Bear Canyon Trail

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 Bear Canyon Trail


Length: 4.4 miles (round-trip to the most popular turnaround), 18 miles (round-trip to Bear Lakes), or 15 miles (one-way to Chestnut Mountain Trailhead) 

Duration: 1 to 8 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Elevation Gain: 400 to 1,700 feet 

Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, trail running, fishing

Crowds: Moderate to heavy traffic


About
Bear Canyon is a stream-fed canyon that drains the area between Mount Ellis and Chestnut Mountain southeast of Bozeman. The Bear Canyon trail follows Bear Creek up the lush, shady canyon and eventually to Bear Lakes. This trail stays close to the cascading waters of the creek, gaining relatively little elevation and making for a very pleasant hike. Beyond the turnaround for this hike, the trail climbs to Bear Lakes at 6,900 feet, and ties into the Chestnut Mountain trail at 15 miles in. Drop a shuttle vehicle at either trailhead for a day-long adventure. Carry bear spray. 

Seasonal Conditions
Only foot traffic is allowed from April 1 to July 16; then are mountain bikes allowed on the trail. During spring and early summer, the trail can be muddy in shaded areas. The trail is rocky, so navigating in snow and ice is difficult but doable. 

Directions 
Head east on I-90 and take the Bear Canyon exit, the first exit east of Bozeman. Turn right on Bozeman Trail Rd. and then make a quick left onto Bear Canyon Rd. Drive approximately 4 miles to the parking area at the end of the road. 
 

Robert Stone's Bear Canyon Map

Map courtesy of Robert Stone's Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana.

Lat:
45.608913112211276
Lon:
-110.92363357543945
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