Getting in and on the water is all part of the Big Sky summer experience. From paddling in pristine mountain streams, floating and rafting the rivers, and swimming in alpine lakes to fly-fishing excursions, kayak and SUP adventures, wild water skiing and even luxury outdoor pools – we’ve got the best places to enjoy the water in Big Sky and get your vacation planning started!
Hidden Lakes is a collection of 8 gorgeous alpine lakes hidden deep in the Gallatin Range, with endless options for a refreshing dip. The Hidden Lakes Trailhead is a short drive from Big Sky Resort and the hiking trail weaves for 3 miles through old growth pine forests and meadows of wildflowers to three stunning alpine lakes, nestled at 9,000 ft. Pack a picnic, fly rod and swim gear to spend a day with Mother Nature in the remote wilderness of Montana at Hidden Lakes, Big Sky.
The Green Bridge crosses the Gallatin River at the Deer Creek Trailhead, 6 miles out of Big Sky on Hwy 191 to Bozeman. In the summer months, you’ll find locals and visitors to Big Sky playing on the river banks, fly-fishing for trout, swimming in the Gallatin River, and bridge jumping off the Green Bridge. It’s a Big Sky summer tradition!
1. Lake Levinsky
Lake Levinsky is one of Big Sky’s top summer attractions, nestled beneath the iconic Lone Peak at the base of Big Sky Resort Mountain Village. Don’t just drive by, there’s a small sandy beach and marina for summer visitors to Big Sky to enjoy hours of fun fishing, kayaking, canoeing, SUPing and refreshing dips in the lake.
Geyser Whitewater Expeditions offer boat rentals on Lake Levinsky from 10am to 6pm daily through the summer – first come first serve by the hour or day or book a Family Adventure Card for a week of unlimited summer boating on Lake Levinsky, Big Sky. While you’re there, speak with them about a Gallatin River Rafting Package for a thrilling whitewater rafting trip in Big Sky.
2. Ulerys Lake
Ulerys Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in the Madison Mountains on Moonlight Basin. The lake is accessible on the tranquil Ulerys Lake Loop Trail – or spend your vacation lakeside in a Ulerys Lake Cabin eligible for Moonlight Club guest membership to enjoy the private Ulerys lakeside dock, and summer lake activities reserved exclusively for Moonlight Club members.
3. Ousel Falls
Ousel Falls is one of the top 10 waterfalls of Montana and is only a short walk from Big Sky Town Center! The Ousel Falls Trail is one of the most accessible Big Sky hiking trails, an easy 1.6 mile hike perfect for the whole family. The forested trail winds along the Gallatin River with streams and river pools along the way for wading and dips, and a natural swimming pool at the base of the impressive Ousel Falls. Ousel Falls freezes over in the winter, so expect a refreshing dip in icy waters!
4. Beehive Basin Trail
Beehive Basin is ranked one of the best hikes in the world and is an epic and popular day hike in Big Sky. In the summer months you will not find a more scenic Big Sky setting to swim, at 9,200 feet in the Montana mountains surrounded by fields of wildflowers, towering peaks and a breathtaking glacial lake, the perfect alpine playground for swimming and trout fishing too!
The Beehive Basin Trail is a 6.6-mile roundtrip weaving through the glacially carved alpine basin, with a couple of tough switchbacks and steep inclines, unparalleled views of Lone Peak and great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Always be bear aware in Montana, carry bear spray, and watch out for Moose along the way! It’s a true Montana adventure and a beautiful place to swim in Big Sky. Stay minutes from the Beehive Basin Trailhead this summer with Big Sky Vacation Rentals!
5. Hot Springs Resorts near Big Sky
Big Sky is only a scenic drive away from some of the top hot springs resorts in the US! Each of these Montana hot springs resorts offer their own unique experience with luxury amenities, gourmet dining, live outdoor music and a chance to swim and soak in the natural, healing waters. Our guide to the Best Montana Hot Springs near Big Sky will help you pick the spot that suits your style.
6. Hebgen Lake
If you’re seeking water activities a little more exhilarating than kayaking and canoeing, take a scenic drive from Big Sky to Hebgen Lake located on the world-famous Madison River, only 50-miles south of Big Sky. Kirkwood Marina has fishing boats to embark on a world-class trout fishing adventure or rent a speedboat for water skiing, tubing and hours of water sports on Hebgen Lake near Big Sky, MT.
7. Yellowstone National Park
It’s always worth adding a day to your Big Sky itinerary to explore the beauty of Yellowstone National Park and take a dip in the geothermal waters! There are only two areas you can swim and soak in Yellowstone National Park – the Boiling River near Mammoth Hot Springs (North Entrance) and the Firehole River near Madison Junction (West Entrance). Both swim areas are currently closed, please check the National Park Service before planning your summer swimming in Yellowstone.
8. Moonlight Club
Big Sky Vacation Rentals represent a collection of luxury Big Sky rentals that offer guests the option to add Moonlight Club Guest Membership to their vacation.
The Moonlight Club at Moonlight Basin boasts a year-round heated pool and hot tub with a family-friendly area for the kids to play. Whether it’s just two of you seeking a cozy mountain cabin or you’re bringing the whole family to Big Sky – you’ll find the vacation home of your dreams eligible for Moonlight Club’s luxury outdoor pool and hot tub for summer swimming in Big Sky, MT.