Whether you are a seasoned outdoorsman aiming for the summit or a day hiker looking for a leisurely stroll, Great Falls is a basecamp to amazing hiking opportunities under the Big Sky. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in the Rocky Mountains,  Big Belt Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, Glacier National Park, Highwood Mountains, and Great Falls’ own River’s Edge trail, you will find the rugged diverse beauty that renew your soul. Signature hikes minutes from Great Falls include Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall, Grinnell Glacier Trail and Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, and Memorial Falls in the Little Belt Mountains. Trail maps are available through Lewis and Clark National ForestHike Wild Montana, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

Day Hike in ‘Montana’s Niagra’

What if you could visit the geological epicenter of the end of the last Ice Age? You can, in Central Montana! Lost Lake is a hidden gem that begs to be discovered. Nestled between Great falls and Fort Benton in the Highwood mountains, Lost Lake has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. The views alone are worth the trip, but while you’re here, enjoy a day hike in this remote pocket of Montana. Wander through an ethereal prairie dotted with boulders, you’ll arrive at the precipitous dry falls. Peek over the ledge, 300 feet down, at the small, reflective lake and marvel at land that was once part of the ice age.

Memorial Falls

An hour form Lost Lake into the Little Belts lies Memorial Falls, an excellent one hour round-trip hike with an easy walk to two scenic falls off Highway 89. The non-motorized trail winds along the creek and is perfect for sightseeing and photography.

Perfect for the whole family on a spring or summer day, few things feel as good as escaping to the Little Belt Mountains and Memorial Falls. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, continue to another waterfall above the first. You can find Memorial Falls southeast of Neihart. The trailhead and parking lot is on the east side of US Highway 2.

Grinnell Glacier Trail

An incredibly scenic trail, hikers will enjoy panoramic views of jagged peaks and crystal blue lakes as they steadily gain elevation and at tines hike along shear cliffs. Numerous waterfalls are visible along the hike which terminates at the foot of the Grinnell Glacier and Upper Grinnell Lake. An excellent place to view bighorn sheet and mountain goats.

Sluice Boxes State Park

Bring your camera to this rugged area of pristine beauty and see the remains of mines, a railroad, and historic cabins lining Belt Creek as it winds through a beautiful limestone canyon. Soaring cliffs and steep ledges mark the Belt Creek Canyon as it slices out of the Little Belt Mountains and winds toward Belt. This rugged area has seen its share of prospectors, miners, muleskinners, smeltermen, and railroaders building bridges. A primitive, unmaintained trail provides access to fishing, challenging floats, and wildlife viewing. This park is designed for bold adventurers, steep cliffs, rugged terrain, and cold, swift water may pose risks. Any free-spirited adventurer can take in the beauty from the scenic overlook resting high above the Park!

Devil’s Glen

Devil’s Glen via Dearborn River Trail is 5 miles round trip, but don’t be fooled by the name; this little meadow is heavenly. Maggie Carr, co-owner and guide at Dropstone Outfitting, describes it as a “nice summer hangout with rock pools, narrow canyons and a well-defined, moderately difficult trail.” Prepare your day’s pack for a picnic so you can relax as the waters of the Dearborn River rush by.

Blackleaf Trailhead

Blackleaf Trailhead immediately parades you past incredible scenery as 800-foot canyon walls stretching toward the blue sky surround you.  Call out a greeting—the rock faces are sure to echo your sentiments. These limestone walls near the trailhead also beckon to rock climbers, offering routes from beginner to advanced. Explore the canyon for an easy jaunt or continue to Blackleaf Pass for a 1,500-foot ascent (7.4 miles round trip).

The Chinese Wall

The Chinese Wall is a 1,000-foot-high limestone ridge that spans 12, 15, maybe even 22 miles, depending on who you ask. But everyone agrees, you’ll have to hike at least 18 miles just to get there. Thankfully, it’s a jaw-dropping journey past dense woods, alpine groves, grassy meadows, waterfalls, creeks, rivers and wildlife. This multiday backpack adventure starts at South Fork Sun Trailhead, but don’t sweat the details, hire an expert outfitter to get you there.

 

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Great Falls, Montana is a basecamp to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in the Rocky Mountains, Big Belt Mountains, Highwood Mountains and Little Be…