Springs Break

Some like it hot.

by Corey Hockett

Soaking in hot springs, aka “hot-potting,” is a universal and timeless pleasure. Nothing beats the sensation of slipping into slightly stinging water, only to feel comfy and tranquil seconds later. Whether you’ve had a great day on the slopes, been in the library too long, or just have an afternoon off, these are the spots in which to soak your bones.

Lap of Luxury
For those into a well-developed, plush backdrop, check out these commercial pools for a luxurious soak.

Bozeman Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public
Admission: $8.50
Location: 8 miles west of Bozeman

Courtesy_Boz-hot-springs2This massive facility recently underwent renovation and now has nine pools, both inside and out. It has wet and dry saunas, a fitness center, and campground. If you’re coming back from Big Sky or don’t want to travel far, this is your place.


Chico Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public as well as to registered guests
Admission: $7.50 for adults; less for kids. Guests soak free
Location: 22 miles south of Livingston


Located in Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston, Chico provides two refreshing pools and an assortment of accommodation options for overnighters. Check it out if your family is in town or you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway.

Norris Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public
Admission: $7 for adults; reduced for kids and seniors
Location: 35 miles west of Bozeman


This 30’ x 40’ pool is a collection of geothermal springs located near the Madison River. Dubbed “Water of the Gods” by the current owner, Norris has live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Added bonus: be the DD and get in for free.


Simple Soaking
If you’re the less-is-more type, or prefer nature to civilization, these are your hot spots.

Boiling River
Status: Primitive
Access: Unrestricted (Yellowstone Park pass required)
Admission: Park pass is $35 for single vehicle
Location: 2 miles south of Gardiner


Just inside the Gardiner entrance to Yellowstone National Park, scalding channels mingle with the cold river water to form the perfect temperature for soaking—and this set of pools is only a half-mile walk from the parking lot. This gem is a must, but expect crowds.

Potosi Hot Springs
Status: Primitive
Access: Open to the public
Admission: Free
Location: 8 miles west of Pony
Head to Pony and travel southwest on Potosi Rd. / South Willow Creek Rd. Follow the signs to the campground and then venture the mile-long trail back down the creek to the spring. It’s not the warmest pool around, but it’s sized nicely for a group of 6-8.

Renova Hot Springs
Status: Primitive
Access: Open to the public
Admission: Free
Location: 10 miles south of Whitehall
Head south of Whitehall on Hwy. 55, taking the Waterloo turnoff. The road deposits you a quarter-mile from the spring, where you can bathe in rock-lined pools along a side-channel of the Jefferson River. The river mixes with warmer thermal water in two separate hot-water seeps, creating a variety of soaking temperatures. Check the river flow beforehand; at high water, the pools can get washed out.

TKings Exhibit Complete

Museum in the Mountains

Get MOR out of your college experience.

by Mark Robinson

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the super-heated pyroclastic flow of rock and ash that destroyed Pompeii also devastated the opulent villas of some of Rome’s wealthiest citizens at Oplontis. Now all that remains of this seaside community are the artifacts of leisure and luxury.

Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii is an exhibit appearing at Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies (MOR) through December 2016. MOR is one of only three museums in the U.S. to host the artifacts, none of which had ever left Italy before now.

Museum of the Rockies MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Like all exhibits at MOR, Oplontis brings the stirring history and unexpected wonders of our world right to the MSU campus. From a 60-million-year-old T. Rex and a working Montana homestead, to Native American culture and a planetarium that propels students into the outer reaches of the universe, the museum is an integral part of the learning experience at MSU. Students, as well as their parents, can participate in programming and lectures that stimulate the desire to learn, open minds to new ways of thinking, and shed new light on their interpretation of the past.

This school year alone, MOR programs and exhibits will allow students to delve deep into the civilization of ancient Rome, examine the heritage of Rocky Mountain peoples, or even to raise a glass of beer while learning about Montana industry—and that only scratches the surface.


Another vital aspect of the museum is its seamless collaboration with MSU instructors and their coursework. Professors often bring classes to MOR as part of their curriculum, utilizing the museum’s unique resources to enhance student learning and engagement.

MOR offers discounted memberships for just $36 per year, giving students unlimited access to the exhibits, the Living History Farm, the Taylor Planetarium, lectures, programming, and more. The museum is also a part of the Association of Science & Technology Center’s Passport Program, which means members enjoy free admission to over 300 other museums across the country and around the world.


