Bridge are all great starting points. Further south, Hwy. 191 follows the river through the canyon on the way to Big Sky and numerous pullouts access the river.

Beartrap Canyon.

Bear Trap Canyon.

 

Lower Madison River / Bear Trap Canyon
Head west and reach the picturesque Bear Trap in less than 30 minutes. From the trailhead, hike along the east side of the river to access nearly eight miles of pocket-water, deep holes, and weedbeds. Generally speaking, this section of river is not known as a dry-fly haven, and it’s not the easiest place to learn how to properly drift an artificial fly. But if you’re after a big brown, the Madison’s your spot. Strip big, ugly streamers like a zonker, double bunny, or wool-head sculpin.

Events

The fishing calendar is full January through December, but certain events stand out. From film festivals to fly-tying clinics, there’s always something for the trout enthusiast. Below are a few highlights; for more, check out Outside Bozeman’s event calendar.

Wednesdays
Fly-tying – Big Sky. Every Wednesday evening, all year long, the pros at Gallatin River Guides teach a fly-tying class. The atmosphere is informal, so whether you’ve tied flies before or not, it’s a great opportunity to work on your skills. Details here.

August 29
Upper Gallatin River Cleanup – Big Sky. Before you get too bogged down in schoolwork, lend a helping hand to the good folks at the Gallatin River Task Force. Clean rivers mean healthy fish, and healthy fish mean good fishing. Details here.

August 30 – August 31
Fly Fishing & Outdoor Festival – Ennis. If you fish, odds are you’ll be spending lots of time in Ennis, a drinking town with a fishing problem about an hour west of Bozeman. Celebrate the end of summer with vendors from throughout the industry and activities including fly-tying demos, casting clinics, and more. Details here.

September 13-14
Trout Spey Days – West Yellowstone. Whether you’ve heard of spey casting or not, this event is sure to be intriguing. The legendary fly shop Big Sky Anglers hosts a weekend of classroom seminars and on-water clinics, all in the fishing hamlet of West Yellowstone, just outside the Park. Details here.

November 3
All waters close to fishing – Yellowstone National Park. After a long summer and a productive fall, it’s time to give the Park’s trout a break for the long winter ahead. They’ll be well-rested and hungry come spring. 

February 23
TroutFest Banquet – Bozeman. The Madison-Gallatin chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) hosts its annual fundraiser every February. The local TU chapter is instrumental in fighting for access, keeping rivers clean, and keeping trout healthy. Details here.

The Spirit of Summer

Music on Main defines the summer season in Bozeman.

by Tyler Gobin

Music reverberated off the buildings as the smell of wood-fired pizza drifted through the crowd. The sun sunk behind the brick buildings of Main Street, casting a shadow to cool down the street. People young and old filled the air with a steady hum of chatter as we made our way through the crowd. In front of the stage at Main and Bozeman, everybody was energized and dancing as the Young Dubliners  projected their Irish sound through the crowd.  Another quintessential Music on Main — not to be missed and an iconic element of summertime in Bozeman.

Starting in late June, when the weather becomes (somewhat) more predictable, locals crowd into three blocks of downtown Bozeman, where bands entertain, food vendors satisfy, and sponsors showcase their swag.

The 2019 lineup does not disappoint, and the crowds have only grown as the summer progresses. So far, each week has seen a tremendous turnout, with Mother Nature’s surprising cooperation. And the night the Young Dubliners played was no exception.

Jamming to the Young Dubliners at Music on Main

Jamming to the Young Dubliners

It began with me urging my reluctant roommate to get up and head downtown. Grabbing our bikes, we pedaled toward the sound of music.  As we drew near, we could feel the energy building. It seemed as though the entire town was migrating by car, bike, or foot toward the pulsing musical vortex.

Is everybody in town here?

Is the entire town here?

The crowd was a melting pot of ages, incomes, and attitudes; the smell of noodles and pizza permeated the air. Walking among the masses, an irrepressible smile overtook my face. It seemed the whole crowd had a little snap in their step, a thrill to their voices, and a glow to their smiles.

Another fun summer evening

Much of this euphoria, I found, was people’s appreciation of a fun social culmination to a great summer day spent outdoors. Among other anecdotes, I overheard a couple guys describe their adventure to Ross Peak  it included a bike ride to the saddle where they dismounted and set out on foot toward the summit. They climbed up, struggled down, and loved every moment of it. Now they were here, dancing and laughing and raising beer cups to an incredible day in the Bozone.

For my part, I ran into people from both work and school, and also made completely new friends. Before I knew it, my roommate’s reluctance had changed to boundless enthusiasm, and I could barely keep up with him as he mingled and danced around the street.

