Storm Castle Peak stands at 1,912 feet with a trail that clocks in at 4.7 miles out and back. The trailhead, located in the middle of bear country, can be found just past Gallatin Gateway, roughly 40 minutes from Bozeman. When arriving at the trailhead, parking is limited and may be located on the side of the narrow gravel road. Be sure to watch for hikers and their dogs as they make their way from their car to the trail, as it can be relatively busy. Alltrails.com rates this hike as moderate to difficult. At this time of year, hikers will have the opportunity to soak in fall foliage with the cooler temperatures, making the steady incline a little easier. The trail starts with a muddied path; however, as one progresses upwards, the trail becomes extremely rocky. At certain points the rocks make for an inevitable tripping hazard if you don’t watch your step. As the trail continues, the narrow path can become more intimidating.
While the hike itself can be challenging for a beginner, it is worth it in every sense of the word. With at least three scenic overlooks (each providing a different but equally gorgeous view), the hike channels beauty. The first overlook provides a view of Storm Castle Creek and, during the fall season, yellow leaves adorning the trees. This overlook will leave many speechless. Continuing upwards, the second overlook is quite similar to the first, with a large rock that looks straight down. This view focuses more on the surrounding mountains rather than the creek itself, but the scenery is just as gorgeous. Once hikers reach the top, they can find a little keyhole that holds the perfect place for photos. Just to the left of the keyhole, a group of rocks provides an area to look off to the side to get an entire view, providing hikers with a sense of accomplishment. When standing at the top overlooking the climb, it can be quite windy, which adds a little chill. Layers are recommended at the top if you plan to stay awhile.
As always, there are a few things that hikers should keep in mind on this hike. While this trail is dog-friendly, remember to clean up after your dog to keep it clean and preserve its beauty. Hiking shoes are always recommended, especially after rain and when snow is present. Remember to try to create as much room as possible when other hikers are passing by, considering the narrow trail. The trailhead does close seasonally so, for those who want to cross-country ski, you will have to park further down the road, which can add some time to your hike. In the spring, this area is known for ticks, and bears are always possible, so be sure to carry bear spray. Overall, this hike may be full of switchbacks, but the view makes the time spent on the hike worth it.