Fall Activities for the Whole Family!

Red Lodge, Montana Red Lodge, Photo by Andy Austin

Fall is a fantastic time around this region. The crowds disperse, and the cooler weather makes for more comfortable hiking and biking. This is the time of year to take the more adventurous members of the family and climb peaks such as Emigrant Peak in Pray or Summit Lake in Big Sky. Either way, you might consider a soak in one of the area’s hot springs upon return!

Biking is another popular fall activity. Copper City Trails near Three Forks has trails for all abilities (and if some of the family members are runners vs. cyclists, the trails are also open for them.) If you head that way, you can stop at Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli on Hwy 287 for sandwiches or treats on the trail! And be sure to watch for the Bleu Horses art installation by Jim Dolan. This herd of 39 metal horses grazes on the side of a hill just down the road.

Hyalite Canyon, Montana Hyalite Canyon, Photo by Jonathan Finch

October brings the annual Bridger Raptor Festival. This two-day festival at Bridger Bowl is centered around the largest known Golden Eagle migration in the United States. In addition to viewing live raptors in the wild and for educational purposes, there are family nature walks and talks, kid’s activities and other entertaining programs.

Corn and hay mazes are another popular fall activity. The Bozeman Maze, made from haybales, is a new challenging puzzle each year. And in Manhattan, the Montana Corn Maze is a favorite with three levels of challenges, plus disc golf and other fun activities for kids of all ages.

For the anglers out there, fall fishing can be incredible. Rainbow and brown trout become more active and feed more aggressively as they prepare for winter. (Remember, weather can change quickly in Montana, so bring several layers, including rain gear!) Be sure to check the current regulations, and don’t forget your fishing license!

Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park, Photo by Colleen Padilla

Fall is a great time to visit Yellowstone National Park. Bison and elk enter mating season (called the rut), and visitors often witness the bulls fighting with one another over the females. (Remember, stay in your car!) There are plenty of bike trails in Yellowstone, or once the park closes for the season, you can bike on the roads without worrying about vehicles! It feels like having the whole park to yourself. In West Yellowstone, you can rent bikes from Freeheel and Wheel, and in Gardiner, Big Sky E-Bike Tours and Rentals.

And, of course, it wouldn’t seem like fall without checking out some Montana State University Athletics!  Volleyball and football match-ups get underway, and the camaraderie of another season begins. Check out the full athletic schedule, and get your tickets early!