On the Trail: Ousel Falls Trail
By Ciara Wolfe BSCO Executive Director
The Ousel Falls Trail from Town Center is a popular path for walkers, runners and bike riders. It not only serves as a commuter trail allowing individuals to safely walk and bike throughout Town Center, but also as an enjoyable trail for all abilities to tour this part of Big Sky.
The 5-foot-wide improved gravel trail starts in a residential and commercial area of Big Sky (Town Center) and leads to the Ousel Falls open space park, with overlooks of the South Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River along the way.
Two miles in, the trail enters the park where you’ll find picnic tables, benches and designated viewpoints along with a bathroom and parking area at the actual trailhead. Ousel Falls Trail is maintained throughout the winter to provide for year-round recreation in Big Sky. If you’re looking for distance without too much difficulty, this is the trail for you.
The Ousel Falls Trail also connects Big Sky to the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Once you reach the park, you can take another 0.8 miles of natural surface trail to Ousel Falls waterfall or venture on to First and Second Yellow Mule trails, which are part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
The First Yellow Mule trail junction is located approximately 0.5 miles beyond the Ousel Falls waterfall trailhead. The Second Yellow Mule Trail junction is another 1.5 miles down First Yellow Mule. The Ousel Falls trailhead is the closest access to Forest Service land from the heart of Big Sky and the only horse-friendly access point for First and Second Yellow Mule.
For more information about Big Sky’s parks, trails and recreation programs, visit bscomt.org. The Big Sky Community Organization is a local nonprofit that connects people to recreational opportunities by acquiring, promoting and preserving sustainable places and programs for all.
Distance: 2 miles one-way (the falls are an additional 0.8 miles from trailhead)
Elevation gain: 265 feet
Surface: improved gravel
Uses: walk, run and bike
Directions: Park near the restaurants and shopping center in Big Sky’s Town Center and follow the trail as it travels southeast and generally parallel to Ousel Falls Road.