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Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake

Page Type: Trail

Location: United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 45.59897°N / 111.00783°W

County: Gallatin

Technical Difficulty: Hard

Aerobic Difficulty: Medium

Layout: Lollipop

Elevation Gain: 1340 ft / 408 m

Length: 18.4 Mi / 29.6 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Steady Grind

Created/Edited: Oct 17, 2007 / Oct 17, 2007

Object ID: 262586

Hits: 4067 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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I need to start using the camera that I always have in my camelback. If anyone has any pictures of this trail...please attach them and I'll add them to the page...Thanks!


This is one of the most popular loops in the Bozeman area. A favorite of the locals, the ride as described here covers about 15.3 miles of abandoned dirt road of which, 4.9 miles is very well traveled. The rest of the dirt road is much more primitive and more fun to ride. Even though 3.1 miles of singletrack doesn't sound like much, it is well worth the steady grind up the dirt road.

The 3.1 miles of singltrack is what earns this trail the "Hard" techinical rating. It's mostly smooth and manageable, but there are several narrow moderately technical sections to include the "Wall of Death" which is the top section of the ride. There is a good amount of exposure at this point, but nothing to cry about.

Trail Description

The majority of this ride is on road and doubletrack...but as stated above, it is worth it for the short singletrack downhill. The ride up to the lake where the singletrack starts is very simple. Expect moderate aerobic exertion, but nothing too difficult.

Route finding is very easy. The only tricky part is at the very end when you come upon the lake. Once past the fork that leads to the cabin, stay left on the the trail. When I was there, the trail wasn't very obvious, it was very grassy...just find the dam and cross just below it. Once across, climb up to the main trail and you're off.

The downhill section is excellent. Depending on the amount of moisture and runoff, there can be some somewhat technical sections of tree roots and boulders. Crossing the "Wall of Death" isn't bad unless you're very new on a bike and/or don't like exposure. There is one rocky outcropping that you might want to consider walking across. Be sure to watch for people coming up the trail here as well!

The last section is just backtracking from the bridge to the car. Depending on the time of day, weather, etc...this is a highly trafficked road so you need to be sure not to take any walkers or other riders out that are coming up.


0.0 - Start riding up the dirt road
4.9 - You'll come to a bridge...cross it. This is also where the Mystic
Lake trail comes back onto the road
5.1 - The road forks, stay left...it almost cuts back 180 degrees
8.7 - There is a trail junction...this will take you to Wildhorse Trail
and over to Hiyalite...stay on road, it will bend left
10.2 - Doubletrack road forks...stay left
10.3 - Follow singletrack to the left...the trail will drop down into the
creek at the bottom of the dam - cross here and climb up the hill
until you're on a very obvious trail again...then go left.
13.4 - The end of the excellent downhill...you're back at the bridge
18.4 - Back at your car

Profile Map

Mystic Lake Profile Map


Ride it in Reverse
Do it out and back - Go left onto the trail at the bridge on your way up,
then turn around and come back down the singletrack
once you get to Mystic Lake.
Ride around the Lake - I've never done it, but I'm told you can add a few
miles if you follow the trail around the lake.

Getting There

From Main Street in Bozeman follow these directions:

- Drive south on 19th Ave. for about 5 miles
- Turn left on Nash Road
- Go past a sign for "Leverich Creek" about 1.7 miles
- Turn right on Sourdough Canyon Road
- Follow this to the end and you're there!

When to Ride

Spring and fall can be hit or miss due to snowfall/melt, but from the beginning of June through mid September, you can hardly go wrong...unless you just happen to pick one of those freak days.

Typical Montana weather definitely applies to this area. It can change for the better or for the worse in the blink of an eye. This is more common in the spring and fall with mid summer being your best bet for steady weather.

The trail itself is coming down from the lake can remain pretty muddy and sloppy through most of June...again, depending on rainfall.


Cottonwood Rd. (south of town)