Field Trip Friday: Passage Creek Falls

Passage Creek Falls holds a special place in my heart. Tucked up in Mill Creek–the largest drainage on “our side” of the Abasroka Mountains–it’s a place Henry and I visited when I was pregnant with Anders. It’s the place where Anders did his first longish hike, and the trail where Finn walked two miles at just two years old.

2006 flashback. Anders’ first trip to Passage Creek Falls.

Rigby in his “don’t shoot me, I’m not a wolf” vest in 2006.

It’s also quite lovely. Late summer means tons of thimbleberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Fall is all warm colors and crisp days. In winter the ski to frozen falls (take the sticks off before the little cliff!) is a perfect leg stretch. And in spring, the water is high and the falls are big.

This time, it was Finn’s longest walk to date. That’s a pretty big deal. Getting Finn to walk five miles round trip with little complaint and no meltdowns, just might be a breakthrough. I don’t want to make too big a deal of it, but this boy who sticks to his guns, stands up for himself, and doesn’t let anyone else tell him what to do, can really impede on my hiking dreams. Fortunately, that passion and persistence will really pay off for him one day.

Passage Creek Falls trail is also the place I learned about candy motivation a couple years ago. This time it was trail mix with M & Ms. It works for me, too.

There are two mandatory, and one optional bridge crossing to get to the falls. All three are fun.

I love the contrast between the burned trees, green plants, and blue sky.

Shrooms!

Bluebells.

Picking dandelions along the trail kept the boys busy. We only pick non-native plants.

Then we entertain ourselves by decorating Diesel. Doesn’t he look pretty?

Just beyond this trail junction is where you take your skis off and leave your horse behind.

Passage Creek Falls was pumping.

Diesel still only cares about the stick.

Phlox.

If only we could keep going into this…

Larkspur.

Rock inspection.

Plan Your Own Trip

What: A 2.5 mile (one-way) hike to Passage Creek Falls. The first 1.6 miles is pancake flat, then the trail goes up a bit, and steeply down to the falls.
Why: Easy trail, pretty flowers, big waterfall.
Where: Take Hwy 89 S. from Livingston about 14 miles. Turn left on Mill Creek Road, cross the Yellowstone River and East River Road, then drive about 15 miles to the trailhead on right.
Who: Families, kids, adults, mountain bikers, horse riders…

Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana is a good hiking guide for this trail and another 109 trails in the area.

One thought on “Field Trip Friday: Passage Creek Falls

  1. Debi

    We have a hike in Yosemite we return to every year. There’s something very comforting about returning to the the same spot once or twice every year. Things are never the same – be it the kids, parents or nature itself. I kinda like that.

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