Sphinx Creek Trail (Paradise Valley)

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Sphinx Creek

5 miles (round-trip)

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

Activities: Hiking, trail running, mountain biking, climbing

Crowds: Moderate traffic

Sphinx Creek is a tributary of the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley. Its namesake trail parallels and crosses the creek through Yankee Jim Canyon, past lush riparian areas; grassy meadows; and forests of aspen, Douglas fir, and spruce. Half a mile from the trailhead, you'll cross the creek and pass through a trail gate; you'll hop back and forth from the east to west side of the creek five times in all. The most popular turnaround point is the remains of an old log cabin on the banks of the creek 2 miles in. 

Other Routes
From the old cabin, you can continue on an unmaintained trail to climb up to Twin Lakes  to the south (following the right fork) and Yankee Jim Lake to the east (left fork, followed by another left fork). 

Seasonal Conditions
Check runoff conditions during spring to avoid being swept away by the creek. Sphinx Mountain, east of the trail, is a popular rock and ice climbing spot year-round. 

From Livingston, head south on Hwy. 89 for 37 miles until, between mile markers 16 and 17, you reach the Tom Miner Basin turnoff on the right. Drive half a mile on Tom Miner Rd. to a junction; turn left onto Old Yellowstone Trail, and continue one miles to a fork in the trail. Bear left and travel around 3 miles alongside the Yellowstone until you reach the posted trailhead on the right. 

Robert Stone's Sphinx Creek Trail Map

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

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