Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
323.00 ft (98.45 m)
Trail type
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Situated in Hyalite Canyon just south of Bozeman, the History Rock Trail leads to a large sandstone outcropping with signatures from early area visitors dating back to the mid-1800s. At 2.5 miles, History Rock is your next easy day hike for the family.

The trail almost immediately enters a wide, lush meadow bordered by History Rock Creek. As you walk along, evidence of heavy mole activity is apparent – watch your step!

Leave the meadow and head into light switchbacks. Patches of snow can linger well into May, so be prepared for muddy trails if you'll be hiking around that time. Snowmelt collects in seasonal ponds, which attract birds and other small creatures. As you walk through the forest of fir and spruce, see if the ponds are still there or if you can find leftover evidence of them.

About 1.2 miles in, History Rock is unmistakable as you look to your right. Carved into the flat side of a massive piece of sandstone are etchings that feature signatures from early explorers and fairly recent visitors to Hyalite Canyon. The Forest Service does not prevent people from adding to the rock, but it does encourage visitors to respect the site and not damage it.

Turning back at History Rock makes this a short and easy hike. The trail past History Rock continues uphill 2 more miles, entering the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area that was established in 1977 by Congressional law. The trail down from the forested divide leads into the South Cottonwood drainage. South Cottonwood has its own well-travelled trail and is a local favorite for mountain bikers and trail runners. A point-to-point hike from History Rock trailhead to South Cottonwood trailhead is 11 miles.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round


Open from

May 16 to March 31


Can be extended for longer trips.


Limited car access in April and May.

Trailhead Elevation

6,477.00 ft (1,974.19 m)

Highest point

6,800.00 ft (2,072.64 m)


Family friendly
Historically significant

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Big Sky + Gallatin River Valley, Montana
Big Sky + Gallatin River Valley, Montana


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