Perhaps the most quintessential hike in Bozeman, the M hike takes the crown as the king of all of Bozeman’s trails because of its breathtaking vistas and heavy traffic during the summer months. The actual “M” is a landmark at the start of the Bridger Mountain Range, placed by MSU students back in 1915. Locals, students, trail runners, and dogs regularly enjoy this 3 mile hike from two different approaches, ranging from nice and mellow to short and steep.
Getting to the trailhead is an easy 10 minute drive from the heart of Downtown Bozeman; just head North on Rouse and that will eventually turn into Bridger Canyon Road. You can’t miss the parking lot to your left. The earlier in the morning or later in the evening you arrive, the better chances you will have of finding a good parking spot.
Because of its exposure to western sunlight, the M is one of the driest hikes from early spring, to late fall. During the winter months, it is highly recommended to bring clothing that will keep you comfortable during exposure.
To get to the landmark, you are met with the choice of a short but steep half mile 850 ft. ascent, or an easier and more graded 1.5 mile hike. Though bears and other wildlife do roam around during their more active months and bear spray is always a good idea to have with you, the M is one of the most trafficked trails in town so chances are you are never alone on the trail.
The M has some of the most stunning views in the valley, which is what makes it the trail of choice for lots of beginners and experienced adventurers alike.