Dancing to the music

Caught up in the music

There’s an unspoken agreement among Bozemanites that everyone must go to Music on Main at least once — the idea being, it’s the people who make it great, so it’s one’s civic duty to attend. Now in its second decade, the event has become a summer staple for locals and visitors alike. Kudos to the Downtown Bozeman Association, which organizes the event, and to you — the people of Bozeman — for making Music on Main such a success.

For more information, visit downtownbozeman.org

Poke the Bear

A Griz and a Bobcat walk into a bar… 

by the editors

Cat-Griz-Helmets_LR

The Cat-Griz rivalry is a nasty one, and we’re here to throw some salt on the wound. At this year’s annual gridiron get-together, keep one or two of these up your sleeve.

  • Why do Griz grads put their diplomas on the dashboards of their cars?
    To qualify for handicapped parking.
  • What do you call a Grizzly with a Big Sky Conference championship ring?
    A thief.
  • What’s the difference between the Griz and a dollar bill?
    You can still get four quarters out of a dollar.
  • What does the average UM player get on his SATs?
    Drool.
  • How do you get a UM grad off your porch?
    Pay him for the pizza.
  • What are the longest three years of a UM football player’s life?
    Freshman year.
  • How many UM freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
    Not sure—that’s a sophomore course at UM.
  • Do you know why the Griz were considering changing their team name to “the Possums”?
    Because they play dead at home and get killed on the road.
  • What’s the difference between a Griz fan and a carp?
    One is a bottom-feeding scum-sucker—the other is a fish.

Pack Mentality

by Taylor Burlage

Clubs and Orgs for the outdoor oriented.

As a Bozemanite born and bred, fighting for wild places has always come naturally to me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that this penchant for outdoor activism is as easy as breathing for many Montanans. In the spirit of this great state, MSU has fostered a vibrant community of student groups and organizations dedicated to enjoying the recreational opportunities we have here, while simultaneously fighting to protect those public lands for future generations.

Students gathered for a club meeting.

Students gathered for a club meeting.

Whether you hunt, ski, fish, climb, hike, or just want to get outside, there are a handful of student-led groups comprised of people from across the country that are worth checking out. Here are a few:

Montana Wild Collective members take action by inspiring their peers to get outside and advocate for wild places. Often meeting up in the woods for an after-school hike or a weekend cabin trip, they know how to get wild.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers promotes engagement in, and advocates for, backcountry hunting and angling, the conservation of public lands and wilderness, and the protection of fish and wildlife that rely on clean water and wild habitat. BHA holds loads of fun events that are both educational and fun, whether you are new to hunting and fishing, or an old hat at both.

Backcountry Squatters is an all-ladies club that aims to encourage engagement and leadership in the outdoor community by creating club outings and clinics that are focused on increasing the skills, connections, and support necessary for women to reach their full potential in the natural world.

SNOW (Sustainability Now) aims to provide an atmosphere for students to define and accomplish projects with a sustainability focus. Reducing food waste, banning plastic water bottles, and advocating for biking in Bozeman are just a few examples of what SNOW does.

These are just a few of the many outdoor-oriented student-led clubs. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Click here for more information on student organizations.

Taylor Burlage is an MSU junior and the campus coordinator for Outside Media Group.

Great Escapes

by the editors

Some suggestions this road trip season.

Road-trips are a quintessential college experience: plan the route, gather the crew, pack the rig, and hit the highway. While most big trips are reserved for the freedom of summer, Montana is full of weekend escapes for every season.

Fall

After settling in for the semester, plan a circumnavigation of the Madison Range. Leaving campus Friday afternoon, your first stop should be a campsite in Gallatin Canyon, along Storm Castle Creek. There’s a Forest Service campground with several spots, but push past it and set up further upstream. If you bike, spend the evening pedaling the dirt road up the burned-out drainage. Prefer hiking? Backtrack to the Storm Castle trailhead and make your way up this Bozeman-area classic.

Back at camp, cook something hot and hearty; you’ll need the energy and by this time of year, evening temps can dip below freezing. Build a roaring fire and pass the hot cocoa to the left-hand side.

Taking a study break in the mountains.

Odds are, a cold morning will have you up early. After cooking eggs and bacon over an open fire, and mixing up some cowboy coffee, head south toward Big Sky. Climbers should stop at Gallatin Tower right along the river, or head across the river and climb the Waltz. Anglers will be relieved to see that the tourist hordes of summer have largely dissipated. The Gallatin is once again a locals’ playground.

If you bike, head for the Porcupine trailhead, just south of Big Sky. There are a few several-mile loops you can put together, but keep it short and sweet as lunch will be calling. If you’ve dawdled, hit up the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill. They don’t open until 3pm, but their ribs are worth waiting for. If it’s earlier in the day (and hopefully it is), backtrack to Sola’s Big Sky location for sandwiches and salads. If you can stand it, book it to West Yellowstone and lunch there. After eating, stop in at Freeheel and Wheel for a coffee before getting back on the road.

