25 Best Things to do in Bozeman (MT)

Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

Bozeman, Montana is a quaint city and a well sought out college town, nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains. While the city has grown considerably around the sprawling tourism industry, one doesn’t have to drive far out the city limits to experience the American backcountry’s peace and calm.

Be it Summer, Fall, or Winter, Bozeman has a lot to offer the outdoor adventurer, from skiing, hiking, zip-lining to the world-famous fly fishing.

Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Bozeman (MT)

Source: Map data @2022 Google

1. Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort
Source: Flickr / Dennis Matheson | CC BY-SA 2.0

Big Sky Resort is a one-stop-shop for all things adventure Montana has to offer. It has over 5000 acres of skiable area on and around the Lone mountain, with terrain for every level. They proudly proclaim “2 acres per skier on their busiest day”, that’ll give you a safe and unique skiing experience.

The resort’s luxurious lodging, shopping, and fine dining options are all located within reach of the activities offered. They also have snowshoe tours, dog sleds, horse sleigh rides, snowmobile routes, and much more for a fun-filled winter vacation. Summers are equally fun with zip lining, guided hiking tours, golf, scenic lift rides, and mountain biking.

2. Lone Mountain

Lone Mountain
Source: Flickr / Eric Moreno | CC BY 2.0

Lone Mountain is the highest point in Montana at an elevation of 11167 ft. Its summit is located within the Gallatin and Beaverhead national forests. While a skiing attraction in winter, Lone mountain’s terrain, wildlife, flora, and fauna are a must-see attraction in their own right.

Multiple guided tours, 5-7-mile hikes take you through the mountain’s eco-system, or you can skip the walking and take the ski-chair lift and cable car rides that take you to the peak. Part of the Yellow stone eco-system, the summit gives sweeping views of the mountain ranges on a clear day.

3. Museum of the Rockies

Museum of the Rockies
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

Part of Montana State University and a Smithsonian affiliate, the Museum of the Rockies hosts a wide range of activities within the facility that can keep you entertained for hours. It houses a planetarium, a mounting T-Rex skeleton, changing exhibits throughout the year, and much more. It’s most known for the extensive collection of North American dinosaur fossils found in Montana and worldwide. It also houses fossils of pre-historic mammals like mammoths and rhinos etc., that roamed the state.

While here, you can get a glimpse of how the fossils are prepared through the dinosaur viewing lab. It’s an excellent place for the entire family to explore and have fun and is located right in downtown Bozeman.

4. Sacagawea Park

Sacagawea Park
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

Located right on the Yellowstone River, Sacagawea Park is excellent for a relaxing evening walk by the river. It is located just 30 minutes from downtown Bozeman. It is the right place for a picnic with the kids, with river activities, beach access, play structures, football fields, and tennis courts.

You can take in the fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and vast areas to bike and hike. Enjoy swimming in the shallow river, or the park offers an outdoor swimming pool that is open in the summers. It is pet-friendly as well.

5. Gallatin County Regional Park

Gallatin County Regional Park
Source: Flickr / USDA NRCS Montana | Public Domain

If you are traveling to the Bozeman area with kids or pets, Gallatin County Regional Park is a great place to spend the evening. It is an off-leash dog park, located just less than 10 minutes’ drive from downtown Bozeman yet can make you feel very close to nature with its vast landscapes and views of the distant mountains. The partly paved gravel path of the figure 8 trails are about 2 miles around two ponds.

Other trails break off into the west side of the park and run about 6 miles. Enjoy climbing boulders, a dinosaur park, picnic tables, and much more.

6. Palisade Falls

Palisade Falls
Source: Flickr / Ben Miller | CC BY-SA 2.0

Palisade Falls are located south of Bozeman in the Hyalite Reservoir area. It is an easy hike less than a mile, both ways from the parking lot. The trail is paved and wheel-chair accessible and takes you through the forest leading up to a view-point right in front of the 80-foot waterfall. The waterfall drops off of pre-historic lava flow rock wall formation on the southside of the Palisade Mountain.

