Winter recreation in Hyalite Canyon


By Thomas E. Watson
Enterprise Staff Writer


Despite the fact it doesn’t look like winter in Livingston right now, there is actually snow on the ground in some places, and at the Hyalite Reservoir in Hyalite Canyon, there are a ton of winter recreation activities available.

For those worried about road access, the nonprofit Friends of Hyalite contributes to the cost of winter road plowing, along with the Forest Service and Gallatin County. The plowed roads are regularly traveled upon and are completely open, giving visitors access to all areas.

Without these organizations plowing  the road, which began in 2008, convenient access to 95 percent of the canyon would be eliminated.

Because of great road access, Hyalite Canyon claims over 250 ice and mixed climbs. In addition to ice climbing, the Hyalite Reservoir offers ice fishing.

There are also miles and miles of Nordic trails for cross-country skiing, but for those without the necessary gear to do any of these three outdoor winter activities, the trails have seen so much foot traffic that most of the snow is boot-packed.

That means that the trails are easily hikeable even without snowshoes. The trail to Grotto Falls was easily accessible Wednesday without any snow gear, and the hike was quite enjoyable on a day with temperatures in the 20s.

The trail makes its way to the frozen Grotto Falls, but there are a number of other frozen cascades along the trail, including one that required a steep climb up a snowy bank. While the climb up to the frozen waterfall was a little tough, it was worth the climb to slide back down on the icy, packed trail.

There are also sledding hills and powder bowls in Hyalite Canyon, giving everyone from beginners to outdoors experts the chance to enjoy some winter recreation.