Hiking stands as a favorite pastime in Big Sky, and its popularity is well-deserved. Beyond the sheer joy of exploring the great outdoors, it offers a plethora of benefits — from rejuvenating our mental and physical well-being to being gentle on our wallets. It's the ideal budget-friendly activity for families seeking both adventure and affordability.
We've handpicked five kid-friendly hikes that will captivate young explorers from novice groups to intermediates. Slip on your hiking boots and join us as we uncover the best trails for little adventurers in Big Sky!
Ousel Falls - The Ousel Falls Trail is Big Sky's most popular hike, drawing visitors from all age groups and abilities. Located just outside of Town Center, this well-maintained trail is perfect for a day out with the kids. If you’re short on time, we would make Ousel Falls a must-see. Bring a camera and follow the river to the scenic Ousel Falls overlook!
Hummocks and Uplands Trails Via Adam’s Connector - Adam’s connector is a new addition to the BSCO trail system, offering a fun way to experience both Hummocks and Uplands in one expansive loop. Hummocks trail consists of a series of loops through pristine forest, while Uplands heads uphill and offers stunning views of Big Sky and Lone Peak. Both Hummocks and Uplands are considered moderately difficult with some easier meadow sections. For an adventure-minded family – These trails are a perfect day out.
South Fork Loop (Storybook Trail) – If you’re looking to avoid the crowds at Ousel Falls but still want to entertain the kiddos, we recommend South Fork Loop. This 1-mile trail now features a storybook told one page at a time as you make your way along. The South Fork Loop is an easy trail that starts as an old logging road and eventually becomes single-track, looping back around to create one large lollipop shape. This is a suitable hike for very young kids, but also a great additional trail for ambitious families wanting to tack on a second hike in a day.
Huckleberry - If you're staying at Big Sky Resort's Mountain Village, the Huckleberry trail should be on your family’s activity list. This trail begins and ends at the base of the Swift Current lift and is a hiking-only trail. Huckleberry can be completed in one of two ways. The first is to hike both up and back down for a total of 3 miles. Although a short distance, this trail covers 700 feet of elevation change, making this option a bit more challenging. The second way to hike Huckleberry involves a bit more adventure and a ride on the explorer chairlift. Lift tickets can be purchased at basecamp, and families can ride up and then make the 1.5-mile hike downhill.
Little Willow Way– Among the most leisurely trails on our list, Little Willow Way offers a delightful river-walk experience along the West Fork of the Gallatin River. This non-strenuous hike is perfect for beginners or slower hikers, and is a popular walk for families with dogs.
As a bonus, you can extend this hike by adding the Black Diamond Trail to make it a complete loop. The Black Diamond Trail is a more moderate hike and loops uphill and back through the forest to the parking lot.
Bonus Hike: Beehive Basin - For families accustomed to hiking and seeking more adventure, we highly recommend tackling the Beehive Basin trail. This is a Big Sky classic. Starting at 7,900', the Beehive Basin Trail provides access to stunning alpine terrain. Covering a total of 6.6 miles roundtrip and 1500 vertical feet, the Beehive Basin trail is an intermediate trail, but we can say from experience that the views are worth the effort.
We encourage visitors to Big Sky to recreate responsibly: plan ahead, be prepared, and understand your limits. Always bring lots of water, extra layers, and bear spray anytime you hit the trails. Missing supplies? Visit our local outdoor retail shops for all your hiking needs: Christy Sports, East Slope Outdoors, Gallatin Alpine Sports, and Hey Bear. Remember to leave no trace and pack out all items, including all fruit and vegetable peels, and remember to clean up after your pets. Many hiking areas have conveniently placed pet bags and garbage cans.