Length: 7 miles (round-trip to Bear Trap Creek) to 15 miles (round-trip to the dam)
Duration: 3 to 7 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 to 500 feet
Activities: Hiking, trail running, fishing, camping
Crowds: Moderate to heavy traffic
Bear Trap Canyon is a spectacular drainage encompassing 6,000 acres of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness within the Madison Range. The Madison River rages through the remote, roadless canyon for 9 miles, from Ennis Lake to the Madison River Bridge. You can traverse the trail for as long or short as you'd like; a popular turnaround point is Bear Trap Creek. The trail officially ends at the Madison Dam Powerhouse. Campsites line the trail for the first half of the route, making for a fun and easy day hike and campout. Carry bear spray and watch for rattlesnakes and poison ivy.
Fishing on the Madison from this trail is available year-round. The first part of the path to Bear Trap Creek is a good winter hike with the right gear, but beyond that, rocks and ice on the trail make for unstable footing.
From Four Corners, drive 21 miles west on Hwy. 84. Just before crossing the Madison River, hang a left onto Bear Trap Rd. The trailhead is approximately 3 miles in, at the end of the gravel road.
Map courtesy of Robert Stone's Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana.