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10 finest hikes in Montana to expertise – hand baggage solely

Montana is probably the most unique state in the US (at least when it comes to nature)! From the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the serene prairie and plains, it’s a breathtaking region from which to explore the great outdoors. Regardless of which region you visit, there are some of the best hikes in Montana that will take you straight to these natural gems.

From an international perspective, Montana doesn’t seem like the first port of call when exploring the best spots in the US. But trust me, it’s beautiful. I was here on a road trip from New York State to Los Angeles that was a hike in itself … but one set of bikes made things a lot easier!

Anyway, I’m hiking away one more time, but wanted to share some of the best hikes in Montana to explore while touring the state. I chose a number of walks. If you’re as picky as Goldilocks with her porridge, you’ll at least find one that’s perfect for you …

… watch out for the bears!

Have the best time hiking Montana

1.) Black Canyon Lake Trail, Custer National Forest

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Nestled in the magnificent Beartooth Mountains, this tough 14-mile trail is hands down an expert hike. It’s tough, you will work up a sweat and need to prepare thoroughly to fully complete this hike – but you will be the reward with the most epic views.

The first part of the hike (starting at the end of Lake Fork Road) is relatively moderate – well, if you’re a seasoned hiker. A few miles further you have the option of following a side trail (if safe) down to Lost Lake, which is certainly worth the extra minutes and the short but steep detour.

About halfway there the trail gets a lot harder. It can be tricky in the colder months. So only go out if you are familiar with the trail or have experience in conquering these snow-covered hikes.

Make no mistake, the real gem of this hike is arriving at Black Canyon Lake itself which is beautiful. The colorful turquoise lake sits at the base of majestic Beartooth Mountain and the graphics are just so unique.

Attention, you are in bear sanctuary here. So hike responsibly and read these bear safety tips if you are not sure.

Read more: Best National Parks in the US

2.) The Boulder Pass Trail in Glacier National Park

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The Boulder Pass Trail is one of the best hikes in Montana when in Glacier National Park. It’s incredibly breathtaking, and at around thirty miles in total, you’ll see some of the best enjoying the scenery in all of Glacier National Park.

From the trailhead at Kintla Lakes, travel approximately nineteen miles to beautiful Boulder Pass, which overlooks the infamous Hole in the Wall waterfall. Now it’s worth noting that the walk to Boulder Pass is hard to say, but the views are just too good to miss.

Be aware that you are in a very remote hinterland here. So pack enough suitable equipment and be aware that the weather can change quickly. If you are not sure, don’t go. If you go, visit the National Parks Service website for the most up-to-date information about hiking in the park.

While you want to bring a good supply of food and water with you, this is grizzly bear sanctuary. Therefore, observe the precautionary measures when storing food and / or cooking.

Oh, and while you’re in the area, give your legs a break and go canoeing on the lake. Simply stunning, simply gorgeous.

Read more: Best Hikes in the US

3.) Danny on the Memorial Trail in the Flathead National Forest

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This Whitefish trail pays homage to Danny On, a man who was not just a photographer and an ecologist, but also a genuine passion for Montana and its beauty that inspired many others to explore Big Sky Country.

The moderate hike is a little under six miles, and while you will experience some difficult elevation changes, the view above offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Big Sky.

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If you do this hike in spring, you will have the chance to experience the beautiful wildflowers that also cover the area!

Read more: Best Hikes in the US

4.) Grinnell Glacier Trail, Glacier National Park

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A toughie, but a goodie!

If you’re ever in Glacier National Park, you need to save time to complete this 11+ mile hike to the most visited glacier in the area.

You’ll begin your journey on the scenic shores of Swiftcurrent Lake before quickly gaining altitude (this means it can get tough on your legs at times).

Now don’t be fooled by the “slow start” of this hike, it’s one of the ones that get nicer as you move higher. Plus, there’s a very good chance you’ll spot some native wildlife such as bighorn sheep, elk, and possibly even bears. However, if you see that a bear is acting responsibly, follow all safety warnings.

