Middle Cottonwood Creek Trail is a moderate hike of about six miles out and back that follows the path of Cottonwood Creek for nearly the entire trail. This provides great views of various waterfalls, cascades, and pools, as well as several easy creek crossings.
At various sections of the trail, you also get some great views of the very interesting rock formations and outcroppings along the canyon.
We were lucky enough to hike the trail in early July, and had an amazing variety of wildflowers to check out along the trail. The flowers were especially pretty at the top of the trail where there’s a great open meadow to take a scenery break or enjoy a mountain picnic like we did.
Middle Cottonwood Creek is close to Bozeman and easily accessible, so you may find quite a bit of traffic on it. However, it also connects to the Bridger Foothills Trail and the very popular College M Trail, giving you a bunch of options for hiking. And with an easy grade and an overall climb of almost 1400 feet, Middle Cottonwood Creek gives you some outstanding views of the West side of the Bridger Mountains.