When I visited Montana and Wyoming in 2014, I visited a number of Wyoming waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. In Montana, I was able to visit two waterfalls on the way from Bozeman and back. The first, Ousel Falls, is outside of Big Sky. The second, Pine Creek Falls, is a bit more isolated and off the beaten path. (As the crow flies, these waterfalls are about 45 miles apart. In reality, the drive between the two is much longer.
I visited this one on the way back from Yellowstone. I exited Yellowstone from the north entrance, heading along US-89 toward Livingston. The roads and trails to the falls are not wildly far off of US-89, and the drive to the falls was stunningly beautiful. US-89 hugs the Yellowstone River for much of the drive. After veering off US-89 to get to the campground and trail head, there was some driving down some forest roads. I don’t remember them being particularly problematic, but it was four years ago.
I also don’t remember the hike to the falls being particularly difficult. It was in a mountainous area, so there was some elevation climb, I’m sure. I usually remember if the elevation climb is steeper, and this one doesn’t ring a bell. (The elevation change is listed at 390′ gain over 1.25 miles, so it is not wildly steep, but still will some uphill climb.) The trail head had a few other cars, with a few other people, including one larger family, hiking the trail. The hike to the falls was beautiful, though I tried to stay nearby others. (You should be aware of bears and another animals in the area.) Overall, it’s definitely a worthwhile hike to get a quick burst of Montana beauty a bit further from the busy Yellowstone trails.
- I would take a look at a map of US-89 in Montana to get an idea of the best road to turn on to get to the falls. One option would be to turn onto Pine Creek Road, and head east on it.
- Turn right on MT-540, East River Road, and head south for a few miles.
- Turn left on Luccock Park Road, which is the forest road. Head east on this to the end of the road, which will be the start of the trail head and also where you’ll find the campground.
Accessibility: 7/10 (Easy/Moderate)
Length of Hike: 2.5 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Pine Creek Falls?