This trail gets little use given its proximity to Livingston and is a hidden gem. The trail skirts through mixed conifers and follows Suce Creek, then Lost Creek. Every season is special along Suce Creekin the summer the creek provides a cool respite; in autumn, red and orange leaves cover the trail; winter brings conifer boughs balancing snow; and with the arrival of spring the wildflowers pop and bloom in the meadows and other sunny spots.
Leaving the trailhead parking area, walk south through an open meadow to a gate. After passing through the gate, the trail enters forest. Soon after, a trail sign points to West Baldy Basin, straight ahead (and North Fork Deep Creek behind you and to the right). Continue straight ahead and begin the decent to a creek crossing.
Cross the creek (a tributary of Suce Creek) on the bridge and turn right, following an old road. Suce Creek is to the left. Head up the gently ascending valley.
At .6 miles from the first creek crossing, you will cross Suce Creek and hike up the right side of Lost Creek (dry). In less than a 1.5 miles, cross Lost Creeknow with flowing waterand traverse up the side of a rocky mountain until reaching a gate and a Wilderness Boundary sign, about .3 miles further. Enjoy views into the Absarokas and across the Paradise Valley before returning to the trailhead the way you came.
Ruffed Grouse can sometimes be seen along this trail, especially after the first creek crossing. These grouse eat weed seeds and grow special comb-like structures (called pectinations) on the sides of their feet to help them walk on top of the snow.
From our turn around point you can continue towards Livingston Peak (to the right) or meet up with the Livingston Peak Trail (straight ahead).
Just the Facts
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1090 feet
Maps: Beartooth Publishing, Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, USGS Livingston Peak, and Brisbin
Getting There: From Livingston, head south on Highway 89 for 3 miles. Turn left on East River Road and continue another 2.7 miles. Turn left again, on Suce Creek Rd, marked by a street sign as well as a brown National Forest sign. Follow the dirt and gravel road 1.5 miles to another Forest Service access sign and turn right. Drive 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
Read about this trail and many others in Stone’s hiking guide. Buy it here:
Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana, 3rd (Day Hikes) by Robert Stone