Hiking to Sacagawea Peak – Montana

Hiking the Sacagawea Peak Trail, Bozeman, Montana

The hike to Bozeman, Montana’s Sacagawea Peak is a short, but outstanding hike leading you to amazing views of seven mountain ranges.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  4.73 Miles Roundtrip
Trailhead(s):  Fairy Lake Trailhead
Elevation Gain:  1,925′
Trail Type:  Out & Back
Dogs:  Allowed
Difficulty:  Moderate
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.

Pine Creek Lake Trail, Livingston, Montana

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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