Length: 5 miles (round-trip)
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet
Activities: Hiking, trail-running
Crowds: Moderate to heavy traffic
Storm Castle (aka, Castle Rock) is a rocky peak sitting atop the east wall of Gallatin Canyon. The steady up-hill hike begins at Storm Castle Creek and climbs the mountain's south-facing slope to a dramatic, multi-tiered summit, where there are sweeping 360-degree views of the adjacent mountains and canyons.
The gate to the trailhead is locked until mid-spring for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers, so anyone who gets bitten by the hiking bug early will have to park down the road, just behind the Shenago helipad. While the south-facing aspects will be snowless in spring (but probably muddy), the shaded spots can hide a little snow and ice, so snow spikes—or at least decent hiking boots—are a good idea. One last word of caution: this area is notorious for ticks in the spring, so double check pets, kids, and your own nooks and crannies when you get back home.
From Four Corners, take Hwy. 191 south toward Big Sky. Drive 16.7 miles to Storm Castle Rd. between mile-markers 66 and 65. Turn left, cross the bridge over the Gallatin River, and curve to the right. Continue 2 miles to the posted parking area on the left.