It is well maintained throughout the year, and the bridge viewpoint is accessible even in winter and allows visitors to view the frozen falls surrounded by the frosted winter forest. 

7. Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture

Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture
Source: Wikimedia / Mike Cline | Public Domain

Located just a few blocks from downtown Bozeman, Emerson Center is a non-profit community arts center with a theater, art galleries, shops, and restaurants within one complex. It also has rental spaces for public events.  You can immerse yourself in contemporary local art at the Jesse Wilber Gallery, stroll the lobby to browse varied artists’ works, or explore the Weaver Room for art by rising local talent.

Get hands-on and take a pottery class or shop and dine with some live music on the lawn. There are year-round family-friendly activities like Visit from Santa or Trick or Treat and other special events from New Years’ to Christmas.

8. Chico Hot Springs

Chico Hot Springs
Source: Flickr / Lorie Shaull | CC BY-SA 2.0

Situated 50 minutes south of Bozeman and part of the pristine Paradise Valley, Chico Hot Springs is a four seasons resort with natural hot spring pools set against the majestic Emigrant peak. They offer a wide range of lodging options from resort rooms, lodges, private cabins, and housing accommodations for large groups and have day passes for their pools. They also provide multiple dining options throughout their facilities, from BBQ to fine dining.

Soak in the natural mineral water, go on guided Yellowstone tours, take a hike or bike through the beautiful Paradise Valley, or stay back and relax in the in-house day spa. You can also explore some of the numerous activities offered, including skiing, fly fishing, river rafting, and much more.

9. Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Source: Flickr / John Eckman | CC BY-SA 2.0

At an elevation of 8800 ft, Bridger Bowl Ski Area is the destination recreational facility for ski enthusiasts. With two available lifts, you can access a top height of 8700 ft, and it provides vast vistas of the entire Bridger mountain range, a sight to behold. The ski area is family-friendly, with varying levels of difficulty available from beginner to expert. It offers a wide variety of terrain, including glades, chutes, long, wide-open slopes, and gullies.

Need a challenge? Bridger Bowl ridge terrain at the top offers some of the most challenging skiing and riding in the area with steep chutes and rock cliffs without any hazard markings or marked trails.

10. American Computer and Robotics Museum

American Computer and Robotics Museum
Source: Flickr / Nick Taylor | CC BY 2.0

As we live through the age of information technology, we might sometimes lose sight of where it all started and where we are headed. The American Computer and Robotics Museum will put things in perspective and walk you through Computers and Technology’s history.

The exhibits begin some 4000 years ago with the original Babylonian clay tablets, the Enigma Code, and the first personal computer. Follow through the thought-provoking exhibitions on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, and Space exploration. Learn about world-renowned scientists contributing to the rise of the information era and look at some historic room-sized computers and first PCs. 

11. College M Trail

College M Trail
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

The large ‘M’ white-washed on the side of the Baldy Mountain is visible from everywhere in Bozeman, and College M’s trailhead gives access to multiple trails in the Bridger Mountain range. Situated at approximately 4500 feet, you can access easy-hard trails up the Baldy mountain and into the Bridger Mountain Range from here. The top of the path will take about 2 hours round-trip, and you would gain 850 feet in elevation.

There are some excellent viewpoints at the top of the entire Bozeman area and the Gallatin Valley. Bring some trekking gear and water bottles if you plan to make the challenging trails winding up the steep mountain.

12. Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Source: Flickr / AllAroundTheWest | CC BY-SA 2.0

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is a recreational area and preservation center with more than 10 miles of hiking trails, a campground, and the main attraction, limestone caverns. Located 50 minutes from Bozeman, you can drive to all these sites or hike from one to another. The caverns themselves are about a mile of an uphill trail from the visitor center. Guided tours start at the entrance, and as you walk in, you descend into the cave’s intriguing limestone formations.

There is a network of steep stairs, winding paths, and a few crawl spaces through the enormous stalagmites and stalactites that will make you feel minuscule. Be prepared to spend 3-4 hours exploring the caves and the surrounding areas.

