Length: 8.4-mile loop
Duration: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Activities: Mountain biking, hiking, trail-running, skiing
Crowds: Light traffic
Just northwest of Big Sky, this loop is a favorite among thrill-seeking (expert) mountain bikers, but North Fork's versatility has something for everyone. The trail follows the North Fork of the Gallatin for the first 3 miles, making for an excellent out-and-back day hike. The trail continues up to the ridge between Beehive and North Fork, then returns down Ridge Trail. At 3 miles, you'll reach a posted junction; veer left to take the North Fork Tie Trail. When you reach the unpaved Ridge Rd., take the left fork. Follow the Ridge Trail signs across the dirt road, then begin your descent. Near the end of the loop, turn left on the forested dirt road. Carry bear spray.
This trail is used year-round by Nordic and downhill skiers, but it takes a while to dry up in the spring.
From downtown Bozeman, head west on Huffine Ln. toward Four Corners. From there, take a left onto Hwy. 191 toward Big Sky and drive 34 miles. At mile marker 48, turn right onto Big Sky Spur Rd. (Hwy. 64), and continue 5 miles to North Fork Rd. on your right. Turn right and drive one mile to the posted trailhead on your left.