Although the climb is quite strenuous, it’s worth it for the breathtaking views of the magnificent glacier and its ethereally beautiful blue lake! The view alone certainly makes it one of the best hikes in Montana.

Also don’t forget that you have to pay a fee to enter the national park. Currently that’s around £ 35 per vehicle.

Read more: Best National Parks in the US

5.) Hidden Lake Overlook Trail, Glacier National Park

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The Hidden Lake Overlook Trail is another of the best hikes in Montana, right in Glacier National Park. It’s much easier than the Grinnell Glacier Trail.

I don’t think it’s a walk in the park, but there are still a few spots that make these skills moderate. About 3 miles, this hike is short and sweet, this is a wonderful day hike for anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Glacier National Park without the obligation of a longer, more strenuous hike.

The trail starts behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center (nice and easy) and goes over the Hidden Pass before arriving at the lookout point.

From here you have a breathtaking view of the beautiful lake and the Sperry Glacier Basin. The round trip takes just under a mile and a half each, and the pace is relatively easy. However, if you want to continue on your way to the lakeshore from the lookout point, be prepared for a very steep, strenuous hike, mile in each direction!

6.) Highline Trail

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The Highline Trail (here the reference point from Google Maps) is in Glacier National Park and is quite difficult.

You’ll begin your hike at magnificent Logan’s Pass and traverse some of the park’s most spectacular scenery, including streams and breathtaking avalanche slides.

During spring, the beauty of this hike is enhanced by the profusion of alpine flowers and rushing streams fed by melting snow. The highlight of this hike is the breathtaking panoramic view of the Logan Valley from the summit. Be sure to pack lunch as this is a wonderful place to relax and have a picnic before starting the hike back.

7.) Lava lake, Custer Gallatin National Forest

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Located in Gallatin Canyon, this is one of the most popular hikes in the region. While the entire hike is a day hike, the difference in altitude increases between the start of the starting point and the lake itself is important. So stop and take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue. After all, this is not a beginner’s hike!

You will cross beautiful Cascade Creek before arriving at Lava Lake, which lies in the crater of a volcano long ago. There is a wide variety of wildlife here, including pika, deer and many songbirds.

8.) Mount Aeneas Summit Trail, Flathead National Forest

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Often nominated as the most accessible peaks in Montana, this hike is near the town of Bigfork, which stretches for four miles.

Despite being one of the most accessible peaks in the state, this hike is still extremely difficult. Don’t try this hike if you are used to easy to moderate trails.

To set the context, the hardest part of the trail is the mile or so of the up turns, although there are some steep sections after that too.

Once you get to the top, your efforts are rewarded with panoramic views of Glacier National Park as well as the Flathead Valley itself.

Read more: Best Hikes in the US

9.) Mystic Lake Trail, Custer Gallatin National Forest

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Just under six miles, this moderately difficult hike is unique and perfect if you’re looking to explore the wilderness of the Beartooth Mountains.

On the way there you dare to venture through an impressive rock field that is very exposed. So plan your trip so that you will not be hiking in this area during the hottest part of the day. This can make the hike very difficult!

Once you get to the lookout point, you will be faced with some of the most beautiful scenery. These are the views you chose, and because of that, easily make it one of the best hikes in Montana.

Spend some time exploring the lake, considered to be both the deepest and the largest in the Beartooth region.

10.) Palisade Falls, Bozeman

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Just outside Bozeman (10-15 minutes drive) is this easy and very popular hike that hikers of all ages will love. Just over a mile long, it’s one of the easiest and best hikes in Montana if you want a quick getaway.

Along the way, follow the path to the magnificent waterfalls which are a wonderful place to stop. Now, if you really want to see the power of the falls, head here in spring. As you can see, the increasing amount of precipitation and melting snow make the falls an even more impressive sight.

Note that the trail can be quite crowded. It’s best to start early in the morning if you can.

Read more: Best National Parks in the US

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