Route: The Hyalite Picnic

Submitted by Ryan Russ on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 01:10pm
Montana, US
60 mi
Vertical Gain
6,055 m

The Hyalite Picnic also know as The Hyalicknic and The Hyalite Peaknic is a backcountry triathlon modeled after the original Grand Teton Picnic. The Hyalite Picnic is an ode to one of the most beautiful canyons in the area. This route contains a fulfilling blend of mountain activities and reminds you that a big day in the mountains can be accessed right from town. This canyon is also extremely important to the area as it is home to our drinking watershed and contains 80% of our drinking water. Be sure to soak in the view throughout the day and appreciate how much this canyon has to offer. Picnic triathlons are intended to be fun so make sure to pack your favorite snacks to share along the way!

The picnic triathlons are meant to be self-propelled from start to end and many choose to start them from their home. For the purposes of creating a more inclusive route the Baxter Hotel located at the heart of downtown Bozeman was chosen to be the start and finish. The Baxter hotel is one of the most iconic landmarks in town. Built in 1929, the hotel is topped with a gigantic sign meant to be seen from up to 70 miles away. The sign is lit at all times and the Blue Bridger Bowl light is also located on top of the building which blinks signaling to the locals when there is fresh snow at Bridger Bowl Ski Area. This start and end is also lovely because you can immediately find a place to eat and drink upon completing your big day in the mountains. 

The Hyalite Picnic Stats:

  • Start @ the Baxter Hotel on Main Street
  • Bike from the Baxter Hotel to the Boat Ramp on the northwest end of Hyalite Reservoir 
    • 18 miles, 2,070' gain
  • Swim across the reservoir to beach located here: 45.4762072, -110.9573583
    • 1.2 miles
    • There is a parking lot at this location 
  • Run from the reservoir along Hyalite Canyon Rd. to the Grotto Falls TH from here continue to the summit of Hyalite peak and reverse back to the Reservoir
    • 21 miles, 3,830' gain
  • Swim back to the Boat Ramp
    • 1.2 miles
  • Bike back to the Baxter Hotel on Main Street
    • 18 miles, 182' gain

Overall Stats:

  • Bike 36 miles (~2,250' gain)
  • Swim 2.4 miles
  • Run 21 miles (~3,830' gain)

Important item to note, Hyalite reservoir has algal bloom issues (cyanobacteria) in later summer and early fall. It is important to check with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to see if a warning has been posted for the summer. Additionally, swim length changes slightly throughout the summer as the reservoir level lowers making the swim a bit shorter and the transitions longer later in the year.