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  24 November 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
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South Cottonwood Creek Trail
Leverich Canyon Trail
Hyalite Creek / East Fork of Hyalite Creek trails
Biking - advanced

Though you probably won’t read this in any guidebooks, Hyalite Creek is something of a local drama queen. She’s tall and beautiful, presents lovely waterfalls at many points, has summits all around, and is among the most popular places around. Hyalite Creek even gets pressure in winters—where she can be deadly—as climbers scurry up ice and mixed routes all over the U-shaped canyon. At 5.5 miles one-way with 2,000 feet of gain to Hyalite Lake, this hike’s a full meal of a hike, and bringing along a picnic is a top-notch idea.

Hyalite Canyon garners all the chatter with its wispy waterfalls and winter ice-climbing, but the East Fork of Hyalite Creek offers an almost mirrored setting, replete with an enchanting small lake surrounded by a steep-walled basin. Though the preferred of the two upper Hyalite drainages for mountain bikers, the East Fork is significantly less populous, and on hot days, Emerald Lake at the top of the East Fork is a perfect place for a backcountry swim.

If you’re looking for... an aerie, there’s a whole cluster of summits in the Hyalite Group. Mount Chisholm and Mount Bole are listed as the highest summits (both at 10,333, but I don’t believe in ties), but Hyalite Peak (10,299) is a walk-up or a launching point for a multi-day adventure along the Gallatin Crest.

Distance: Hyalite Creek - 11 miles (out-and-back); East Fork of Hyalite Creek - 10 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation gain: ~2,000 feet for both

Seasons: mid-June through early October, depending on the snow

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

Map of trailhead:

View Hyalite Creek trailhead / East Fork of Hyalite Creek trailhead in a larger map




Date: 24-Aug-2012 Time: 9:00
Busy morning at Emerald, definitely a multi-use day! Got to practice trail courtesy...always try to make a point to show that mtn. bikers can be respectful and courteous! Trail conditions were pretty good-lots of the trails around town are loose and dry right now, but I think because Emerald is more forested for most of the ride the trail was in great shape. Next time I would go earlier and be finishing the ride by the time horses/walkers/joggers/hikers with ipods who are not paying attention to their surroundings start flocking to the trail. Nice new trailhead parking area by the way!

Date: 23-Jul-2012 Time: 12:00
FYI, Palisade Falls is going to need some trail work. The water is going over the trail at the falls end. It appears there was a rock dam between the creek and the trail at one point, but water is going around it.

Date: 21-Jun-2012 Time: 0:00
Thought I'd give it a go, but bad idea. At about the 3 mile mark it is still solid snow fields. Ditched the bike and post holed to lake. Beautiful trip, but riding was a bust.

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