Trail Creek Near Bozeman Montana

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Trail Creek Area

Only seven miles east of Bozeman, Montana, Trail Creek Road begins a scenic driving loop which winds through the Gallatin National Forest towards the Paradise Valley and the Absaroka Mountains.

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  • Close to Bozeman, Montana, Trail Creek Road completes a scenic driving loop, providing spectacular scenery and access to outdoor adventure.
  • The decaying mining town of Chesnut and Fridley Creek Fire of 2001 are glimpses into the area's past.
  • Consider a hike on area trails or an overnight stay at Trail Creek Cabin.

Overview

Popular with both locals and visitors, Bozeman, Montana's Trail Creek is located in the Gallatin National Forest.  Not only does Trail Creek Road complete a scenic driving loop, it also provides access to hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, and horseback riding.

Location

Trail Creek, Bozeman, MT can be accessed from Trail Creek Road off of I-90.  A few miles east of Bozeman, Interstate 90 enters Rocky Creek Canyon, bordered on both sides by steep rock outcroppings. At mid-canyon you will find the Trail Creek exit (exit 316).  Throughout the eastern stretch of Trail Creek Road, take in views of the majestic peaks of the Absaroka Mountains, Yellowstone River, and Paradise Valley.

The Route

From I-90, Trail Creek Road initially follows Meadow Creek from the west, as it winds toward a low mountain pass. On the eastern side, Trail Creek begins, and the road slowly descends into Paradise Valley.  Trail Creek Road merges with Divide Road on the left and ends at Route 89.  From here, continue north back to Livingston and I-90 or south towards Emigrant and Chico Hot Springs.

Highlights

Chestnut
Across from Goose Creek Road, there are still visible ruins of coke ovens, once used to refine coal from surrounding mines. There were once a number of small mining towns along this route. Chestnut is the only one that is still somewhat evident.

Fridley Creek Fire
As you approach the end of Trail Creek Road, you will also see evidence toward the south of the Fridley Creek Fire of 2001. This began not far from Yellowstone National Park, devastating over 10 miles of forest in just one day and ending near Trail Creek, Montana.

Trail Creek Area Trailheads
Approximately half way down Trail Creek from Bozeman, you will pass Goose Creek Road (on right), taking you to a Gallatin National Forest trailhead, just a mile or two to the south.  As you head approach the end of Trail Creek Road toward Paradise Valley, there is another road on the right that provides National Forest access at upper Trail Creek.

Trail Creek Cabin

Overseen by the Gallatin National Forest, this cabin is situated along the trail system between Bozeman and Livingston Ranger Districts. The rustic cabin sleeps four and has a wood stove, horse corral, propane lantern (renters should bring their own propane canister) and no drinking water.  Inquire at the Livingston District Office for more information and reservations.

Seasons

Hiking, Horseback riding, and Cross country ski trails are accessible throughout the year in Bozeman's Trail Creek area.  Check with the Bozeman or Livingston Ranger District offices for updates on trail and road conditions.

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