“Gradual ascent over divide from Hyalite into upper Bozeman Creek drainage over little-used trails to Mystic Lake Cabin”
— Gary Hellenga
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Start point only accessible by vehicle outside road closure period (1 April - 15 May)
Need to Know
Mystic Lake cabin can be rented from forest service offices in Bozeman, or online at recreation.gov. Sleeps 4. Some parts of the trail in New World Gulch are on Montana State lands - get a recreation permit to use these lands from hunting stores in Bozeman, or the FWP office.
Start from Lick Creek
parking area. Follow the Lick Creek
ascent line (forest service road 455) until the Lick Creek
line turns left into a gap in the trees, where it leaves the road at a horseshoe bend. Instead of following this path off the road, continue E on road 455 until trail 436 (Wildhorse / Upper Bozeman Creek) branches off to the left at about 3.5 miles from the parking area. Follow trail 436 across the divide (may be hard to follow the trail in this section - this trail does not get much winter use), then drop down into the Wildhorse drainage on fairly steep trail. Trail meets up with forest service road as slopes moderate - turn left here, and follow the road downhill. At about 5.75 - 6.0 miles, you'll intersect the main road up Bozeman (Sourdough) Creek - turn right and contour up and above the creek, climbing to the Mystic Lake dam and cabin in another 1.5 - 1.75 miles.
Pleasant climb over divide from Mystic Lake to New World Gulch (Bear Canyon) From Mystic Lake Cabin, descend north to Mystic Lake and ski across lake to northern-most point (if lake not adequately frozen, use the trails E and N of the cabin to circle counterclockwise around the north end of the lake). From the end of the lake, continue NW until you intersect the trail coming from New World Gulch. As you climb the open slopes NW of the lake, look for a switchback that climbs NE from the upper reaches of the open slopes, through the forest - this switchback gains a long, NW-trending ridgeline that you'll follow NW to reach the divide separating the Mystic Lake basin from the upper reaches of the New World Gulch. A long descent through the forest will eventually bring you to a large open meadow just SE of Mount Ellis. Continue down the meadow, staying near the left side (but E of the creekbed). As you approach the treeline on the north side of the meadow, look for the trail coming up from the New World Gulch trailhead. Pick up this line as part of the ski line of Mount Ellis - Direct
; descend more or less in the creek bed all the way to the parking lot (about 5.5 miles from Mystic Lake cabin)