Distance: 4 miles round trip
Time: 1-2 hours
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Not to be confused with the Stone Creek Trail portion of the Bangtail Divide, this jaunt follows the gated Stone Creek Road along its namesake waterway. This canyon drains out of the Bangtail Mountains on the east side of Bridger Canyon, directly south of Grassy Mountain. The creek begins at a 7,700-foot ridge and tumbles 2,300 feet downhill in 4.4 miles to Bridger Creek. Stone Creek Road winds through a beautiful rolling mountain and meadow landscape. It is more of a stroll through the mountains than a backcountry hike, as the trail begins on a vehicle-restricted logging road. The road heads up the drainage on a gradual incline along the north bank of cascading Stone Creek. This is also a popular cross-country ski trail.
From Main Street in downtown Bozeman, head north on North Rouse Avenue. Drive 1 2 miles up Bridger Canyon to Stone Creek Road on the right. (After crossing Griffin Drive, Rouse Avenue becomes Bridger Canyon Drive/Highway 86.) Turn right and continue 1.2 miles to the posted trailhead parking area on the left.
Walk east up forested Stone Creek Road, crossing over Stone Creek. Pass the Bangtail Divide Trail on the right at 50 yards, reaching the vehicle restricted gate a short distance ahead. Go around the gate and head gently uphill, parallel to Stone Creek. Pass a home tucked into a side canyon on the left. At 0.5 miles, an old abandoned log house sits to the right of the trail by Stone Creek. While traversing the north canyon hillside above the creek, pass a small cluster of homes on the left. At 1.2 miles, the Moody Creek Trail heads north up Moody Gulch. Stay on the Stone Creek Road to the end of the draw at 2 miles. The road curves sharply to the right and crosses Stone Creek, continuing to the right. A posted foot trail leaves the road at this curve and crosses the creek to the left. This is the turn-around spot.
From here, the trail ascends steeply out of the canyon. The trail gains 1,400 feet to the Bangtail Divide Trail, overlooking the Bangtail Creek drainage, Shields Valley, and the Crazy Mountains.