13. Montana Whitewater Rafting and Zipline

Montana Whitewater Rafting and Zipline
Source: Flickr / Bureau of Land Management | CC BY 2.0

Experience the thrill of Yellowstone river’s gushing waters in a raft or zipline through the Gallatin valley. Whichever you choose, Montana Whitewater Rafting and Zipline offers services in and around the Bozeman area.

Depending on the challenge level, you can raft or canoe in the Gallatin or Yellowstone rivers and tube through Madison river right in Bozeman. Get a better view of the Gallatin Valley or the northern edge of Yellowstone park while ziplining past rivers, cliffs, and pine forests. You can also rent paddleboards, kayaks, and other equipment.

14. Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

This scenic park is a designated historical landmark where the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers merge to form the 2500-mile Missouri River. The Headwaters Park is more than 500 acres in size and at an elevation of about 4500 feet. Experience the region’s wildlife, vegetation, expansive meadows, flora and fauna, and scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

The park has more than 17 campsites, hiking trails, cultural and historical displays, and tipi rentals. Activities include river fishing, canoeing, hiking, bicycling, camping, and river floating. The park consists of the national historic landmark site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped in the early 1800s.

15. Gallatin River

Gallatin River
Source: Flickr / Yellowstone National Park | Public Domain

Gallatin River flows for more than 115 miles from Yellow Stone National Park to Three Forks, Montana, where it merges into the Missouri River. It travels through the mountainous county side and broad valleys, slowing down to quiet streams and picking up speed to white water rapids through its journey.

From Big Sky to Three Forks, there is ample opportunity throughout its path for a wide variety of recreational activities like fishing, river floating, canoeing, and white-water rafting. There are designated parts of the river for fly fishing and float fishing, making them excellent spots for wade anglers without the constant distractions from rafts and boats.

16. Beehive Basin Trailhead

Beehive Basin Trailhead
Source: Flickr / Greg Gjerdingen | CC BY 2.0

The trail is one of the most scenic hiking trails near the Big Sky area with beautiful views of the lone mountain. The trailhead is about an hour’s drive from Bozeman and is designated as a moderately challenging hike. It is a total of 6.5 miles round trip with points of steep uphill climbs and a gain in elevation of about 1400 feet. Midway through the hike, the trail opens up to a crystal-clear glacier lake with Lone Peak in the background.

Surrounded by picturesque mountains, vast valleys filled with wildflowers, wildlife, and breathtaking views, this hike is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

17. Montana Grizzly Encounter

Montana Grizzly Encounter
Source: Flickr / jerseygal2009 | CC BY-ND 2.0

Montana Grizzly Encounter is a rescue center and sanctuary for five at-risk grizzly bears found in captivity. It gives visitors a chance to get a closer look at these giant beasts in a natural and open setting. Montana and the nearby Yellowstone ecosystem is home to the American grizzly bear and the black bear. But with changing landscape, shrinking habitat, genetic isolation, and reduced food sources, these animal populations are reducing at a drastic pace.

Montana Grizzly Encounter strives to spread awareness and educate the public about these issues while the visitor gets an up-close experience with these majestic animals.

18. Gallatin Canyon

Gallatin Canyon
Source: Flickr / Matt Lavin | CC BY-SA 2.0

Gallatin Canyon is one of the most scenic drives in the area. Situated between Bozeman and Big Sky on the way to Yellowstone National Park, this drive is a great way to take in all the beautiful views of Gallatin Valley. It is a 30-mile drive along the Gallatin River on highway 191 through pine forests and mountains all around. The route hugs the base of the Gallatin canyon all the way. You can pull up to multiple viewpoints on the way, with the Gallatin river quite accessible in many places.

The region is rife with wildlife. Elk and moose are frequently spotted right from the highway. This route goes on for another 60 miles from Big Sky to Yellowstone National Park.

19. Madison Buffalo Jump

Madison Buffalo Jump
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

Designated a state park, Madison Buffalo Jump is a historical monument that gives a peek at the tribal culture and how buffalo herds were hunted 200 years ago. There is a small quarter-mile hike to get a good view of the jump and a one-mile walk to the top of the jump. Both are easy and give you sweeping views of the prairie and the landscape around.

