Top 5 Hikes Around Bozeman

By Taylor Barrett

This year has been strange, but you can always count on the great outdoors! Here are a few of my personal favorite hiking spots around Bozeman, along with my favorite photos of each place. All within 50 miles!

Mirror Lake (Madison Range)


    • Located in the Spanish Peaks
    • Park at camp ground / day area
    • Hike passed multiple waterfall opportunities
    • Trail will fork several times, stay left always following Mirror Lake signs
    • Multiple mountain lakes accessible
    • Absolutely stunning views at mountain lake basin
    • 16 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain: 2,750ft
    • Difficult | 8/10
    • 30 miles from Bozeman

Frazier Lake (Bridger Range)


    • Located in the Northern Bridgers near Fairy Lake
    • Park in meadow before Fairy Lake Campground
    • Hike through meadow to the north toward middle of saddle
    • Hiking parallel to the ridge
    • Crest over saddle into Frazier Lake bowl
    • Beautiful views of mountain lake and snow
    • 2.8 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain: 1,437ft
    • Moderate | 6/10
    • 30 miles from Bozeman

Pine Creek Lake (Absaroka Range)


    • Located just north of Livingston
    • Park at Pine Creek Lake Trailhead
    • Hike trail passed Pine Creek Falls
    • Amazing mountain lake basin at high elevation
    • Multiple waterfalls along the way and feeding the lake
    • 9 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain: 3,635ft
    • Difficult | 9/10
    • 45 miles from Bozeman

Sacajawea Peak (Bridger Range)


    • Located in Northern Bridgers
    • Park at Fairy Lake Campground
    • Hike toward saddle between Sacajawea and Hardscrabble Peak
    • Switchback until reaching top of ridge
    • Hike south and summit Sacajawea Peak
    • Incredible 360 views of Bozeman and surrounding areas
    • 4.5 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain: 1,975ft
    • Moderate | 5/10
    • 30 miles from Bozeman

Heather & Emerald Lake (Gallatin Range)


    • Located in Hyalite Canyon
    • Park at trailhead passed Palisade Falls
    • Hike along trail with gradual incline, passing Heather Lake
    • Amazing mountain lake with wall of mountains in every direction
    • 8.9 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain: 1,850ft
    • Moderate | 6/10
    • 25 miles from Bozeman

Melissa Riitano: From Great Divide to Brighton

By Taylor Barrett

Riding for almost 15 years, Melissa Riitano is now sponsored by several notable companies, including K2 Snowboards and O’Neill. Her snowboarding career shows us that opportunities are limitless, whether you’re coming from a small mountain like Great Divide, or a large resort like Brighton.


As someone who also grew up in Helena, riding at Great Divide always provided an opportunity to experience every different type of terrain, from trees to powder days to the various park riding that the mountain has to offer. The local small-mountain feel makes it a great place for anyone to take their passion to any level, in whatever fashion they desire. With the support of her hometown mountain, and the friends she made along the way, Melissa now finds her home at Brighton Resort. I was able to catch up with her to see how she’s been doing and what she’s been up to this winter!

First off, where are you from/what was it like growing up there? I am from Helena, Montana. Actually East Helena. I think as a kid I kind of didn’t like it too much, it just felt like there was never enough to do (pre-car phase). But it really was great growing up there looking back, all of the mountains were so close to get out and play in, I’m so happy I grew up where I did.


What/who inspired you? My friends, all inspire me so much! Everybody outside of boarding are just great people with so many different talents. 

How/when did you get started? I got started at age 14 or 15, I can’t quite remember my exact age. I was very influenced by my older cousin. I always thought she was so cool and wanted to do all of the cool things her and her friends were doing, and thankfully, that was snowboarding.

Did you find inspiration from living in Montana? I think growing up in Montana has always kept me being a down to earth person. 

Did you enjoy your hometown mountain? What’s your favorite mountain now? Great Divide was the best!! It was a locally ran “ma and pa” kind of resort, sometimes it felt like the wild west in a way haha. They would have contests over the weekends that would kind of just turn into a big party and everybody would end up sleeping in the lodges and locker rooms. I can’t really sum up how incredible that place was. But now I live in Utah and my home mountain, Brighton, really has it all. The parks are amazing and the terrain is so unreal, you can have a great time lapping or get out into the side country and ride powder all day.

How did growing up in Montana set you up for your career in snowboarding? I think growing up in Montana, I was exposed to a variety of terrain. I learned how to ride the whole mountain and not just a park.


What are your favorite styles of riding and why? I like seeing any kind of riding that has smooth style; park, street, powder, anything, I love it all.

Who was your first sponsor? Oh way back when I was in High School, a local shop, Big Sky Board Sports, they were the first ones who believed in me. They would give me discounts at the shop and  free gear sometimes. 

Who are you sponsored by now? My sponsors right now are K2 Snowboards, O’Neill, Dang Shades, Crab Grab, and BCA.

What edits/films have you been in recently? The most recent project I was involved in was a Snowboarder Magazine project called Veer. It was a collection of friends making a short video of snowboarding.

Favorite snowboard set up? (board/length, bindings/angles, boots) Favorite board is the K2 Spell Caster in a 147 with the Meridian binding, and Estate Boots. Angles are 12 and -9. The Spell Caster is a new park board coming out in 2021


Outerwear? (coat, pants, goggles, etc.) O’Neill for everything outerwear, it’s all so functional and comfortable. And Dang goggles! They are the best at the best price.

