Grillin' Season

Where to BBQ this spring.

Typically, we think of summer as the season of cooking outdoors. But with the valley mostly dry and temps rising every day, why wait? There are plenty of opportunities to get out and grill before day-use sites are overrun and dry weather increases the fire danger. Here are a few to consider.

Greek Creek Campground
If temps keep rising and the sun keeps shining, the Gallatin will be blown out in no time. But for now, the fishing is still good and the crowds haven't shown up yet. From Greek Creek, you can access several sort-of-dry hikes and great fishing without going too far. Better yet, get the boat or raft out and float the Gallatin before returning to camp for a cook-out. Come summer, the sites throughout the canyon will be overrun, so this is a great time to take advantage of the easy access. 

Riverside brats always taste better.

Bear Trap Canyon
If you're looking for dry ground and beautiful views, Bear Trap is the place to be. Set up shop at any of the campsites along the dirt road to the Bear Trap Canyon trailhead, then hike along the Madison, stopping at your leisure to cast for trout, bird-watch, or dip your tired feet in the river. If you're in the mood for more of a cardio workout, throw on your trail-runners and go up to seven miles one-way on the riverside trail. Back at camp, cold beer awaits as you prep your meat of choice. After the sun goes down, the canyon's towering walls offer an excellent frame for stargazing. 

North Cottonwood Creek
There might be no better place in the valley to watch a sunset than the trailhead parking lot for North Cottonwood Creek. Located on the west side of the Bridgers, North Cottonwood meanders through a sagebrush meadow before disappearing into the thick timber along the trail's namesake creek. It's spring, which means there's still snow up high, so if you plan on making a day of it, bring snowshoes. If you just want to enjoy the valley as nightfall descends, bring along the camp stove and make sure you have one with an included grill. A view like this one calls for something classy to drink... like a box of wine, red or white.  

Dinner with a view.

Hyalite Reservoir
For now, the road is still closed. But come May 1, the canyon opens up again and if you plan well, you can avoid crowds and have the place basically to yourself. There are several options around the lake, so pick your poison from the established day-use sites to the overnight campgrounds and informal dispersed sites. The views can't be beat as the sun sets across the towering peaks of the northern Gallatin Range. The fishing should be good and there will still be skiing opportunities high in the alpine for the more adventurous souls. You'll probably find us drifting along the lake's shore in a canoe, sipping Montucky and dreaming about summer excursions and the slow-cooking brats back on the grill.

Your Back Yard
While getting out and finding a special place to enjoy a spring BBQ is great, we don't always have the time. But that shouldn't discourage you from eating outside. If you have a yard, use it. Before you know it, the snow will be falling again.