Nothing says the start of summer in Montana like watching the wildflowers bloom as you explore some of the area’s best trails. In Montana, wildflowers typically bloom from late April to July – all dependent on the elevation. Knoff Group Real Estate has assembled a list of some of our favorite trails in the area to enjoy the spectacular natural color show of wildflowers.
The College M Trail is one of Bozeman’s most frequented trails, and for good reason. Its close proximity to town and shorter duration makes it a convenient after-work or weekend option. In the springtime you can catch a glimpse of stunning yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot wildflowers all throughout the trail. Once you hit the top of the M, you’ll have a beautiful view of the blooming hillside.
Drinking Horse is another Bozeman favorite, located right across the street from the College M Trail. Make your way up the trail and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of Arrowleaf Balsamroot – a bright yellow wildflower that you can’t miss. Sometimes, you’ll even see a dark pink Shooting Stars and purple Lupines taking over the trail’s open fields.
Kirk Hill is a 1.4-mile out-and-back loop off of S 19th Avenue, on the way to Hyalite Canyon. During late spring to early summer, this trail provides gorgeous wildflower sightings – including Shooting Stars, Penstemons, Glacier Lilys, and more. It’s one of the less-trafficked trails on this list.
Sypes Canyon is a moderately difficult trail that has various mileage options, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Located 3 miles up Sypes Canyon Road, this trail features a variety of wildflowers from late spring to early summer. If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of Lupine, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, or Larkspur.
Triple Tree Trail is located south of Bozeman, about a 10-minute drive from downtown. It’s a 4.5-mile trail (round-trip) that weaves you in and out of Limestone Creek, stunning aspen groves, and open meadows. If you’re out on the trail after late spring, you’ll likely sight a good collection of beautiful wildflowers.
Chestnut Mountain Trail is located a few miles east from downtown Bozeman, off of Trail Creek Road. It’s 10-mile moderately challenging trail that takes you all the way up to the Chestnut Mountain ridge, with gorgeous surrounding views of the peaks and canyons. In late spring it’s a great place to catch colorful spreads of wildflowers throughout the trail.
Hyalite Canyon Recreation Area is extremely popular, given its close proximity to downtown Bozeman and the good selection of trails suitable for every type of outdoor enthusiast. Whether you decide to explore Grotto Falls or make the trek to Emerald Lake, you’re sure to spot some wildflowers during the end of spring/early summer. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a mixture of Shooting Stars, Yellow Bells, and even some Indian Paintbrush along the trails.
While Bridger Bowl is typically known for its skiing, it’s also a great place for wildflower spottings during the late spring and summer months. Make your way up Bridger Bowl Ridge Trail, a 3.3 mile out-and-back moderate hike, and where you’re sure to see some colorful blooms.
Ousel Falls is a short but stunning waterfall hike located minutes from Big Sky’s Town Center. While this trail is a year-round favorite, it’s exceptionally beautiful during the summer. As you cross over the three bridges to reach the waterfall, keep your eyes peeled for Silvery Lupine, Wild Rose, and Indian Paintbrush.