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Fun Family Activities to Enjoy When Visiting Custer-Gallatin National Forest

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Custer-Gallatin National Forest, formerly known as Gallatin National Forest, is a national forest in southwest Montana. It covers over 3.4 million acres and borders Yellowstone National Park. The forest also forms part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which covers nearly 20 million acres. 

An area of that magnitude is bound to capture any adventure- and nature lover’s attention. If you’re looking for fun family activities to enjoy on a trip to Custer-Gallatin National Forest, you can find a few standout options below: 

Horseback Riding 

If you love horses or want to experience horseback riding for the first time, you can go horseback riding in Yellowstone and around the Absaroka Mountains of the Cluster-Gallatin National Forest. 

You’ll be able to explore the beautiful landscapes of Montana on horseback, all while being guided by experts for your peace of mind. Horseback riding is typically a great activity for families since children can also participate. 


No matter which state you’re exploring in the United States, you’re rarely far from a desirable fishing destination. The Custer-Gallatin National Forest is no different. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are thousands of miles of streams, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers for you to explore and try your luck. 

You’ll also get to enjoy trying to catch a broad range of species, such as bass, trout, crappie, and Utah chubs. You can fish with live bait, artificial lures, and jigs while bottom fishing and topwater fishing. Don’t forget to apply for a fishing license at a sporting goods store or a Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks regional office. 

Rock Climbing

If the weather allows and you’re feeling extra adventurous, you may decide to grab your climbing gear and get ready to navigate some gnarly boulders and rock faces. There are certainly plenty of climbing opportunities in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest.

If you happen to be in Hyalite Canyon, south of Bozeman, you can even try out ice climbing on frozen waterfalls. The Beartooth Mountains are also among the most popular rock climbing locations for experienced climbers. There are 41 peaks, with the highest standing at 12,799 feet. If you’re not a climber, you’d visit the Beartooth Mountains for the scenery alone. 


Hiking is certainly one of the more popular activities in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. There are over 125 named trails spanning thousands of miles and leading to points of interest like Crazy Peak and Moose Lake. Whether you feel like a short hike, a day adventure, or backpacking, you can find what you’re looking for in this national park. There are many standout hiking trails to learn more about, like the Crow Lake Trail, Fish Lake Trail, and Mount Maurice Trail


Not everyone is an adventurer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Custer-Gallatin National Forest. You and your family can pack a delicious picnic lunch and enjoy one of the many picnic areas. Many of them even have BBQ pits and picnic tables. 

The Custer-Gallatin National Forest can’t help but grab your attention as a desirable day trip destination. Whether you feel like horseback riding, fishing, or another activity, you’re bound to enjoy your time in this spectacular natural attraction.

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