What got you to where you are now? Who helped along the way? I can’t even explain how many people have helped me along this journey. I’d say working my butt off and taking every opportunity that came my way. 

Describe the snowboarding culture now that you’ve been riding professionally for awhile? Woo thats a little bit of a hard one to answer. There are many different sides to snowboarding, like contest, backcountry, street, just to name a few. We are all in this amazing community together and it’s not like you always just stay in your own niche of it. The best way I can describe the part of the culture that I’m in, which is the filming and street boarding, is, that there are so many deeply passionate people involved. You couldn’t just keep throwing yourself down stairs and crazy concrete things if you didn’t care. Everybody is willing to help out whether it be a place to stay, helping film, helping shovel, or helping when somebody gets hurt.  

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Do you have anything exciting coming up? And, where do you see your career going next? I kind of signed myself up for a lot this winter. K2 and O’Neill are both doing projects. And doing a couple of other projects that I’ll have a smaller part in as well.

Favorite music to ride to? And favorite trick? I actually haven’t been listening to music too much while riding recently, but I was riding the other day to Black Sabbath and that was pretty great haha. And favorite trick, backside 180s, that trick can never get old.

Photos by Amanda Hankison, Kelsey Boyer, Chris Beresford, Chris Grenier, and Nirvana Ortanez.

Melissa Riitano – Full Part

VEER – Full Movie

Follow Melissa Riitano – Instagram | K2 Profile 

Take Flight: A Trip to the Tetons

By Taylor Barrett

On Sunday, July 21st, I joined my friends Holden and Alexa on a long-awaited journey down to Jackson Hole––with Holden flying us over Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. This was easily one of my top adventures, with views of Jackson Lake, the Teton Range, Yellowstone Lake, and of course, Grand Prismatic Spring.

Along the way, I took photos from one of my favorite perspectives: in a small airplane filled with close friends. Something about this atmosphere puts me in an ideal mindset to capture everything that I’m seeing and taking in. On the way home, I decided to shoot aerial footage of the Tetons, and the magnitude of the mountain range really shows from almost 12,000ft up.

When you’re in an airplane and the landscape gets smaller and smaller the higher you get, it’s funny how big the world becomes.


Take Flight: A Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Written by Taylor Barrett

At 2:00 PM on Saturday I arrived at Arlin’s Aircraft Service near the Bozeman International Airport. My friend Holden had flown in from Helena to do an aerial tour of Yellowstone Park. He had been to Yellowstone before, but never seen Grand Prismatic Spring, so we decided to make that our first stop. In order to capture the view, I brought along my camera for my first opportunity to do aerial photography.

We took off from the Bozeman airport going south toward Hyalite Canyon and slowly flew over the mountains. I had flown in planes before, but never had an opportunity to fly low enough to see everything so well. The view of Mount Blackmore, Hyalite Dam, and Hyalite Peak was incredible as we headed to our destination, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

Mount Blackmore, Hyalite Canyon, MT

As we passed over the Gallatin Range, we could see the Gallatin River winding through the canyon, all the way up to Big Sky. I remember seeing the river from a hike up Storm Castle Peak, but the view in the plane was an entirely different experience. Seeing the mass of water flowing for such a distance really showed the true power of nature. Once we got closer, we had an incredible view of Lone Peak, and further to the right, the Madison Range, including Beacon Point and Gallatin Peak.

Lone Peak, Big Sky, MT

After passing Big Sky, we headed toward West Yellowstone, and then turned East to our first destination, Grand Prismatic Spring. Being that it was Holden’s first time, it made it exceptionally stunning to see from above. On arrival, it was easily one of the best views that I’ll ever have the chance to see. With the breeze down below, the steam was swirling in cloud-like formations above the water, which glowed in all colors of the spectrum. On the pathway below, you could see visitors admiring the view from ground level. Being able to “people watch” from this vantage point was really interesting, allowing us to observe everyone’s interaction with nature from an outside perspective. Holden and I decided to take our time and took three passes around Grand Prismatic, because the view was simply unbeatable.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Next we headed east toward Yellowstone Lake, and north to the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. As we flew over, mist was flying up into the air throughout the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As we looped back around, we had one of the best perspectives I could imagine for viewing the Lower Falls. With the water rushing off of the 308 foot drop, the magnitude of the waterfall really began to sink in. Through my camera I could see people watching the water rush over the edge from the lookout deck. I’ve photographed Lower Falls before, but from the air was incredible.

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, WY

After seeing several amazing sights in Yellowstone, we started heading north, this time going up through Paradise Valley to get back home to Bozeman. As we flew up the valley we could see the Absaroka Mountains to the east, with the Beartooth Mountains in the distance. The elevation of the mountain range looked incredible from up above. Being able to look down at Pine Creek and know that I was once standing there on the ground was a really crazy feeling.

Absaroka Mountains, MT

After flying northeast past Livingston, we headed back home to Bozeman. With a flight of three hours, we were able to see many remarkable views that displayed the best features of Montana and Wyoming’s wilderness. Photographing natural environments from this perspective is new for me, and it’s definitely going to have to continue. Seeing everything from above gave me an even deeper appreciation for nature. Thanks to Holden Nielson for guiding me on this amazing adventure and allowing me to capture these amazing sights in a whole new way! I can’t wait for the adventures ahead!



For more photos go to or on Instagram at taylorbarrettphoto