Nifty & Thrifty

Only got $20 in your pocket?

by Kate Beaudoin

Face it: as much as you may want to strut around in Patagonia and Orvis, your budget demands something a little more… college. Which is where Bozeman’s local discount stores come in—with a little patience, you can score sweet deals on stylish, lightly used apparel and hard goods. Gear isn’t the only thing with huge post-purchase depreciation—many of these stores also have great buys on used furniture, dorm-room décor, and more.

Second Wind Sports
EmmaLight_ThriftStore20120723_4Imagine rack upon rack of top-of-the-line brands, all at significant discount—at Second Wind, this fantasy is reality. Pick up a new touring setup or a classic Coleman campstove, and everything in between, all without breaking the bank. Got a bunch of climbing gear but decided you’d rather fish? This place operates on consignment, so work with them on prices and you’ll be getting an even bigger discount on that almost-new Winston rod.

Sack’s Thrift Store
This local favorite is a nonprofit that helps support the Help Center & the Sexual Assault Counseling Center. With locations in Bozeman and Belgrade, you’ll find a wide selection of clothes, books, jewelry, antiques, and housewares at Sack’s. They’re also an off-campus employer for work-study and volunteer programs at MSU, so you can get credits to help them out. Hone your scavenging skills during half-price Saturday, which is every Saturday in Belgrade and the first Saturday of the month in Bozeman.

Head West
A western resale-clothing store in the heart of Main Street, Head West carries vintage boots, bags, buckles, jackets, dresses, and more. Everything is in good condition (you really can’t tell that most of it was pre-loved), organized, and easy to find. They also carry new inventory, so you get the best of both worlds.

This store is a local Plato’s Closet—sell your gently used clothes (when they’re accepting; in a college town, they’re nearly always full to the brim with kids seeking extra cash), and pick up great finds on the neatly organized racks. The Cat Walk’s brand-name clothes, shoes, and accessories are always in good condition, and they have a special section with some particularly kooky costumes, so keep your eyes open around Halloween.

Nu2u Thrift
A self-proclaimed “thrift superstore,” Nu2u is more than just catchy text-message shorthand. It’s enormous—full of furniture, décor, and a whole upstairs section dedicated to vintage clothing. It’s the go-to store for new and used costumes with tons of accessories and a wide selection of outfits. If you know what you’re looking for and you have some time on your hands, you’re almost certain to find it here. They also have a huge selection of hunting, camping, and fishing gear.

ReCouture & UFS
EmmaLight_ThriftStore20120723_2For higher-quality items at prices well below retail, head out W. Main, just past 19th. The Used Furniture Store (UFS) has great deals on home furnishings, while ReCouture sells lightly-used clothing, furniture, and more.


Habit for Humanity / Restore
Outfitting your nice rental? This is your spot, with household items, beds, couches, cabinets, blenders, toasters etc.


Modest Maintenance

Tune-up on a tight budget. 

by Ryan Diehl

So you got to school and your gear is in shambles. Your bike needs a tune-up and your skis have core shots galore. Problem is, you’re on a tight budget—does deciding between tuned gear or putting food in your belly sound familiar? Well, now there’s a solution: bring that gear into the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program Bike & Ski Workshop and don’t worry about a thing. This service is provided to MSU students at a low cost to help keep your stuff in tip-top shape, so you can go back to skiing powder and ripping singletrack—I mean, studying.

The Bicycle & Ski Workshop, which is located in the Outdoor Recreation Program building, allows MSU students, faculty/staff, and affiliates to perform maintenance and repairs on personal equipment. All current students have access to tools and the facility for a small fee and are welcome to work on their own bikes, skis, or snowboards. Assistance is often available, as well as drop-off services for a reasonable hourly rate.


You can also purchase essential tools for maintaining a smooth-running bike, or to keep your favorite pair of skis or board in good shape. If mechanics aren’t your specialty, shop attendants are happy to show you the ropes to get you started.

Skiing and biking opportunities abound in the Bozeman area. As an MSU student, you can’t always afford to keep your gear in good working order. So bring it on down to your favorite peer-run shop, feel welcome, and get back to exploring in no time.

For more information, call 994-3621.

Fall reading, Montana Literature

Montana Required Reading: Part I

Fall edition.

by the editors of Outside Bozeman

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ―Groucho Marx

If ever there was a season for reading, it’s autumn. Nights are crisp, days are shorter, and snow has yet to fall in earnest, giving you time to envelop yourself in the written word before ski season turns you into a powder-addicted fiend. This fall, reacquaint yourself with some classics, born from Montana’s landscapes and outdoor heritage. This is Required Reading, fall edition.

