WATCH: Upper Hyalite Road to be Paved: Public Safety, User Experience & Watershed Health
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: November 9, 2019

Bozeman, MT – Beginning this fall and continuing through summer of 2020, the Upper Hyalite Road on the Bozeman R.D., Custer Gallatin National Forest will be reconstructed and paved from the dam at Hyalite Reservoir to the Y where the road splits and leads to Grotto Falls Trailhead or Palisade Falls/East Fork Hyalite.  The project, which is to start at the end of October, is aimed to provide for greater public safety on one of the most popular National Forest recreational corridors in Montana, decrease runoff and sedimentation going directly into Bozeman’s municipal watershed and to enhance user experiences throughout all seasons.  The project will also help decrease long-term maintenance demands.

Surveys from Friends of Hyalite, a non-profit organization, partnering with the Forest Service and dedicated to the stewardship and support of Hyalite Canyon, estimates on average approximately 50,000 people visit Hyalite monthly during the summer and approximately 20,000 people visit monthly during the winter, with those numbers only projected to increase.

“This project recognizes the use and importance of Hyalite to the people of Gallatin County and beyond.  It receives some of the highest use in the state on National Forest System lands and we first and foremost want to provide for public safety.  For this project that includes widening portions of the road, adding guardrails and turnouts and paving the road to decrease maintenance demands over the long-run.  The project will also decrease the overall amount of sedimentation entering our municipal watershed,” said Corey Lewellen, Bozeman District Ranger.   “I think those who visit Hyalite will enjoy the improvements.”

Those heading up to Hyalite this fall should expect delays of up to 30 minutes associated with tree cutting along the road right-of-way and in a short section close to the Chisolm day use area.  Ultimately the road will be rerouted near Chisolm day use area, which will help address safety and resource concerns with the current road being in close proximity to the reservoir.  This will also enhance the existing day use area providing a great place for walkers, strollers, bikes and more to enjoy.  The majority of work will occur next spring and summer of 2020, and project updates will continue.  Due to the project, the main Hyalite road above the dam will have an additional two-week closure, which will include all of May 2020, (coinciding with the annual closure April 1 – May 15).  The road above the dam will reopen June 2020, and users can expect detours and delays, throughout the summer until the project is completed in the Fall of 2020.  Additional details and project specifics for spring 2020 will be identified closer to the dates.   Recreation sites on already reflect these noted closures.  For additional information please contact the Bozeman Ranger District at 406-522-2520.

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