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General Information

Gallatin National Forest
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Gallatin National Forest
Description - The headwaters of the Yellowstone, Madison and Gallatin Rivers, "blue ribbon" trout fishing, flow through the Gallatin National Forest, in the heart of some of Montana's most spectacular scenery. Just north of Yellowstone National Park, the 2.1 million acre Gallatin is rich in wildlife, scenic alpine vistas, rugged wildlands and a spectrum of recreation opportunities. The Gallatin encompasses large portions of the Lee Metcalf and Absaroka Beartooth Wildernesses.

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is located 27 miles west of West Yellowstone, Montana on Highway 287. On August 17th, 1959 an earthquake near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide. Over 80 million tons of rock crashed into the narrow canyon, blocking the Madison River and forming Earthquake Lake. The center provides a panoramic view of the mountain that fell and the lake that was formed.

Recreation - Forest visitors can enjoy trout fishing, big game hunting, photography, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, camping, backpacking, river rafting, horseback riding and more.

Looking for a campground in the Greater Yellowstone Area, without the crowds? All the following Gallatin National Forest Campgrounds are within 35 miles of the national park and offer great camping in rustic settings.

Twenty-four log cabins are available for rent on the Gallatin National Forest. Built primarily in the 1920s and 1930s for use by early Forest Rangers, the cabins offer a chance to camp in the forest in a rustic old-time setting. Some of the cabins are located right on a road; others require that you hike, ski, or snowmobile in to them.

More than 135 miles of professionally groomed snowmobile trails start both south and west of Iris Street, and also north of Dunraven Street in West Yellowstone, Montana. The high elevation allows for plenty of snow, and the trails range from flat to mountain climbing. Snowmobile trails in the West Yellowstone area are open December 1 through March 31.

The Gallatin National Forest's Rendezvous Ski Trails offer a beautiful setting for cross country skiing. The trailhead starts right in West Yellowstone, Montana at the intersection of Geyser Street and Obsidian Avenue. From there, skiers can select from over 30 km of trails that are professionally groomed daily for skating and classic skiing. These trails are open from December 1st through March 30th. Bridger Ski Area, Lone Mountain Ranch and Bohart Ranch located near Bozeman, Montana are three ski areas that operate on the Gallatin National Forest. Bridger Bowl offers alpine skiing and Lone Mountain Ranch and Bohart Ranch offer groomed cross country trails for both classic and skate skiing. Big Sky Ski Area is also located in the area, southwest of Bozeman.

Climate - Temperatures and precipitation on the Forest vary with elevation. Summers tend to bring moderate to warm temperatures with clear days. Summer highs are normally in the 70's and 80's with relatively cool to cold nights. Winter brings cold temperatures with ample snow for winter recreation activities. Winter temperatures frequently drop well below zero but clear, crisp days are common. Snowpack normally remains in the high elevations well into June or even July making some areas inaccessible until then.

Location - The Gallatin National Forest sits in the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana. It is located around the city of Bozeman and adjacent to the northern and western boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. The Forest is headquartered in Bozeman, with offices also in the towns of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Livingston and Big Timber. Interstate 90 runs across the north end of the Forest. US Highways 89 and 191 provide access to much of the Forest as well as Yellowstone National Park.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: If you have a high clearance 4WD vehicle, I highly recommend the Round Lake cabin for primitive lodging. http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/ index.php? page=recreation.cabins.gardiner.round_lake (take your running boards off if you have them)

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I highly recommend a visit to the Earthquake Lake Visitor's Center. The information on the geology of the area, especially the 1959 eathquake which buried 28 people, was fascinating and chilling. Debbie Hahn New London, NC

More Information

Contact Information:
Gallatin National Forest, 10 E. Babcock Avenue, P.O. Box 130 , Bozeman, MT, 59771, Phone: 406-587-6920

Additional Information:
Montana National Forests -

Gallatin National Forest - Official agency website.


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