Welcome to the Trail Well Traveled!
Each Friday, in partnership with Montana Wilderness Association we will feature a new western Montana trail and then give one lucky listener some cool goodies to help them embark on their journey!
Red Mountain Saddle (aka Bacon Rind) in Yellowstone National Park
Want sweeping views of the high peaks of the Madison and lower Gallatin Ranges? Enjoy the single best view hike within a 90 minute drive of Bozeman!
Roundtrip: 11 miles
Directions: The trailhead is about 25 miles south of the junction of MT 64 (the Big Sky Spur road) and US 191 in Yellowstone. Look closely for the sign along US 191 as it is easy to miss. It’s between mile markers 23 and 22.
What to expect: The trail begins at the Bacon Rind Creek trailhead immediately west of US 191 in Yellowstone National Park. The first two miles are nearly flat, gaining elevation at the rate of only 100 feet per mile. Keep an eye out for moose and grizzly bears, as this is prime habitat for both.
After two miles strolling through Yellowstone’s idyllic Bacon Rind Valley, you leave the Park and enter the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. After rock hopping a small stream coming in from the right, the serious climbing begins. “Relentless” is a word that comes to mind, but there will be lots of opportunities to catch your breath and drink in the views of the Gallatin Range back to the east, as long as you are not too distracted by carpets of wildflowers in spring. The grade is fairly constant, at a bit less than 700 feet per mile, mostly through open meadows after a stretch of forest.
The final push to the saddle, which is the destination for this hike, may require some creativity in early season, as melting snow patches may obscure the trail. Ultimately, when the saddle is reached, be prepared for in-your-face views of Cone Peak, Redstreak Peak and White Peak. There are also views of the Tetons to the south on a clear day. If you can think of a better spot for a lunch break, please submit it to this hiking guide.
Opportunities for further exploration abound, including summiting Red Mountain itself, or hiking even deeper into the Monument Section of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. But many hikers have had enough climbing for one day, and are ready to return the way they came. Take note of the incredible views back into Yellowstone National Park. This is truly a special hike.
Note that the small stream being crossed after 2 miles is likely your only reliable water source, so make sure you have plenty of water for both the climb and the return.
A couple of photo essays on hikes to Red Mtn Saddle can be found HERE and HERE.
Tip: Note that the small stream being crossed after 2 miles is likely your only reliable water source, so make sure you have plenty of water for both the climb and the return.
Learn more about this trail, file your own trip report and photos, or check out some other great hikes at hikewildmontana.org. And don’t forget to tune in to the Trail 103.3 each Friday at 9:50 am for the next featured trail and your chance to win!
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