Legends of the Fall1. Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
It’s a shame that several of Montana’s more iconic literary works conjure images of a pony-tailed Brad Pitt, but that doesn’t discount their importance as seminal pieces in the Treasure State’s canon, and you can be sure Jim Harrison didn’t have Pitt in mind when writing Legends of the Fall. Known by most as a Hollywood blockbuster starring Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, the story is in fact part of a trilogy, and depicts the Montana of our dreams, before strip malls and housing developments.


Beyond Fair Chase2. Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, by Joe Posewitz
Readers will be surprised that so controversial a sport can have its ethics outlined in so simple a text, but that is the genius of Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. It distills a seemingly complicated topic into clear, straightforward language, making this a requirement for hunters and non-hunters alike.


Sound of a Mountain Stream3. The Sound of the Mountain Stream, by Wallace Stegner
By 1969, the year The Sound of the Mountain Stream was published, the West was developing at a remarkable rate. Populations were booming, industries were changing, and the culture was shifting. Now, more than 45 years later, the West is still in a state of flux. Small cowtowns are no longer small, and cows have taken a back seat to condos. The Sound of the Mountain Stream is a collection of essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches that illustrate the history of the West and the conflicts facing its future.


Law of the Land

Bozeman trail etiquette.

by EJ Porth

We’re pretty lucky to have the 80-mile Main Street to the Mountains trail system right outside our back doors. From campus, you can get downtown or to the top of a mountain—the options are endless. Bikers, runners, dog-owners, commuters, and walkers keep the trails busy, making it everyone’s responsibility to follow the rules so we can care for our community trails and respect fellow users. Being a good trail user is a big deal here in Bozeman. Nothing gets you more glares and frustrated sighs than bad etiquette. But don’t worry—we’ll give you the lowdown on how to fit in and do your part. Here’s what you can do to be an A+ trail user.

Bozeman trail etiquette

A smile and eye contact goes a long way.

Obey signs and trail regulations. If a trail is closed, it’s closed for a reason. If a sign tells you to slow down on your bike, hit the brakes.

Stay on the trail. It might seem like a good idea to take a shortcut between switchbacks, but this can actually create serious damage to the trail. Respect the natural areas around the trail as well. On that note, don’t pick the flowers.

Avoid muddy trails. Especially in the springtime. Hiking or riding muddy trails can cause serious damage and may require significant repair later on. Follow some of the Bozeman trail conditions on Facebook to see what trails are dry and ready to use.

Trail Etiquette Bozeman

Dry trail is good to go; mud means no go.

Keep right. Just like when you’re driving. Pass on the left.

Pass with care. Slow down. Make a noise (some people put bells on their bikes) or announce “on your left” prior to passing.

Honor the right of way. Bikers yield to hikers. Downhill bikers yield to uphill bikers.

Don’t litter. Duh.

PICK UP THE POOP! If you have a dog with you, be mindful of the dog-poop stations with bags and trash cans all along Bozeman’s trail system. Don’t just pick it up and leave the bag on the trail—you’ll forget about it. MSU’s top researchers have proven that ignoring your dog’s poop brings extremely bad trail karma your way.

Obey leash rules. You’re representing all dog owners—help us look good. And no, your dog is not an exception to the rule because it’s “really well behaved.” We all think that about our dogs, but it isn’t always true.

EJ Porth is the communications and outreach manager for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. For a Main Street to the Mountains trail map, stop by a local outdoor store or the GVLT office on S. Wallace.

Bobcat Fest

Mark It Down

Must-do events.

by Nora Mabie

Bozeman might seem like a small town compared to where you’re from, but it’s bustling with activity. These events are can’t-miss.

Bridger Raptor Fest – October 7-9
This festival is free and focuses on the largest known golden-eagle migration in the United States, which takes place every fall along the Bridger Range. Located at Bridger Bowl, the festival features keynote speakers and includes activities such as raptor viewing, nature walks and talks, and educational entertainment for people of all ages.

Bridger Raptor Fest, Bozeman, Montana, MSU

Gettin’ edu-ma-cated at the Raptor Fest.

Huffing for Stuffing – November 24
This is one of Bozeman’s largest races, and it’s for a good cause. Proceeds go to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, and last year they raised $51,000. The race offers a 5k fun run, a 5k timed run, and a 10k. So, sign up, get your turkey costume, and run off all those calories you’ll be gulping down later. 

Christmas Stroll – December 3
Always on the first Saturday in December, the Christmas Stroll is one of Bozeman’s greatest holiday traditions. Take a picture with Santa as he makes his way from the Emerson Cultural Center down Main Street. Make sure to partake of hot cocoa or soup—this stroll can be frigid.

Bozeman Ice Fest – December 7-11
Watch some of the most talented ice climbers from around the world compete against each other in this now-famous competition. Proceeds from the event go to Friends of Hyalite, a nonprofit that supports winter access into Hyalite Canyon. 

Bozeman Ice Festival, Outside Bozeman, MSU

Swinging axes at the Ice Fest.

Wild West Winterfest – TBA
Bundle up and head down to the Gallatin Valley Fairgrounds for some fun (and less common) winter activities. The fest includes history exhibits with activities for kids, a dog keg-pull, skijoring, a snowmobile race, and more. Or if you’ve got what it takes, enter the chili cook-off for a shot at great prizes. 

Torchlight Parade at Bridger Bowl – December 30
Usher in the New Year with a downhill torchlight parade from the top of Bridger Bowl. A family-style dinner is served in the Jim Bridger Lodge and live music accompanies the meal. 

Run to the Pub – March 11
Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day not by drinking your fill, but by running a race and benefiting the Bozeman Area Community Foundation. There’s a 10k and a half-marathon, and both courses are over 90% downhill, so you’ve got gravity on your side. 

VarnerB_run2pub (8)

How Bozeman celebrates St. Paddy’s Day.

Bobcat Fest – 4/28
On the last Friday of classes, join MSU students, faculty, and the Bozeman community on Main Street for good food and free music. Don’t miss this chance to thank Bozeman while the public thanks MSU for being an essential part of the community.

Bozeman, Montana

Welcome to Bozeman

by the editors of Outside Bozeman

It seems like only yesterday my beat-up Honda sputtered over Bozeman Pass and into town. Fresh from Flat-and-Boring, USA, I found my new surroundings breathtaking: jagged lofty mountains, beautiful flowing rivers, and endless powder-blue skies. It didn’t take me long, but as you’re about to find out, choosing Bozeman is one of the best decisions you can make.

Bridger Mountains, Bridger Ridge, Outside Bozeman

The Bridger Range: your new back yard.

Our town is truly a place where the world’s most diverse outdoor opportunities are right at your fingertips. Blue-ribbon trout streams, world-class waterfall ice, deep stashes of fresh powder… all right in our collective back yard. In about 30 minutes, you could be blasting through whitewater rapids, climbing a massive granite wall, or peacefully floating down some lazy river, cooler and friends happily in tow. If the possibilities here seem endless, that’s because they are.

And for the vast quantity of outdoor exploits, there are just as many cultural events. Film festivals, art walks, salsa dancing, farmers markets, and dozens of local bands are available to fill your calendar all year long. Music on Main? TEDx Bozeman? Sweet Pea? You might not know what these events are yet, but by the end of the school year, you will. From down-home rodeos to posh wine tastings, Bozeman’s got the entire spectrum. It’s the cultural centerpiece of southwest Montana.

Bogert Farmers' Market, Winter Market, Outside Bozeman

Local eats at the farmers’ market.

Bozeman residents seem to be just as diverse. Rowdy cowboys cheer right alongside hippies at the big homecoming game; jocks shoot pool with the mellow ski bums at the local bar. Instead of factionalizing over differences, the locals here have it figured out: this rich melting pot of culture and country is what makes our town so great. It seems that Bozeman has found (and kept) the perfect balance of big-city opportunity and small-town hospitality.

Now, nearly 15 years after my first day, I’m just as in love. Bozeman still just keeps getting better. Our little mountain town continues to bloom, offering new and exciting opportunities for everyone, from the lifetime local to the starry-eyed freshman. Trust me when I say you’ll only truly regret the things you didn’t do—so put the textbooks down every so often and go have an adventure.

IanRoderer_DaveDieselDriver_OutdoorClimbing (2)

When Things Go Wrong

The benefits of wilderness medicine. 

by Corey Hockett

I sat in our campsite anxiously sipping coffee, watching the sunrise. A chilly breeze sifted through the valley and defied the morning light’s warmth. As the rays stretched on the distant rock, I looked at one wall in particular. The evening prior, my group spent hours on it—streaking up some routes, and struggling with others.

Climbing, Landscape, Rock, Wilderness Medicine,

Evening sun on “Captain Caveman.”

My mind was stuck on one. I’d made it most of the way up, but after many attempts, traversed to an easier pitch to finish the climb. In the end, I’d gotten to the top, but I hadn’t really done the route. Same went for my mate Michael. Heading to camp, we vowed to come back the next morning to give it another crack.

