Palisade Falls Hiking Essentials: What to Know Before You Go

Palisade Falls in Montana is a little-known wonder, offering a stunning 80-foot waterfall with unique basalt columns. What makes it even better? The easy 1.2-mile paved trail to the falls welcomes everyone.

This guide offers insights into the beauty of Palisade Falls and the Hyalite Recreation Area, where the falls are located. You’ll get tips on enjoying the outdoors there. From activities like hiking to fishing and must-see sports, we’ll walk you through them.

Why should you care about Palisade Falls? Imagine a place where nature’s artwork meets a trail for peaceful walks. This spot is a real-life postcard, perfect for a family adventure or a quiet solo retreat. Ready to find your new favorite nature spot? Let’s explore Palisade Falls together.

5 Key Takeaways Palisade Falls

  1. Palisade Falls offers a stunning natural display with an 80-foot waterfall and unique basalt columns. The location is accessible via a smooth, wheelchair-friendly, 1.2-mile paved trail.
  2. The Hyalite Recreation Area, where the Palisade Falls is located, is a paradise for outdoor activities. These include hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. Plus, the trail is dog-friendly.
  3. The journey to Palisade Falls from Bozeman is a scenic 14-mile drive through Hyalite Canyon, blending urban convenience with natural beauty.
  4. Essential items to bring on your hike to Palisade Falls include water, snacks, appropriate footwear, layers of clothing, sun protection, a first aid kit, bear spray, and a camera.
  5. The area around Palisade Falls in Hyalite Canyon is home to other attractions. Among them are Grotto Falls, Blackmore Lake, and Hyalite Reservoir, which offers tons of fishing opportunities.

About Palisade Falls

Location CoordinatesHeightNearby AttractionsLocation
45.4716° N 110.9363° W80 feet (24.3 meters)Grotto Falls, Blackmore Lake, and Heather LakeHyalite Canyon area, Gallatin National Forest

Palisade Falls is no ordinary waterfall, it’s where nature shows off. It is a must-see in Montana, with water tumbling over 80 feet (24.3 meters) and a backdrop of unique basalt columns.

The journey to Palisade Falls is as delightful as the destination. The trail is easy and paved, making it a smooth 1.2-mile (1.93-km) round trip. It’s a path that welcomes everyone, from little kids to grandparents and is wheelchair friendly.

Surrounded by the beauty of Hyalite Recreation Area, the area around the falls is an outdoor lover’s paradise. You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and trail running through this stunning landscape.

Hyalite Canyon also has cool spots like Blackmore Lake and Heather Lake. If you’re looking for a place to fish or just chill, the cutthroat trout at Hyalite Reservoir awaits you. 

Now, a heads-up for your visit. Since Palisade Falls is so awesome, it can get pretty crowded. And if you’re worried about facilities, the large parking area has you covered with picnic tables, restrooms, and trail maps.

The Palisade Falls Trail is not just a walk in the park, it’s an experience. It’s a short, easy jaunt that’s great for getting used to the altitude or adding a scenic break to a longer trip.

Even in winter, the trail is a beauty. It might be cold, but the packed snow and ice make the falls look as stunning as ever. So, whether it’s a summer hike or a winter wonderland walk, Palisade Falls is ready to impress.

Directions to the Trailhead

A woodland hiking trail leading to Palisade falls trailhead

Getting to the Palisade Falls trail is an adventure in itself. The journey starts from Bozeman and takes you through some of Montana’s most beautiful landscapes.

Here’s a simple guide to reach the trailhead:

  1. Start in Bozeman – Your adventure begins in Bozeman, a vibrant city known for its perfect mix of outdoor life and modern comforts.
  2. Take S 19th Ave – From Bozeman, hop on S 19th Ave. It’s a 6.5-mile stretch that sets the scene for what’s to come.
  3. Turn Left to Hyalite Canyon Road – Your next move is a left turn onto Hyalite Canyon Road. This road will lead you deep into the stunning natural landscapes of Montana.
  4. Continue for 14 Miles – As you navigate Hyalite Canyon Road, be prepared to be captivated by the scenery. The 14-mile drive is part of the adventure, not just a means to an end.
  5. Arrive at the Trailhead – The trailhead, located on the left side of the road, is unmistakable, with clear signage to welcome you.

This route not only gets you to Palisade Falls but also introduces you to the breathtaking beauty surrounding the trail. 

Things to Bring on Your Hike to Palisade Falls

A man packs a blue backpack into his car while parked in a sunny, forested area near Palisade waterfall in Montana.

Preparing for a hike to Palisade Falls is more than just a good idea, it’s essential for a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here’s a simple guide to make sure you’ve got everything you need:

  1. Water – Keep a good amount of water with you to stay hydrated throughout the hike.
  2. Snacks – Pack some easy-to-carry snacks to keep your energy up.
  3. Appropriate Footwear – Wear comfortable hiking shoes to walk safely.
  4. Layers of Clothing – Since the weather can change, dress in layers to be ready for anything.
  5. Sun Protection – Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  6. First Aid Kit – It’s always smart to have one for minor injuries.
  7. Bear Spray – As a safety precaution, especially with grizzly bears around, this is a must.
  8. Backpack – Use it to carry all your essentials.
  9. Camera – Don’t forget to capture the beautiful views.

With these items in your backpack, you’re all set for a great time at Palisade Falls. Thorough preparation means you can relax and enjoy the stunning Montana scenery without worry.

Palisade Falls Final Thoughts

A close-up of Palisade waterfall tumbling over a cliff, featuring distinctive vertical basalt columns

Palisade Falls is more than just beautiful, it’s a place that stays in your memory. What’s great about it? The hike is easy and perfect for everyone in the family. As you walk on the smooth path, you’re surrounded by amazing basalt columns and the calming sound of water over rocks.

This waterfall, located in the Gallatin National Forest in Hyalite Canyon, is a nature lover’s dream. You can hike to your heart’s content, fish in the clear waters, and watch for the diverse wildlife.

Before you go, remember that Montana’s weather can change quickly, and you might encounter some furry locals. So, bring water, snacks, bear spray, and sun protection to stay safe and comfy.

Whether you’re looking to take a quiet walk or go on a bigger adventure, Palisade Falls is a place to pause and take in the beauty.

Palisade Falls FAQs

1. Are Pets Allowed on the Palisade Falls Trail?

Yes, the Palisade Falls trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry companions along for the hike.

2. Is the Palisade Falls Trail Accessible During Winter?

Yes, the Palisade Falls trail is accessible during winter, offering a unique opportunity to witness the icefall, which is as beautiful as the waterfall itself.

3. How Long Does It Take to Hike to Palisade Falls?

The round-trip hike to Palisade Falls is approximately 1.2 miles (1.93 km) long and typically takes about 30 minutes, although this may vary depending on individual hiking pace and time spent enjoying the scenery.

Explore more intriguing articles about Montana here:

Photo of author

Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.