The hike to Bozeman, Montana’s Sacagawea Peak is a short, but outstanding hike leading you to amazing views of seven mountain ranges.
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Length: 4.73 Miles Roundtrip
Trailhead(s): Fairy Lake Trailhead
Elevation Gain: 1,925′
Trail Type: Out & Back
Permit Required? No
Considerations: Rough dirt road to trailhead.
Season: Late Spring to Fall
The hike to Bozeman, Montana’s Sacagawea Peak is a short, but outstanding hike leading you to amazing views of seven mountain ranges. Along this hike, you will also see a beautiful lake, some gorgeous forest, rugged terrain, and (most likely) mountain goats.
What Makes the Hike to Sacagawea Peak So Good?
At only 4.73 miles roundtrip, the hike to Sacagawea Peak packs a heck of a payoff for your effort. On a clear day at the top, you will have 360 degree views of the Bridger, Crazy, Big Belt, Gallatin, Madison, Elkhorn, and Tobacco Root mountains. You are also likely to see at least one of the mountain goats that dwell near Sacagawea Peak.
On the way to the summit of Sacagawea Peak, the hike will also treat you to an outstanding view of Fairy Lake, as well as beautiful mountain scenery. It is not every hike that packs this much into a short 4.73 miles.
Hiking to Sacagawea Peak
Starting at 7,788′ at the Fairy Lake Trailhead, the trail to Sacagawea Peak begins to climb immediately. Over the next couple of miles to the peak, you will gain 1,925′, so settle into your climb and enjoy the scenery. Fortunately, the trails are well graded, so the climbing will not be overly taxing until you get just below the Sacagawea Peak.
When you leave the Fairy Lake Trailhead, follow the signs to Sacagawea Pass on trail 518. You will be climbing through old growth forest and will quickly come to an excellent view of Fairy Lake below. The lake is a beautiful emerald blue in an idyllic setting. If you want to visit the lake on your return from Sacagawea Peak, there is a trail from the trailhead that leads around the lake, but I recommend hiking to the summit of Sacagawea Peak first, then deciding when you get back to the trailhead whether you want to hike around Fairy Lake or take a swim.
Continuing on Trail 518 toward Sacagawea Peak, you will eventually move into a cirque basin (basically, a bowl) carved during the last ice age. This is a very beautiful basin with fantastic views of the mountains to the east. Ahead of you the trail will rise above the tree line and turn to mostly scree.
As you ascend the scree field up to the saddle below Sacagawea Peak, the trail is easy to follow but very rocky. The good news is that the trail is well switchbacked, making the grade quite manageable.
When you reach the top of the saddle, you will be on a ridge below Sacagawea Peak and only 3/4 of a mile from the summit. There are amazing views everywhere you look. Take a left on Trail 513 at the junction with Trail 518 to finish your ascent to the summit of Sacagawea Peak.
Just below Sacagawea Peak’s summit, the trail becomes pure scree, making the ascent a little sketchy but very manageable. Just take your time reaching the summit. When you arrive, you may well be greeted by at least one mountain goat, which makes for a really cool welcoming.
The summit of Sacagawea Peak is fairly small, but has room for a number of people. The views are outstanding and the feeling is “Top of the World”. If you have a clear day, you will be able to see seven different mountain ranges (Bridger, which you are standing in, Crazy, Big Belt, Gallatin, Madison, Elkhorn, and Tobacco Root). Take your time, have lunch or a snack, and take lots of pictures before beginning your descent back to the Fairy Lake Trailhead.
Concluding Thoughts about the Hike to Sacagawea Peak
The hike to Sacagawea Peak is really an excellent hike, particularly for one that is so short. With expertly graded trail and a reasonable elevation gain, this is a hike accessible to most people. If you are visiting the Bozeman, Montana area, I highly recommend you put the hike to Sacagawea Peak on your vacation agenda. Outventure on!
Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.
Sacagawea Peak Trail Slideshow
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Gear We Use for Day Hiking
To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.
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