Bridger Canyon near Bozeman Montana

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Bridger Canyon

Just north of Bozeman, Montana, Bridger Canyon lies in the heart of the Bridger Mountains and is popular with all types of outdoor enthusiasts including skiers, hikers, bikers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

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  • Just north of Bozeman, Montana, Bridger Canyon accesses the Bridger Mountains and Gallatin National Forest.
  • Famous for raptor migration, hundreds of Golden Eagles pass through the Bridger Mountains and Brider Canyon every fall.
  • Whether hiking, road biking, or skiing, Bridger Canyon offers outdoor adventure throughout the year.

Overview

Only minutes from Bozeman, Montana, Bridger Canyon not only offers spectacular vistas, but also ample outdoor adventure throughout the year.  Named after Jim Bridger, the beautiful Bridger Canyon in Montana is popular with skiers, hikers, bikers, and wildlife enthusiasts. 

The Route

Bridger Canyon, Bozeman lies in the Bridger Mountain Range of the Gallatin National Forest.  From Bozeman, head north on Highway 86.  Follow the ski area signs north onto Bridger Canyon Drive, which eventually leads to Bridger Bowl, Bozeman's local ski mountain.

Highlights

Wildlife
Bridger Canyon, Montana is famous for the yearly raptor migration.   Each autumn, usually in the first two weeks of October, you can view these magnificent birds of prey on their migration south. Over 200 Golden Eagles may be observed in a single day! There are two good viewing sites in the Bridger Mountains. One is located at Bridger Bowl, 16 miles north of Bozeman. Viewing can be reached by hiking up the Bridger Lift area. The Forest Service maintains a raptor monitoring station here and will be available to answer questions.  Sacagawea Peak is also a recommended viewing site, and can be accessed from Fairy Lake.  Best viewing times are usually 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For those wishing to view a variety of birds, be sure to visit the fish hatchery next to Bridger Creek, five miles from downtown Bozeman.  Here, the mix of cottonwood, willow, dogwood, and Douglas fir is a magnet for many types of birds.

Hiking
Bozeman's Bridger Canyon offers easy access to hiking trails among alpine wildflowers, abundant wildlife, and rocky outcrops. 

  • Ferry Lake Trail is a 1.2 mile loop with a gain of 100 feet. The hike leads through lush, shady forest and up the south canyon wall.
  • Sypes Canyon Trail is a 4 mile round trip with a gain of 1,000 feet. The hike meets up with the Ferry Lake Trail and ends at an overlook with outstanding views of the Gallatin Valley, Bozeman and the Madison and Tobacco Root Mountain Ranges.
  • The more strenuous of the hikes from the canyon area is Sacagawea Peak, the highest peak in the Bridger Range reaching 9,665 feet. The hike is 4 miles round trip with a 2,000 foot elevation gain. The trail climbs up Sacagawea Mountain to a saddle between Sacagawea Peak and Hardscrabble Peak at the Bridger Divide. From the divide the trail winds up to the rocky summit for fantastic views of mountain ranges in every direction. To the south are the Gallatin and Madison Ranges, the Big Belts lie to the north, the Elkhorns and Tobacco Roots lie to the west, and the crazy Mountains are to the east.

Biking
Road bike enthusiasts enjoy a classic road ride from Bozeman and up Bridger Canyon.  Offering good shoulders on a paved road, stunning scenery, and an elevation gain of 1400 feet, this 20 miles ride (40 miles roundtrip) is a great way to spend a sunny day.

Winter
Once the snow flies in Bozeman, Montana, locals and visitors alike head into Bridger Canyon's winter wonderland.  For downhill skiers, Bridger Bowl offers 1,500 skiable acres, with backcountry access.  Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing can also be accessed along Bridger Canyon Road.

Seasons

Bridger Canyon and Bridger Canyon Road is open throughout year, providing the only access to Bridger Bowl, the closest ski area to Bozeman.

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