Bear Trap Canyon Trail

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Bear Trap Canyon, Madison River, Montana

8 miles (round-trip to Bear Creek) to 15 miles (round-trip to Madison Dam) 

Duration: 2.5 to 7 hours 

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation Gain: 50 to 500 feet 

Activities: Hiking, trail running, fishing, camping

Crowds: Moderate to heavy traffic


Bear Trap Canyon is a spectacular drainage encompassing 6,000 acres in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness within the Madison Range. The Madison River, its headwaters in Yellowstone National Park, rages through the remote, roadless canyon for 9 miles, from Ennis Lake to the Madison River Bridge. You can traverse the trail for as long or short as you want; a popular turnaround point is Bear Trap Creek, which is a flat 8 miles round-trip. The trail officially ends at the Madison Dam Powerhouse, which is 15 miles round-trip. Campsites line the trail for the first half of the route, making for a fun and easy day hike and campout. Carry bear spray and watch for rattlesnakes. 

Seasonal Conditions
Fishing on the Madison from this trail is available year-round. The first part of the path to Bear Trap Creek is a good winter hike with the right gear, but beyond that, numerous rocks on the trail make for a difficult winter hike.  

From Four Corners, drive 20 miles west on Hwy. 84. Just before crossing the Madison River, hang a left onto Bear Trap Rd. The trailhead is approximately 3 miles in, at the end of the gravel road. 

Robert Stone's Bear Trap Map

Map courtesy of Robert Stone's Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana.

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