1.6 miles round trip
Year Round Access:
Trail is ungroomed and can be icy in the winter. Snowshoes or traction gear recommended.
Uses: Hike, bike, snowshoe, equestrian (horses allowed from trailhead to junction of First Yellow Mule Trail)
Parking: Parking lot at Ousel Falls Trailhead off of Ousel Falls Road.
Dogs: Dogs allowed on leash.
Amenities: Outhouse, benches, picnic tables, self-guided interpretive hike, fishing access.
Ousel Falls Trail connects the Big Sky Town Center to Ousel Falls Park. At the entrance of Ousel Falls Park, the trail descends into the South Fork ravine to beautiful Ousel Falls. The trail is named after the Ousel Bird (Cinclus mexicanus), more commonly known as the American Dipper. Interpretive brochures are available at the trailhead.
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.
Directions: The trailhead parking lot is two miles south of Lone Mountain Trail off Ousel Falls Road.