Little Willow Way
South Fork Loop
BSCO Public Trails
Trail Conditions & Etiquette, Bears & Wildlife, Trail Maps
Trail report for March 2020
In response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, our community winter trails network remains OPEN and we will continue grooming three times a week, or as weather allows. The ungroomed trails of Hummocks, Uplands, and Black Diamond are all packed down and in perfect shape for a hike or fat-bike ride. And this is a magical time of year to experience Ousel Falls and Beehive Basin. All parking areas remain plowed and accessible.
Connecting with nature is a great way to clear your mind and get much needed fresh air and physical activity during this stressful time. Please adhere to the suggestions of social distancing and if you feel sick, please stay home.
Basic Trail Reminders:
- Pick up after your dog! As the weather gets warmer, we love getting out for the fresh spring air and so do our dogs. Please remember to grab a bag or two at the trailhead. Just as important, make sure those bags make it back to a trash can and are not left on the trail!
- Respect wildlife! Wildlife loves the spring time as well and it is an important season for them. Please do not disturb any wildlife and prevent your dogs from chasing wildlife, including all birds, deer, and elk.
Individual Trail Conditions
Ousel Falls Trail: The trail is a great hike right now. Water levels remain high and the falls are spectacular. Take a raincoat for all mist coming off the falls, but please don’t get too close as the power of water is immense! Need a longer hike, reports have been coming in that Yellowmule is free of snow most of the way to Buck Ridge.
Ousel Falls Road Trail (Town Center to Ousel Falls Trailhead): The trail is dried out and good for walking and biking. Its gravel tread is firm and suitable for use during the rain.
Uplands: Trail is dry and a great escape to see the flowers popping up throughout the meadows.
Hummocks: Overall, trail is great! Get out and enjoy. Keep an eye and ear out for the cranes that frequent the area, but please do not let your pets disturb any wildlife.
Black Diamond Trail: Clear and dry!
Little Willow Trail: Clear and dry. The trail is a gravel base that is good for walking, even if wet from thunderstorms. Combine this with Black diamond and/or Crail Trail for a longer hike.
Crail Ranch Trail: Clear and good to go. Grab a bag and pick up after your pup.
South Fork Loop: Trail is dry and good to go. Remember to grab and bag at the trailhead and pick up after your pup.
Ralphs Pass: This trail is open for the season. Keep an eye out for the freshly armored section that fixes a wet corner on the Ousel side end. Thanks to the NCCC crew for the work!
Bears & Wildlife
Recreating with Wildlife
Tips for recreating in the Big Sky area:
- Don’t hike alone. Recreating in groups reduces the chances of adverse wildlife encounters. Groups of two or more will make wildlife think twice before approaching you.
- Do not feed wildlife!
- Carry bear spray such that it is easily accessible. Know how to use it. It is effective on most wildlife found in the area, including moose!
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Make noise. Talking and making noise will alert wildlife of your approaching presence, especially in forests and hilly terrain.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid recreating while wearing headphones so that you can hear what is going on around you, including warnings from wildlife you do not yet see.
- Pack it in pack it out! Litter, especially food and drink waste, is an attractant for animals and can cause issues for those who come after you.
- Be aware wildlife! Wildlife lives were we like to recreate. Please do not disturb any wildlife and prevent your dogs from chasing wildlife, including all birds, squirrels, deer, elk etc. Be considerate of their needs and please give them plenty of space. Carry bear spray in case you have an encounter. It works not only on bears, but almost all wildlife found in the area.
- Read all signs at the trailheads. Up to date information on any wildlife in the area is posted at the trailhead. Additional trail specific/species specific information for the area is often included in the signs at the trailhead.
For more information on recreating and what to do for specific animals, check out Visit Big Sky Website
We are all friends of trails, so let’s try to all be friends while on the trails.
The Big Sky Community Organization manages 19 miles of trails that are all multi-use and multi-directional. While most of us would love to trails completely to ourselves, we will come across other trail users while out on the trail and we will need to practice good trail etiquette. Above all else, remember to “Be Nice, Say Hi” to all other trail users.
- Stay on the trails
- Be courteous to other trail users
- Be respectful of wildlife
- Respect private property
- Stay right, except when passing
- Keep the trail litter free
- Watch for changing trail conditions
- Avoid using the trail wet conditions
- Report trail maintenance needs
- Volunteer your time
- Pick up dog waste left by others
- Open to all non-motorized users
- Pick up after your dog
- Leash dogs where required
- Keep dogs in sight & under voice control at all times if not on leash
- Do not allow dogs to chase or harass wildlife
- Control your speed and be ready to stop if necessary
- Stay to the right and pass on the left when trails allow
- Yield to all other trail users
- Stop and let hikers pass regardless of whether you are going uphill or downhill. This a great chance to be nice and say hi. If a hiker steps off the trail to allow you to pass, slow down and thank them!
- When you encounter an equestrian, stop and dismount you bike on the downhill side of the trail. Make sure to say hi to the riders and keep chatting with them as they pass. This helps the horses identify you as a human and helps the horse remain at ease.
BSCO Trail Map
Printed Big Sky Trail Map
The Big Sky Community Organization trail map and guide includes information and directions to parks, trails, recreation, and fishing in Big Sky. Pick up a map at the following locations: