Northern Rockies Nirvana

Bozeman, Montana

Flip It and Reverse It: Run the Gallatin's Class III riffs     Photo: Artville

The Inside 5

When he's not on expedition, Bozeman alpinist Conrad Anker prefers: 1. Taking his family wolf-watching in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. 2. Soaking in thermal baths at Chico Hot Springs. 3. Canoeing the Yellowstone River, then stopping at Martin's Cafe, in Livingston, for a burger. 4. Running the 1.5-mile Galigator Trail and getting "a good pump" on its new 12-foot-high, 50-problem concrete boulder. 5. Free-soloing Spare Rib, a 5.8 hand crack in Gallatin Canyon.

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The Perfect Angle: About 50 miles of burbling Montana riffles roll between Ennis Lake and Quake Lake, on the Madison River, at such a consistent pace (five miles per hour, to be exact) that even beginner anglers can cast well enough to sucker fat browns and rainbows into swallowing a fly. Float or wade, but be sure to arm your tippet with caddis and salmon flies and yellow Sallies. Madison River Fishing Company, 800-227-7127
Spin Cycle: While new-school steepcreekers don body armor to push the limits of runnable whitewater on Big Timber Creek, the Class III rapids on the Gallatin River, near Big Sky, appeal to those who like to paddle without risk of reconstructive surgery. Montana Whitewater Raft Company, 800-799-4465
Climbs and Pines: The limestone walls in Gallatin Canyon, 20 miles southwest of Bozeman, tower some 200 feet over spindly spruce and fir and come peppered with hundreds of rock-climbing routes. Test your mettle on the newest batch of sport climbs at Scorched Earth, near Squaw Creek, where you can tinker on the 5.9 Child's Play before offering up your soul to the 100-foot-long Unholy Act, a 5.11a. Barrel Mountaineering, 406-582-1335
Grind the Divide: One of southwestern Montana's newest trails, the 23-mile Bangtail Divide singletrack starts with a 40-switchback climb near Bracket Creek; spin the 1,000 feet of vert to the top and you'll be rewarded with views of the Bridger Mountains, the Gallatins, the Tobacco Roots, and other toothy ranges. Keep your eyes open for bear and moose. Summit Bike & Ski, 406-587-1064
Park and Ride: The most remote spot in the lower 48 sits in southeastern Yellowstone National Park: Saddle up for an 85-mile horsepack trip through this area, the Thorofare district, by crossing the Yellowstone River and riding the meadows on the South Boundary Trail. Cast for trout in the Snake River, watching for grizzlies along the way. Wilderness Pack Trips, 406-848-9953

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Swing by five-year-old Bozeman Brewing Company's tasting room Monday through Saturday for a pint of their Bozone Select or Plum St. Porter. 406-585-9142

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