Peak-bagging in the northern Gallatins.
What better way to spend a fall day than summiting our backyard playground’s namesake peak? It isn’t the highest—Chisholm and Bole share that distinction—or the most challenging, but it is perhaps the most rewarding, with 360-degree views stretching as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, that’s clear across the Gallatin Crest to Yellowstone and beyond. This season, a peak-bagging mission is on our Hit List, and you should add it to yours.
Who: Those of you who have been putting it off for any number of reasons. Too crowded. Too far. Already done it. Too cold. If the weather is threatening rain or snow, buck up and bundle up. Take a day and finally get there. If you’ve been before, fall is the perfect time to revisit a classic and see it in a whole new light.
Summit views will not disappoint
What: A nearly perfect pyramid rising high to the big blue sky from the far reaches of Hyalite Creek canyon. The West Fork of Hyalite Creek pours over the lip of Hyalite Lake, cascading nearly five miles before its impoundment at Hyalite Reservoir. While the views from the peak will not disappoint, the scenery along the way is spectacular, as well. If you’re feeling ultra ambitious, take a side trip into the Divide Creek drainage, where real solitude awaits.
When: From now until the heavy snows start, which could be any day. Hyalite Peak melts out completely in the summer, so new snow accumulation has to be significant to block passage to the summit. Having said that, the seasons can change in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want to caught high in the alpine when a blizzard comes calling. Check the weather and wait for a clear window.
Views from the trail rival those from the peak
Where: Head up to the Grotto Falls parking lot at the far south end of Hyalite. Follow the Hyalite Creek trail to Hyalite Lake. Snap a photo before backtracking slightly to a signed junction for Hyalite Peak. From the junction, the peak is two miles farther.
Your ultimate destination, as seen from the Hyalite Lake junction
Why: Because we have to maximize our time outside before winter is upon the land. While the high peaks are already dusted in snow, the real deep freeze is a ways off. Get it while the getting is good.