It is about 30 minutes north-west of Bozeman off of I-90. Be prepared to drive on mud roads for 5-7 miles to get there, and watch out for rattlesnakes.

20. Montana Science Center

Montana Science Center
Source: Flickr / Tim Evanson | CC BY-SA 2.0

If you visit Bozeman with kids, the Montana Science Center is a must on your to-do list. With featured exhibits, craft areas, and outdoor play areas, it has many hands-on activities to offer. The multi-level space has a STEAM lab, a high-tech maker space, a real-life construction site, and much more for older kids.

The craft areas and STEAM lab offer guided activities to explore electronics, coding, robotics, and space travel. There is also an AR sandbox, a pollinator garden, a bug hotel, and a 110-gallon fish tank that can keep kids of all ages occupied throughout your visit.

21. Lava Lake Trailhead

Lava Lake Trailhead
Source: Flickr / Greg Gjerdingen | CC BY 2.0

Lava Lake Trail is a 6 mile out and back trail leading up to a beautiful lake surrounded by the Spanish Peaks. It is rated moderate and gains an elevation of 1600 feet.  Almost half of the course goes through a pine forest, steadily gaining height and accessible viewpoints start after the halfway point. There is a small log bridge to cross the Cascade creek midway.

As you get closer to the lake, the canyon opens up to picturesque meadows, and depending on the time of the day; one might spot moose and other mountain wildlife. Once at the lake, the hike ends with dramatic views with over 10000 peaks surrounding the Cascade Creek Valley.

22. Hyalite Reservoir

Hyalite Reservoir
Source: Flickr / LunchboxLarry | CC BY 2.0

Located 10.5 miles up the Hyalite Canyon, Hyalite Reservoir offers camping, fishing, and other water activities. It is situated at an elevation of 6700 feet, close to Palisade falls and about 12 miles south of Bozeman. Experience breathtaking views of the Gallatin Range all around.

There is a ‘no wake’ rule in the waters, so you can enjoy low-speed motoring for trolling and fish for cutthroat trout and arctic grayling. There are camping grounds on the east side of the lake with drinking water, boat ramps, outhouses, etc. There is another picnic pavilion on the reservoir dam on the lake’s west side.

23. Yellowstone Gateway Museum

Yellowstone Gateway Museum
Source: Yellowstone Gateway Museum

The Yellowstone Gateway Museum is a great venue to learn about local history ranging from Native American culture, early settlers, the famous Lewis and Clarke expedition, the Yellowstone ecosystem and wildlife, and much more. The museum building is housed in an old school from the early 1900s, with all the original rooms and desks left.

The museum conserves and preserves a lot of local history and gives a peek into locals’ lives at the turn of the century through its Railway station and vehicle museum, blacksmith shop, exhibits on fire flintknapping, etc.

24. City of Bozeman Bogert Park

City of Bozeman Bogert Park
Source: Flickr / Mike Cole | CC BY 2.0

Maintained by the city of Bozeman, Bogert Park gives you a piece of local activity. The open grass areas, large pavilion, and kiosks facilitate the city’s farmers market and other cultural events. The park has a lot to offer year-round with basketball and tennis courts, an ice rink, and a swimming pool. There are picnic tables, play structures, and playgrounds throughout the park. The park also has a stream where you can fish and multiple trails into the surrounding wildlife area.

The park is dog friendly and is a great place to spend an evening without leaving downtown, Bozeman.

25. Montana Ale Works

Montana Ale Works
Source: Flickr / Gloria Cabada-Leman | CC BY 2.0

Montana Ale Works is a bar and pub in Downtown Bozeman offering American fare with lunch and dinner options. They are open after-hours and are most known for their exhaustive beer range with more than 40 varieties on tap.

They offer patio seating, happy hour, and have daily food and drink specials.  Their restaurant has rave reviews and is also vegan, vegetarian friendly with gluten-free options.