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On the Trail: Fall hiking




Fall is in the air. That means cooler days, fewer crowds, changing colors and pumpkin spice lattes are back. It’s a great time to get outside, while keeping a few tips in mind.

Give Wildlife Their Space

Autumn marks the start of the rut, or breeding season, for both elk and moose. Animals are more active, and aggressive, as they look for a mate. It’s also the time that bears enter hyperphagia, where they consume as many calories as possible before winter hibernation, and will fiercely protect their food. Talk while you hike so animals are aware of you, be observant of your surroundings and never approach wildlife.

Watch the Weather

Fall weather can be variable. Check the forecast before you go, and be prepared for your day to change from warm and sunny to cold and snowy, and all things in between.

Keep Track of Time

In mid-September the sun will begin setting around 7:30 p.m. Know your group’s hiking ability and speed to plan to safely finish your hike before dark.

Be Mindful of Hunters

Archery season opens in September and general season opens in October for elk, deer and antelope. Be responsible when hiking on public lands during hunting season. Wear blaze orange to make yourself visible—this goes for your dog, too—make noise to make your presence known, and avoid hiking during the peak hunting times of dawn and dusk. Consider planning your hike for areas closed to hunting, such as Yellowstone National Park, or the town trails like Hummocks, Uplands or Ousel Falls, which are managed by the Big Sky Community Organization.

Visit for more information about Big Sky’s parks, trails and recreation programs. The Big Sky Community Organization engages and leads people to recreational and enrichment opportunities through thoughtful development of partnerships, programs and places.

Sara Marino is the community development manager for the Big Sky Community Organization.

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