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On the Trail: Ousel Falls

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By Ciara Wolfe BSCO Executive Director

As iconic as Lone Peak itself, Ousel Falls Trail and its surrounding park is a favorite for both locals and visitors from around the world. This 1.6-mile hike, which crosses a ravine over the South Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River and meanders through the woods before ending at a 100-foot waterfall, is an impressive hike worth visiting any time of year.

However, early summer can provide one of the most memorable hikes along the trail. This time of year, you are likely to see an abundance of wildflowers along the trail and run into wildlife, like the Ousel bird (more commonly known as the American Dipper) dipping in and out of the river. Additionally, spring runoff is occurring; rising temperatures and melting snow make Ousel Falls that much more powerful.

So grab your camera, a water bottle and your bear spray—yes, a grizzly sow and cubs have been spotted in this area recently—and head out for a hike that will deepen your appreciation for nature and Big Sky.

BSCO is a local nonprofit that connects people to recreational opportunities by acquiring, promoting and preserving sustainable places and programs for all.

For more information about Big Sky’s Parks, Trails and Recreation programs visit

Trails Stats

Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy
Surface: gravel
Uses: hike, bike, equestrian
Directions: The trailhead parking lot is two miles south of Lone Mountain Trail off Ousel Falls Road
Amenities: Outhouse, benches, picnic tables, self-guided interpretive hike, fishing access

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