Integrating Research and Education > Trail Guides

The Trail Guide Project

The earth never tires;
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first—Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things, well envelop'd;
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road, Leaves of Grass

Jump down to: Introduction | About this Project | Safe and Responsible Hiking

Introduction to the Project

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Family hiking on the trail to Windy Pass.

Welcome to the Trail Guide Project! Our hope is that these web pages will encourage you to put on your hiking boots and go out and explore the natural wonders of a variety of trails in the vicinity of Bozeman, Montana. Each of the trail guides provides a photo overview of the sites you will see on the trail, and we also provide more background information about the geologic history of the area (fossils, landforms, rock types, structures) with links and references to help you explore these topics in more detail if you have interest. It is our belief that your time on the trail will be more enjoyable if you know a bit more about the natural history of the area. Trail guides are available for these hikes:

About This Project

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The Sunday Hiking Club, geology majors from the Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University.

This project was done in a series of hikes by the "Sunday Hiking Club" in the fall of 2009 with geology majors from the Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University: Thomas Beers, Josh Bent, Tyson Berndt, Travis Corthouts, Nathan Danz, Tom Isaacs, Thomas Rendle, and Professor of Geology, David Mogk. Students participated in all the hikes, and subsequently worked in small groups to produce these web pages. Review of these pages was done by Dept. of Earth Sciences faculty Drs. Steve Custer, Jim Schmitt, David Lageson, Bill Locke, and Todd Feeley; special thanks for the reviews and for permission to use images from their personal collections.

This project was developed as part of the On the Cutting Edge program for professional development of geoscience faculty, with funding from the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement program (grant EAR XX-XXXXX). These web pages were developed in anticipation of forthcoming Cutting Edge workshops on Teaching Geoscience with Service Learning and Teaching Geoscience in the Field. We hope that these web pages will serve as a national model for other groups to do service learning projects to promote field-based learning by developing similar trail guides in their own region.

This project was also done in cooperation with the Gallatin National Forest. Check out their website for more information about current forest conditions, fire and avalanche danger, maps and brochures, and other educational and recreational resources.

To read other contributions about this project, check out the Earth and Mind blog, with essays on Through a Lens Darkly and Then Face to Face which reflects on the transformative nature of photography, and Helping Parents Help Their Children to Discover Nature. Also, take a look at Robert Louv's Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder; there is important food for thought in this volume.

Safe and Responsible Hiking

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Taking a break on Hellroaring Trail, Spanish Peaks, looking west across Bear Basin.Photo by David Mogk.

Please remember that these trails will take you to pristine, high Alpine wilderness areas. These environments are very fragile, and potentially hazardous. Get out and enjoy the wonders that these trails reveal, but while you're out there, please remember:



Enjoy your days on the trail, but remember, this is a resource that needs care and protection! wildness is the preservation of the world.

Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 1862

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