In March of 2012, a group of campers inadvertantly started a fire in Bear Trap Canyon, a dubious way to demonstrate the west side of the county’s drier and warmer inclinations. Hikers, trailrunners, and fisherman have long known that this recreation trail is accessible and at times dry in any month of the year. It’s particularly welcoming in the spring, where daytime temperatures may reach 60 before April arrives. (Bear Trap can be “snake-y” during the warmer months, however.) An out-and-back through a rocky canyon, the trail is quite easy to follow, the grade is mild, and you can stretch it out all the way to the Madison Powerhouse, a 14-mile roundtrip.
If you’re looking for... another trail that dries out early, venture along the banks of the Jefferson River to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, a favorite for SW Montana hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers trying to get a jump on spring.
Distance: It's an out-and-back along the river that extends 7 miles up to the powerhouse below Ennis Lake.
Elevation gain: ~500 feet
Seasons: March to November
Map of trailhead:
View Bear Trap Canyon trail in a larger map