Grotto Falls- Gallatin Range
Grotto Falls, located in Bozeman’s scenic Hyalite Canyon, is a beautiful waterfall that can be reached within a half hour. Although the waterfall isn’t particularly tall, Grotto Falls makes up for that by its sheer volume. Hyalite Creek gushes over the falls into the pools below, creating perfect swimming holes to relax in after a hot day. Access to the falls is excellent, with the trail well groomed, and highly trafficked. Simply put, Grotto Falls should be on your must-see list if you are hiking towards Hyalite Lake, or even just in Hyalite Canyon for a day.
The trail starts out as a wide dirt trail (no pavement here, unlike the nearby Palisade Falls), a perfect trail for dogs or children. The trail climbs only 170 feet over the 1.25 miles to Grotto Falls, making the trail grade something that almost anyone can hike with ease. This relatively flat trail leads next to scenic meadows, and runs through a mature evergreen forest, before arriving at a fork in the trail. Take the right branch for Grotto Falls Trail #432, and you will shortly arrive at the falls.
Fortunately, the forest service built a picnic table and a sturdy bench near the falls, making Grotto Falls a perfect place to stop for lunch. You could spend an entire afternoon here, watching the water rush over the falls on its way to the reservoir. Small pools provide relief to sweaty hikers on Hyalite Creek, but many hikers will continue past Grotto Falls on their way to other destinations on the Hyalite Creek Trail such as Arch Falls, Champagne Falls, or Hyalite Lake. When you are ready, either head up the spur trail by the picnic table to join the main Hyalite Lake Trail, or head back to the trailhead- it’s all up to you. Either way, you’ll have enjoyed one of the best waterfalls that Hyalite Creek has to offer.
Directions to the Trailhead
From Bozeman, drive on S 19th Ave for approximately 6.5 miles. Turn left onto Hyalite Canyon Road, and follow this road to the trailhead, turning right at the well-signed fork just before the inlet stream of the Hyalite Canyon Reservoir.