• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    7.7 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2800 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

An accessible hike from Bozeman with expansive views of the surrounding area and an option of staying in the vintage, fire lookout. 

Starting in Bozeman, travel south of Gallatin Gateway about 5 miles on Hwy 191 and turn left on to Storm Castle Creek Road. Follow this road for about 3.5 miles until the road ends. At this point, there is a decent sized parking area. 

The trail is open year round with ATV access and also snowmobile access as well. Winter travel increases the length of route to 10 miles in one direction. This description will detail the summer route to Garnet Mountain Lookout. The trail begins and after about 3/4 of a mile, Rat Lake appears. This is a decent sized mountain lake and a decent spot to fish. Following the trail carved out by ATV's, Garnet Mountain is reached about 3 miles after Rat Lake. The return route is the same as the ascent. 

To rent out the lookout tower, a recreation.gov site contains the availability and the means to reserve the site for backpacking or camping use.

The summit views showcase the surrounding area during all seasons and is a highly recommended day hike in the Bozeman area.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Food
  • Sleeping bag
  • Cooking utensils
  • Bear spray
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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Did this on dirt bikes in mid October. Due to the late season traffic the road/trail was very muddy and rutted which is easily avoidable on foot. Rat lake is a great spot to stop after the hike/ride and take in the views as well. If you're the type that doesn't like motorized vehicle traffic I would consider a different hike, since we came across a few groups of riders on our excursion.

3 months ago
3 months ago

As mentioned, the entire trail is open for atv's and the first 3 mikes or so are surrounded by forest. The last mile opens up and the last .25 mile offers breathtaking views in every direction!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Gavin Pirrie Explorer

Born and raised in Kalispell, MT. Adventuring in Bozeman, MT. When I'm not climbing peaks, I spend my free time hunting, fishing and occasionally studying to become a geologist.

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