Ski Tour: History Rock
Approach Distance: 2.5 miles
Approach Gain: 1,900 feet
Skiable Vertical: 900 feet
Duration: 2 to 4 hours
Distance from Bozeman: 30 minutes
Avalanche Hazard*: Low to moderate
A classic Bozeman-area ski tour, History Rock is a great place for beginners and experts alike. It's open east-facing meadows are protected from the wind by tall trees and tend to hold good snow when the higher peaks are getting scoured. The pitch is steep enough to carry speed and make turns in deep powder, but not steep enough to generate large avalanches. Still, there are some isolated terrain features that could produce small slides, so be diligent with your safety procedures. You'll be rewarded with a hefty amount of skiable terrain for a relatively short approach, especially compared with other tours in Hyalite.
Head up Hyalite Canyon Road to the History Rock Trailhead on the right, one mile before the Reservoir.
Due to its popularity, there should be a prominent skin track to follow. Head into the meadow past the trailhead and hang left (south) to follow History Rock Creek. Follow the creek up its drainage to the right (west) and past the namesake rock after one mile. Continue up the drainage until you reach the base of the first open meadow (A). Skin up through switchbacks on the climber's right of the meadow until it flattens out at the top. From here, you can keep skinning up through a second meadow (B), again on the climber's right, following a broad ridge through sparse trees to the top of a third meadow (C). You can stop and ski down at any point along the way, but the snow only gets better as you keep going up. Gaia track here.
To get the most bang for your buck, ski a few laps on this short-but-sweet upper meadow. It's wide enough to pick a different line for fresh tracks on every run. When you're ready to head back to the car, go back the way you came and enjoy the steeper pitches through the first two meadows. Although unlikely, these lower meadows have some terrain that is steep enough to slide, so skiing one-at-a-time is recommended.
History Rock is a popular ski tour, and throughout years of high traffic, has never produced a serious avalanche incident. But it's not out of the question—the History Rock Creek drainage and lower meadows are capable of small slides that could injure you if pushed into a tree. Before heading out, make sure you understand how to identify avalanche terrain, and how to decide whether to avoid it.
*Avalanche hazard refers to terrain risk only. Always travel with a partner and rescue gear, evaluate conditions carefully, and check the forecast before heading out.