This route is perfect for a quick outing close to town—power through the loop for a solid workout or take a moment at any one of the numerous benches along the way to enjoy the views of the Gallatin Valley. This is a highly trafficked run, so it does get packed out in the winter, but numerous shady sections can be somewhat treacherous and icy. Because the Triple Tree Trail is open to bikes, be prepared to encounter mountain bikers in addition to other runners.
The initial portion of the trail is quite open and exposed making this a very hot run in the summer. Limestone Creek is a good source of water for dogs, but be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself!
Leave Bozeman going south on Sourdough Road. The Triple Tree Trailhead will be on the left (east) side of the road. Departing from the trailhead which has excellent signage and a map, the Triple Tree Trail heads directly east across the grassy fields and over gentle hills, occasionally crossing over Limestone Creek.
At right about 1.0 mile, there's a junction where the Painted Hills Connector Trail
intersects the Triple Tree Trail from the north. The Painted Hills Connector Trail
, which connects to the Painted Hills Trail
, makes it possible to run the Triple Tree Trail from town. It'd be a fairly long adventure, but it's always fun to take trails from town all the way to the mountains.
Stay on the Triple Tree Trail, turning 90 degrees to the south, heading over a little hill and straight for the foothills of Mount Ellis. From there, the trail climbs steadily, switchbacking up to the highest point of the loop. The lollipop loop portion of the trail is easy to follow in either direction—going counterclockwise is a gentler climb and a steeper descent while clockwise is a bit steeper on the climb and more moderate on the downhill. But the difference is fairly negligible.
Clearings along the way, and especially at the top offer sweeping views of the entire Gallatin Valley. There's even a bench at the highest point of the trail that's perfect for taking a break and enjoying the view of the farmlands, town, and mountains. During spring and summer, these meadows are full of wildflowers.