The Ultimate Guide To Summer Activities In Bozeman
Surrounded by scenic mountains, rugged trails, and picturesque rivers, Bozeman, Montana, has become one of the state’s top destinations for outdoor adventure. While it would be easy to spend an entire week exploring this exciting corner of the state, it’s possible to fit a good bit of adventure into one action-packed day. The fact it gets light around 5 a.m. and dark around 10 p.m. on summer’s longest days certainly helps. Whether you want a day-long summit hike, a relaxing fly-fishing expedition, or a mix of biking and exploring downtown shops and restaurants, there are plenty of summer activities in Bozeman for everyone. Here are some suggestions to get you started on your adventure in this scenic mountain town.
Before You Head Out
Before embarking on your trip, it’s important to fuel up in the morning. Bozeman is home to an array of breakfast places to get the day off to a good start. For a quick pick-me-up, head to a local favorite, Wild Crumb bakery on the north side of town. They have an assortment of delicious pastries available daily, and you can grab a cup of local coffee next door at Treeline Coffee Roasters. For a full breakfast to start your day, Feed Cafe and the Western Cafe both serve all the morning staples and are located conveniently on Main Street downtown.
Summer mornings are the perfect time to hit the trail for a run, hike, or bike. While afternoons can get hot, temperatures often cool considerably overnight, and if you’re early enough, you can enjoy a dew-laden hike through mountain meadows. The "M" Trail is a popular 1.7-mile loop with options for both easier and more challenging hikes. You’re likely to see trail runners and outdoor folks using this path at all hours of the day. Keep pushing onward and upward past the giant “M” marking the mountainside—the creation of Montana State students in 1915—and you’ll find additional trails crisscrossing the stunning Bridger Mountains.
Can't Miss: Hyalite Canyon
Just 18 miles south of Bozeman, Hyalite Canyon is home to a myriad of hikes and scenic drives. Stop at History Rock for a 2.8-mile out-and-back trail or cruise along the relaxing hike bordering Hyalite Reservoir and watch fly fishermen try to land a trout. Want to commit to a day-long adventure? Fill your backpack with plenty of food and water and head up to Hyalite Peak. The 16.2-mile trail, rated difficult, leads past a small lake and gains an impressive 3,789 feet along the way. Hyalite trails are popular with mountain bikers—those who enjoy off-road riding will find plenty of options for all skill levels.
Not in the mood for a hike? Bozeman is known in fly-fishing circles as a veritable paradise. Stop in one of the local fly shops for information, guide services, and equipment rentals. Fish don’t float your boat? The nearby Gallatin River offers stunning whitewater rafting opportunities for adventurers of all levels, and a float down the Madison River’s Bear Trap Canyon is a great and relaxing way to spend a hot summer afternoon. Several outdoor shops in Bozeman rent tubes, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks.
If you’re up for more urban adventures, Bozeman is home to a thriving arts scene. Stroll from gallery to gallery downtown, taking in the creations of local and regional artists. Then pause for lunch at one of the many downtown restaurants. Smoke, Fire, and Coal is comfort food at its finest, serving up southwestern food and cocktails. Or if you’re looking for something lighter and quicker, Five on Black offers a build-your-own bowl style approach.
Bozeman is home to its fair share of museums as well. The Museum of the Rockies features an impressive dinosaur display, while the Montana Science Center is a great option for those with younger kids. You’ll find a wide variety of hands-on exhibits and programs tailored to promote imaginative play.
Can't Forget the Hot Springs
Dealing with some aching muscles after a day of exploring? Thanks to the geothermal properties of southwest Montana, the region is home to a variety of hot springs. Bozeman Hot Springs features large, naturally fed spring pools and fun atmospheres. Chico Hot Springs, just south of nearby Livingston, is also home to natural hot springs and a bar that serves up plenty of hearty fare.
Head back to Bozeman for dinner, drinks, and people-watching. Enjoy both craft beer and craft pizza at Bridger Brewing. The spacious taproom features the brewery’s regular offerings—like the Lee Metcalf Pale Ale and Ghost Town Coffee Stout—as well as a rotating selection of seasonal styles and creative offerings. Fiesta Mexicana is the go-to place for south-of-the-border fare. The restaurant is known for its chili Rellenos, as well as its wide selection of burritos, fajitas, steaks, and seafood—they will all hit the spot after a day outside. And for a taste of home-cookin', try Roost Fried Chicken, which will impress you with its signature fried chicken, biscuits, collard greens, and other southern favorites. After dinner, stroll downtown and stop for a drink at one of the many vibrant bars, and enjoy a late-night sunset underneath the Big Sky.
Is a day enough time to explore all that Bozeman has to offer? Not by a long shot, but you can create a memorable experience no matter how long you visit.
In our never-ending quest to keep up with all things new in Bozeman, we have been producing content for years and can't possibly update every blog when new businesses open or existing businesses close. Please reference the publish date and do your own due diligence when making plans.