Drinking Horse Mountain Trail is a great shorter hike that’s near Bozeman, but offers really awesome panoramic views at the top.
The trail is a 3.5 mile loop composed of a figure eight that climbs over 700 feet from Bridger Creek at the bottom to the 5,522 foot summit of Drinking Horse Mountain at the top. The trail is designed so that the “left” portion of the loop is much steeper and more challenging, and the “right” side is easier and more accessible. You can choose the route for the level of difficulty you prefer, or combine them into a loop hike.
There is a short section from the parking area to the trail head that is also fairly steep and rocky, and might put off some hikers. But, it is short and can be fairly quickly finished. At the bottom, there’s a nice gate and sign marking the official start of the trail.