Big Sky, Montana is the perfect place to bring your entire family while on vacation – even the furry kids. You will find trails right out most of your accommodations doors. Just look up at the basins and ski trails close by for the many possibilities to hike, snowshoe or skijor with your pup.

I recommend the hike along the back (east) side of the Gallatin at Twin Cabin Trail #46 – Gallatin National Forest. The Big Sky Chamber has a copy of the hiking trail map, which is called Porcupine Creek to Rainbow Ranch Trail. If you drive on Highway 191 towards Yellowstone Park for about 5 miles, turn immediately after Rainbow Ranch, as in the parking lot, travel over the bridge and then turn left. You will enter a turnaround with parking. The dogs love the trail right along the river. The fly-fishermen and women are usually on the other side, but occasionally there might be one on the trail side; especially on weekends! Remember, they will appreciate it if you and your furry friend splash about away from their fishing spot – always be a good neighbor.

Photo by user charlie_golden_barkley, caption reads #charliebarkleyadventures #goldenretriever #yellowstonenationalpark

#charliebarkleyadventures #goldenretriever #yellowstonenationalpark

Follow along the river for about 1 ½ miles and then turn back or travel further to Porcupine, about 3 miles, if you arrange for a shuttle to return you to your vehicle. Round trip would be about 8 miles! And remember - you are in BEAR country. You can always carry bear spray. I always wear a whistle and blow on it all the time. This gives all animals a chance to clear out of your packs way! Sound your whistle whenever you enter trees and cannot see clearly ahead. Watch your dogs – they will always let you know when they smell bear, elk, moose, etc. These are tricks I developed in Alaska while fishing along the shore with bears. Always nice to see them, but at a distance.

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