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On the Trail: Ousel Falls

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Ousel Falls and Ousel Falls River are slowly melting off. A quick hike to the falls reveals river banks still lined with snow and a still frozen waterfall. PHOTO BY SARA MARINO


Ousel Falls is a trail for all seasons. And right now, winter is still holding on.

This is a time to see the trail in a new way: fewer crowds, river banks lined with snow and frozen waterfalls. Be prepared for all trail conditions on your hike, including mud, ice, snow and slush. Shoes with traction devices like Yaktrax are a good idea for slick spots, or consider bring a trekking pole for stability and support.

The 1.6-mile hike crosses through a ravine and over the Southfork of the Westfork of the Gallatin River via two picturesque bridges. Take a moment to read the plaques that are installed along both bridges. From births to deaths, anniversaries, and even names of beloved family pets, there are tributes and memorials of all kinds for those who share a love for Big Sky.

After the second bridge, the trail meanders through the woods with a short climb up to a vista that overlooks a natural 35-foot waterfall. The warmth of spring has the falls breaking through the snow and ice. Don’t miss coming back in May during spring runoff to truly see the falls showing off in all its glory.

Grab your camera, a water bottle and your studded shoes and head out for a hike that will fill you with an even greater appreciation for nature and Big Sky’s incredible outdoor opportunities.

For more information about Big Sky’s parks, trails and recreation programs, visit 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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