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  19 September 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
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South Cottonwood Trail
South Fork of Spanish Creek Trail
Middle Cottonwood Trail
Hiking - moderate

This trail traces a crease in the Bridger Mountains, climbs uphill through enormous patches of glacier lilies (in the spring), and rarely strays out of earshot of the stream. Several stream crossings have rudimentary bridges in place while others call for minor gymnastic moves, so you may want to pack a hiking stick and leave the shorter-legged Fidos at home. A Bozeman favorite for its proximity to town, the ultimate destination of this nine-mile trek is Saddle Peak (9,200 ft), the third highest point in the Bridgers.

If you're looking for... just another version of the western Bridgers wonderful, we'd strongly urge you toward the less trammeled North Cottonwood Creek trail (#545).

Distance: 2.4 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation gain: 500 feet

Seasons: mid-May (depending on spring conditions) through early October

Trail(s) used: Hyalite Creek - 427; East Fork of Hyalite Creek - 434

Map of trailhead:

View Middle Cottonwood Creek trailhead in a larger map


If you'd like to hear more about Bozeman's fabled Bridger Ridge Run, LINK HERE.

Date: 02-Jun-2013 Time: 13:00
MC often surprises me. I try to discount the trailheads along the west side of the Bridgers because they're busy, at least the ones near town. And they are, in fact, busy. But MC has lots of geological and botanical diversity. And the creek is no trickle—it's meaty, it tumbles. We went left at the Bridger Rec Trail intersection, maybe went another half mile. Want to explore farther next time.

Date: 08-May-2013 Time: 12:00
The glacier lilies are out in full force along the first 2 miles! Some snow cover and mud on the trail, but nothing that impeded travel. Lots of folks out enjoying the sunshine with their canine friends. If you're uncomfortable with stream crossings, bring a hiking stick. My friend said the water had risen noticeably even from yesterday.

Date: 02-Oct-2012 Time: 20:45
Oh wow - was so, so nice to see such a bright blue sky Sunday!

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