Loop Trail? No
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No Allowed Uses:
Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
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Location: Just north of Big Sky, MT., In Gallatin National Forest, 25 mi. S of Bozeman on Squaw Creek Road 2 mi. off US 191.
From Bozeman, take Hwy. 191 south for about 17 miles. Take a left over the Squaw Creek Bridge, then turn right and parallel the river before bending left into the Squaw Creek drainage. For the singletrack route, look for a small parking area on the left; this lot also serves the Storm Castle trailhead. The marker for Garnet Mountain is across the road. For the double-track option, continue on the Squaw Creek Rd., taking a right at the fork. Park at the end of the road.
This hike has two routes. One follows an old double-track logging road, climbing steadily until the very end. The other is a steep singletrack that ties into the logging road about a half-mile below the peak. The singletrack trail is 3.5 miles to the top, gaining 2,800 feet of elevation along the way. The double-track trail winds around the back side of the mountain, passing Rat Lake, a few ponds, and the turnoff to Pioneer Lakes along its 4-mile length. Both routes offer great views—the canyon's forested slopes and distant peaks make for epic scenery. Near the summit, the trail passes through a livestock fence and climbs to a fire lookout tower atop the mountain. The tower was built in 1930 and is available to rent for camping through the Montana Recreation Rental Program. Carry bear spray.
Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: Soil
Average Grade: 15%
Maximum Grade: 30%
Elevation Low Point: 5,600
Elevation High Point: 8,300
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 1979
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsWebsite: Outside Bozeman Trail Information
Website: USFS Lookout Details
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
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