I meant to hike to Hyalite Peak a decade ago when I was in school at MSU but somehow failed to do it. I think I was afraid of the distance and elevation gain during my fat kid stage. I don’t know why I was afraid, especially with the views at the top. I don’t know who suggested we do it one random August day, but I’m so glad they did.
The hike starts at the Grotto Falls trail head behind the reservoir. You take a right at the fork, do not continue east to the East Grotto Falls trail head. The hike is about 15 miles round trip and gains 3378 feet, most of which is during the last two miles.
The first five miles are pretty easy. Starting at 6900 feet in elevation, you cross several streams and pass many waterfalls on your way up.
At the end of the five miles is a lake in the basin at approximately 8900. We hung out there for a moment before heading up to the peak, the second tallest in the Gallatin Range, at 10298 feet.
the hike switchbacks up to the saddle and ends at the top of the peak on the left!
From up there you can see the Bridgers, the Crazies the Absorkees, the Spanish Peaks, and the Tabacoo Roots as well as Hyalite Canyon, Gallatin Valley and Paradise Valley. It is beautiful and amazing how far you can see. We spent about an hour on the top before heading down.
The hike down from the peak to the lake was pretty quick but the trip from the lake down was about the same time as heading up. Round trip it took us about 6 hours, including the time spent at the lake and on top. If you have the time and are in Bozeman, you should do this hike. It’s amazing up there.