Waterfalls Montana Home
HOME | SEARCH | BROWSE | MAP | CONTACT     

HOME > South Central Montana > Ousel Falls

Ousel Falls
Big water here   
  Quality:

The trailhead starts from Ousel Falls Park parking lot. At the starting point for the trail is a handicapped accessible toilet and a highly informative interpretive sign. Hiking down on this well maintained, switchbacking trail into this wonderful canyon is fun. At the bottom is a sturdy footbridge crossing the South Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River. Walking upstream among towering Engelmann Spruce trees you soon hear, then see South Fork Cascade. A picnic table is there for the hiker stop to rest, enjoy the view and eat if they like. Continuing upstream along this forested trail another 400 yards is dazzling Ousel Falls. Another picnic table is located at this lush, mossy, enchanted, canyon floor setting for you to enjoy.
Access
From Bozeman drive west on Huffine Lane 9 miles to Four Corners, turn south on US Highway 191 for another 34 miles. You cross the beautiful Gallatin River many times and view some of Montana finest scenery in the Gallatin Canyons, before the turnoff to the Big Sky Road. Next take a right driving west 2.4 miles to Ousel Falls Road. Straight ahead you can’t help but notice awesome Lone Mountain, home to Big Sky Ski resort and one of the highest peaks in the Gallatin National Forest at 11,188 feet. At Ousel Falls Road go left for another 2 miles to Ousel Falls Park and the trailhead's at the backside of the parking lot.
History
Ousel Falls we believe is named after a bird, the Water Ouzel or the Dipper as it is more commonly known in other areas of the United States. Water Ouzel’s are often spotted in the water and along the banks upstream and downstream of Ousel Falls. Water Ouzel’s feed on insect life in streams; in deeper water it actually dives into the water and runs along the bottom with half-open wings.

The Spanish Peaks massif parallels along the western side of the Gallatin Canyon. This 3 billion year old metamorphic rock is some of the oldest in North America. From the mouth of the canyon to the locality of Big Sky these rugged mountains are huge blocks of Precambrian basement rock uplifted along the Spanish Peaks fault. Going south from fault, towards Yellowstone National Park, you see more sedimentary formations deposited during the Paleozoic period.

Big Sky community sit at the base of 11,188 ft. Lone Mountain. This area was first homesteaded in 1915 by Clarence Lytel as a working cattle ranch he named the Lone Mountain Ranch. In 1926 it was then sold to a Chicago paper mill tycoon F.O. Butler, who had built many of the existing buildings on the ranch. In the late 1960’s Chet Huntley with Chrysler and several other corporation purchased the Lone Mountain Ranch and some land, much is what now is known as Big Sky. Big Sky Mountain and Meadows Villages in the early 1970’s started developing into one of Montana’s first destination alpine ski areas. Today the Big Sky resort has over 3500 skiable acres and with 4100 feet of total vertical drop ranks as one of the most in the U.S.
Camping
Greek Creek Campground (USFS) is 31 miles south of Bozeman on US Highway 191. Available from May 15 to September 15, there are 14 units, potable water, handicapped accessible facilities, trash pickup, and a $10/day with a $6/day additional vehicle fee. Activities: Scenic/Wildlife Viewing, Fishing, Hiking, Kayaking, Rafting
Moose Creek Flat Campground (USFS) is 32 miles south of Bozeman on US Highway 191. Available from May 15 to September 15, there are 12 units plus 1 group site, potable water, trash pickup and a $10/day fee with $6/day for each additional vehicle. Activities: Blue Ribbon fishing on the Gallatin, Hiking, Rafting, Kayaking, Wildflower Viewing
Red Cliff Campground (USFS) is 48 miles south of Bozeman on US Highway 191. Available from May 15 to September 15, there are 63 units with 13 of those have electric hookups, potable water, handicapped accessible facilities, trash pickup and a $10/day fee, $4/day more for an electric site, with $6/day for an additional vehicle.

Falls Information
Area: South Central MT
Stream name: South Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River
Stream size: Medium Creek
Falls height: 100 ft.
Elevation: 6540
Latitude: 45.2415360711552
Longitude: -111.336822509766
» Stock Photo Available? » Map this Waterfall!
Our funding sources of course...

  All Content © 2005 - 2011 Mountain Imagery. No unauthorized reproduction of any kind is allowed without permission.  

Notice! Waterfalls can be very dangerous. Please take all cautions when hiking, floating or camping around waterfalls. Mountain Media or any of its affiliates takes no responsibility for your safety nor do they guarantee that it is safe and/or legal to visit and view these waterfalls. You are fully responsible for your own safety at all times. Mountain Media cannot give you permission to trespass on any private land.
Always ask for permission before hiking on private land.