At about 9am, after breakfast, we headed up the trail—a heinous approach pitched around 50 degrees, scattered with heavy deadfall. Reaching the climb’s base, we threw our packs down, huffing and puffing to catch our breath. Michael tied in, noting he was keen to hop on it first, while our friend Ashley put him on belay. Content watching, I sat against a tree to admire from below.

The first few bolts were quick and fluid as Michael worked smoothly through each of his moves. Once he hit the crux—an exposed face 15 feet above a protruding ledge—, things started to turn. Stuck in place, he clung statically to the wall as his technique fell apart. Violent exhales accompanied frantic shifts to and fro as he tried to figure out the sequence. I looked at Ashley and told her to get ready to catch him. After 30 more seconds of unsuccessful problem solving, his effort turned to desperation.

“Eh, Ah, Shit!” he yelled.  And then he came off.

Ashley locked him tight, but enough rope was out that he fell to the ledge and collapsed. The collision echoed at an alarming volume, his ankles taking the brunt of it. Suspended and dangling in the air, he shrieked gasps of pain and gave no response to our calls from below.

Michael is tough and he’s not one to milk a scene for attention–this was serious. He scraped down the rock as Ashley slowly lowered him. When he finally grounded, we rolled up his pant legs—the injury was worse than we thought. Both ankles were black, blue, and abnormally swollen—one the size of a baseball.

My mind raced, but suddenly flashed back to the Wilderness First Aid course I took in Bozeman. It was only a two-day class, but it had given me the basics, which in the moment were essential. Ashley and I talked through our treatment, remembering the protocol and forming a game plan. We slung his ankles with shirts and stabilized them with sticks and release straps.

Wilderness Medicine, Injury, Feet, Climbing,

An ad hoc bracing apparatus.

Luckily, we had a group large enough to carry him so with four of us, we hoisted him up and slowly brought him down feet first, as taught. It was a long, and for Michael, gruesome process, but we got him down safely in time for the professionals to take over. After they left, Ashley and I went over what we did and how we could’ve improved.

Watching my buddy fall and shatter his ankles was a major eye opener and has me thinking differently. What if the approach was actually six miles instead of a half-mile? What if there had only been two of us  instead of five? These questions, although I hate asking them, could very well be the scenario down the road.

Accidents may be beyond our control, but being prepared isn’t. If you’re an outdoor fanatic, take a Wilderness Medicine Course. Your partners will be glad you did.


Festival of the 4th

Music and fireworks in the open air.

by Orville Bach

From rodeos to river floats, Fourth of July weekend is jam-packed with activity, but there’s one event you should mark as can’t-miss on your calendar. It happens only once a year, it’s fun and exciting, and best of all, it’s free. I’m speaking, of course, of the renowned Bozeman Symphony’s outdoor concert under the stars, Festival of the Fourth.

A full house enjoys the show.

A full house enjoys the show.

Now, we’re not talking slow classical minuets, but rather inspiring and lively pops tunes, as explosive as the post-performance fireworks display. So plan to hop on your bike and ride over to the Gallatin County Fairgrounds for an exciting treat on the evening of July 4.

Just imagine relaxing in a lawn chair, gazing at the alpenglow bathing the Bridgers, while the Bozeman Symphony plays moving, patriotic music. The entire evening is a sensory delight, beginning with an assortment of tasty food choices from various vendors and culminating with an explosion of light amid the dark summer sky.

Around 9pm, as twilight envelops the Gallatin Valley and jackets slide over shivering shoulders, conductor Matthew Savery takes the stage. His enthusiasm and personality reflecting the towering mountains behind him, Savery bellows a hearty welcome to the crowd and introduces the orchestra. Draped over the stage is a massive, contoured bandshell for lighting and acoustics.

The music starts, and for the next 90 minutes – while darkness obscures sight and enhances sound – the audience enjoys a wide range of symphonic selections. Maestro Savery always saves the most rousing rendition for last, and it culminates in perfect time with the fireworks exploding overhead. The symphony gives way to recorded music, and for the next half-hour, the sky blazes with light as classic, freedom-themed songs pour from the speakers. If you don’t get goose bumps listening to this inspiring music while fireworks detonate overhead in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, you need to check your pulse.

Ole Glory catches the last evening light.

Ole Glory catches the last evening light.

Festival of the Fourth is free and open to the public, with donations accepted for the event’s sponsor, the Gallatin Empire Lions Club. Bleachers are available, but plan on bringing a light, a portable chair, and a blanket for closer, more comfortable seating — and get there early. The hassle of parking and traffic congestion can be easily avoided by riding your bike to the event.  Just remember to have adequate lighting on your bike and helmet for a safe return trip.

Enjoy the show.

Student Life, Outdoor Advice