11 Fun Big Sky Hikes That Don't Take All Day

What inspires you to get outside in Big Sky? Is it the majestic mountains, the lack of big city life distractions, the endless forests, or the pursuit of outdoor recreation? Exploring Big Sky's backyard is always fun.

Unfortunately, sometimes we don't have all day to spend in the mountains. That's why it's good to know about a handful of Big Sky hikes that don't take all day. Every hike on this list is less than 8 miles round trip. 

Are you ready to discover some Big Sky hikes that don't take all day?

  1. Rat Lake - 1.75 Miles, 250' Round Trip - One of the shortest hikes on this list, and possibly the one with the least appealing name, the hike to Rat Lake provides quick and easy access to a nice lake. Rat Lake | Photo: D. Lennon 
  2. Rat Lake | Photo: D. Lennon
  3. Ulery's Lake - 4 Miles, 560' Round Trip - Ulery's Lake is a leisurely hike that begins and ends near the Moonlight Lodge. It skirts the ski area and loops around the scenic Ulery's Lake.
    UIery's Lake Trail | Photo: D. Lennon
    UIery's Lake Trail | Photo: D. Lennon
  4. Golden Trout Lakes - 5 Miles, 1300' Round Trip - Located on the Portal Creek FS Road, the trail to Golden Trout Lakes is well traveled and ends at a series of stunning lakes in the Gallatin Range. Golden Trout Lakes | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
    Golden Trout Lakes | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
  5. Storm Castle Peak - 5 Miles, 1900' Round Trip - The Storm Castle Peak trail is steep. You have to earn this rocky Montana summit, but it's well worth the effort.
    View From Storm Castle Peak | Photo: D. Lennon
    View From Storm Castle Peak | Photo: D. Lennon
  6. Uplands & Hummocks - 5.1 Miles Round Trip - Located in Big Sky Town Center these two trails can be hiked together or solo. Hummocks Trail (2.85 miles, 400') travels through forests and wetlands. Uplands Trail (2.2 miles, 460') heads uphill and offers amazing views of Big Sky and Lone Mountain.
    Uplands Trail | Photo: D. Lennon
    Uplands Trail | Photo: D. Lennon
  7. Hidden Lakes - 5.85 Miles, 1700' Round Trip - One of the more popular trails on the Portal Creek Road, Hidden Lakes Trail accesses a series of alpine lakes in the Gallatin Range.
    Hidden Lakes | Photo: D. Lennon
    Hidden Lakes | Photo: D. Lennon
  8. Lava Lake - 6 miles, 1600' Round Trip - Lava Lake is one of the most popular hikes in the Gallatin Canyon. The trail follows Cascade Creek to the scenic Lava Lake at 7115'.
    Lava Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
    Lava Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
  9. Gallatin Riverside Trail - 6.2 miles, 600' Round Trip - The Gallatin Riverside trail follows the flowing Gallatin River from the 35 MPH Bridge on 191 and at the Storm Castle Creek TH.
    Storm Castle Peak as seen from the Gallatin Riverside Trail | Photo: A Mountain Journey
    Storm Castle Peak as seen from the Gallatin Riverside Trail | Photo: A Mountain Journey
  10. Beehive Basin - 6.6 Miles, 1625' Round Trip - Starting at nearly 8000', the Beehive Basin Trail meanders through forests and meadows before it passes an unnamed lake in a high alpine cirque.
    Unnamed Lake in Beehive Basin | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
    Unnamed Lake in Beehive Basin | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
  11. Albino Lake - 7.25 Miles, 625' Round Trip - The Albino Lake trail starts and ends on the Taylor Fork road south of Big Sky. This loop trail wanders through meadows with stunning views of the Taylor Hilgard Unit across Albino Lake.
    Albino Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
    Albino Lake | Photo: AMountainJourney.com
  12. Garnet Mountain - 8 miles, 2850' Round Trip - Garnet Mountain sits at 8245' in the Gallatin Range and can easily be seen driving south on 191. The trail leads uphill to the summit where a old FS cabin is located.
    Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout | Photo: D. Lennon
    Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout | Photo: D. Lennon

Are there other fantastic hikes out there that don't take all day? Of course! Pick up a map of the area at one of the local outdoor shops, download a map from the Big Sky Community Organization, or grab a Big Sky guidebook to discover even more hiking adventures. You'll be amazed at all of the hiking opportunities that exist in Big Sky Country. Just remember to bring your bear spray!

What's your favorite Big Sky hike?

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