It’ll be late afternoon at this point, so head west past Hebgen Lake and find a spot at the Beaver Creek campground, or along any Forest Service road at a dispersed site. Beaver Creek boasts impressive aspen groves, and by this time of year, they’ll be bright yellow or blaze orange. Plus there’s the added benefit of camping on Quake Lake, which is full of trout.

The Gravelly Range in Ennis, MT.

The Gravelly Range near Ennis, MT

In the morning, make haste for Ennis, about 45 miles north on Hwy. 287. Grab breakfast in town before picking a trail to hike. There are lots of options on the west side of the Madison Range, but this is serious griz country, so have your bear spray handy. After exhausting yourself with a strenuous foray into the wilderness, a soak at Norris Hot Springs is a welcome reward. Once adequately loosened up, it’s just a short hour drive back to Bozeman.

Winter

A winter road-trip is a great way to keep things interesting during the monotony of Bozeman’s longest season, and Red Lodge is the ideal destination.

For one, it’s relatively close. Leaving campus on Friday afternoon, you can pull into town before nightfall. Book a room at the Yodeler Motel for some classic ski-town décor, then walk downtown to Foster & Logan’s for some hearty pub fare. Don’t overdo it, as you’ll want to rise early for a full ski day at Red Lodge Mountain. On good snow years, there’s interesting terrain for all skill levels. When Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, embrace the local ski-hill vibe and the steep, long groomers.

Apres at Fosters & Logan.

Apres at Fosters & Logan’s.

Once you’ve gotten your vertical fill, check out Mas Taco on Main Street. Pick and choose from their extensive taco menu, or fill up on their burrito special. Pass the evening soaking in the Yodeler’s hot tub.

In the morning, make the rounds at the Red Lodge Nordic Center. They groom trails for skiers of all abilities and rentals are available in town at the Sylvan Peak Mountain Shoppe. On your way out of town, grab an early lunch at Café Regis. If it’s later in the day, take the long way home, making a pit stop in Roscoe at the Grizzly Bar. Think meat and lots of it. After gorging yourself, cruise to the interstate for the straight-shot drive back to Bozeman.

Skiing at Red Lodge

Skiing at Red Lodge Mountain

Spring

By the time spring rolls around, most Bozemanites are itching to ditch the snow for some desert sun. While we can’t blame them, we’re satisfied with the Treasure State’s outdoor offerings, and you will be too.

Instead of driving ten hours to Moab, head west on the interstate for 30 minutes toward Three Forks. If you bike, stop at Copper City a few miles north on Hwy. 287. If you climb, continue on to Pipestone, where the Queen and King crags await. This is also a great place for early-season camping, as the ground dries out before most mountain sites. There are dozens of trails for motorized and non-motorized users alike.

Camping with a view in Pipestone.

Camping with a view at Pipestone

Pipestone can handle bigger crowds, so make a party of it, making sure to clean up after yourselves. Bring the grill, as much meat as you can possibly eat, and all the car-camping luxuries you can think of.

You’ll likely sleep in Saturday morning, and that’s okay—your next stop isn’t far. Hop on I-90 and head west into Butte. If you’re already in need of some lunch, stop at Metals Sports Bar & Grill for massive burgers. Well-fueled, push north on I-15 to Helena. This is Montana’s mountain-biking mecca. There are miles of trail that tend to dry out early, and many end at Blackfoot Brewing. If you aren’t 21, fret not—the Capital City has other excellent food-and-drink options. Also, non-bikers shouldn’t be discouraged from using Helena’s trails; they’re great for trail running and early-season wildflower viewing as well.

Like most Montana cities, Helena is surrounded by public land. Head up any Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management road to find a campsite. If you prefer having a picnic table and a fire ring, book campground sites ahead of time here.

A pack of pals enjoying the singletrack

In the morning, take Hwy. 287 south to Townsend, making sure to stop for some fishing on the Missouri River or canoeing on Canyon Ferry Reservoir. This time of year, waterfowl abound and this a great place for watching them in their element. Lunch at the Full Belli Deli is highly encouraged—their sandwiches are fantastic, and you can pick up a bag of jerky for snacking on later.

Continue south along Hwy. 287 until you make it back to Three Forks—but before making haste for Bozeman, check out Missouri Headwaters State Park. Here, the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers converge to form the Mighty Mo. The park has trails and interpretive signs with historical information, and the river-bottom cottonwood groves provide cover for moose, deer, and other critters.

Cap the weekend off with steak fingers at Sir Scott’s Oasis in Manhattan before rolling back to campus.

Back to school we go.

Back to Bozeman we go

For more road-trip ideas and summer options, check out Outside Bozeman’s weekender guide.