hyalite reservoir

The Hyalite drainage is snuggled between the Gallatin Canyon and Paradise Valley in the Gallatin National Forest, just a mere 30-minute drive due south from downtown Bozeman. The breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, the backdrop to the Hyalite Reservoir, gives one a glimpse of the wide ranging hiking opportunities the Hyalite area has to offer. You can challenge yourself with more strenuous trails that head up the towering, craggy peaks, or enjoy milder handicapped accessible trails to scenic viewpoints.

And the opportunity to take a dip in the chilly reservoir, fish for a while or to even camp by the water, can top off a great day outdoors.

Here are a few great Hyalite hikes to try:


Grotto Falls/Hyalite Lake


Directions: From Main Street, head south on 19th Ave. seven miles to the left hand turn, marked with a sign for Hyalite Canyon. Drive about 10 miles up the canyon to the reservoir and cross over the bridge to the east side. At the fork, turn right and drive almost two miles to the end of the road at the Grotto Falls/Hyalite Lake trailhead and parking area.

Distance: 2.5 miles round trip to Grotto Falls/11 miles round trip to Hyalite Lake

Description: Meandering along Hyalite Creek, the Grotto Falls Trail is a wide, smooth, gravel, handicapped accessible trail with views of surrounding peaks and beautiful stopping points with benches on the way to the cascading falls. After you reach the falls, the trail narrows, and gets steeper as it climbs 2,000 feet towards Hyalite Lake, passing 10 more waterfalls along the way. Once up at the high alpine lake, Hyalite and Fridley Peaks tower before you.


Palisade Falls (The perfect hike with kids!)


Directions: Once up at Hyalite Reservoir, cross over the bridge to the east side. At the fork, turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the Palisade Falls parking lot.

Distance: 1.2 miles round trip.

Description: A very moderate, paved, handicapped accessible trail leading to the majestic Palisade Falls. Smaller trails wind up to the top of the falls for an alternate viewpoint.


Emerald Lake/Heather Lake


Directions: Once up at Hyalite Reservoir, cross over the bridge to the east side. At the fork, turn left and drive two miles to the trailhead parking lot at the end of the road.

Distance: Nine miles round trip to Emerald Lake/10 miles round trip to Heather Lake

Description: The trail follows the east fork of Hyalite Creek, passing two waterfalls on the way, with a steep climb towards the end with views of the Hyalite Canyon behind you. After this accent, the trail leads through two different open meadows — great, wide-open vistas especially delightful during the height of wildflower season. Once you come to an overview of Emerald Lake, the trail splits. The trail to the left circles around the lake, and the trail to the right heads past the lake and up another half mile to Heather Lake.


Want more ideas for fun things to do with the family? Visit our Recreation page here full of fun activities around Gallatin County.