A FEAST FOR THE EYES: Mount Blackmore in Gallatin Valley offers one of area’s most stunning vistas

Dwight Harriman
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It’s really hard to equal the vistas afforded by hiking Park County’s highest peaks, but Mount Blackmore south of Bozeman in Gallatin County does the job.

Summiting the 10,154-foot Mount Blackmore reveals stunning vistas where you can, in one awe-inspiring, 360-degree sweep, see the Bridgers, Spanish Peaks, Gallatin, Crazies, Tobacco Roots and Absaroka mountain ranges, including, in the latter range, Park County’s own Livingston Peak.

It’s a great day hike if you are looking for a change from local treks. But be prepared to put some effort into it. It’s about 11 miles round trip, and includes a 3,434 elevation gain. It takes six to seven hours total to hike.

In some ways, the trek is similar to hiking to Pine Creek Lake, which has almost the same exact elevation gain — about 3,400 feet — and is about 10 miles round trip. However, the Blackmore hike doesn’t seem quite as brutally steep as the Pine Creek Lake trail. 

Another similarity to Pine Creek is that the Mount Blackmore trail is heavily traveled. No surprise, since it starts at the popular Hyalite Reservoir recreation area. So be prepared for a fair amount of company on your trek, but the views at the top of Blackmore are ridiculously worth it.

The trail features a small, tranquil lake at the right of the trail an hour and half or so up, which makes a nice place to stop for a rest. It also features explosions of wildflowers and small creeks along the way — nice if you are taking a dog or a water filter. However, for at least the last hour of the hike, there’s no water.

To get to the trailhead, get on Bozeman’s Kagy Avenue and go till you hit South 19th Avenue, then turn left (south). Stay on South 19th until you reach Hyalite Canyon Road, then turn left and follow the road to the Hyalite Reservoir area, where you’ll see trailhead signs.

For a great workout and some of the most amazing vistas in Montana, try the Mount Blackmore hike before summer runs out.