Silken Skein Falls, Gallatin County

Jason Gass
Last Updated: February 27th, 2023

A skein is defined as a tangle or complicated arrangement of objects or situations. This is the perfect description of the Silken Skein Falls in Hyalite Canyon, Montana.

This delicate waterfall cascades through a web of trees. There are five separate drops on the Silken Skein Falls, with the final drop creating a beautiful, delicate stream of water that looks almost like strands of silk.

Silken Skein Falls can be found south of Bozeman, MT on Hyalite Canyon Road. This waterfall is one of 12 waterfalls that can be found in Hyalite Canyon.

Nine of the falls, including Silken Skein Falls can be found along the Hyalite Lake Trail. Silken Skein Falls is the only one of the nine that is not right along the trail.

A Guide to Silken Skein Falls

To access Silken Skein Falls, you’ll take an off-shoot trail from the main Hyalite Lake Trail. The quarter-mile trail to Silken Skein Falls is a challenging uphill hike that is completely worth the effort. It is difficult to see all five drops from any one point, but the three lower drops are easy to see and are quite beautiful.

Silken Skein Falls Statistics

silken skein falls statistics
Image: Keith Ewing
  • Elevation: 8,050 feet (2,466 meters)
  • Height: 240 feet
  • Trailhead: Hyalite Lake Trail
  • Season (when can it be accessed): Year Round

Things to Do Near Silken Skein Falls

The area around Silken Skein Falls is dotted with places to enjoy outdoor activities. Hyalite Canyon is a great place to start, but there are tons of spots in the Bozeman area that offer visitors outstanding opportunities for exploring and recreating.


Silken Skein Falls is located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The National Forest is crisscrossed with outstanding hiking trails. In the Bozeman area, there are approximately 392 hiking trails.

Hiking trails near Silken Skein Falls range from multi-day hikes that are best for experienced hikers to short easy trails that are family and dog friendly.

Mountain Biking

mountain biking

Many of the trails in the Custer Gallatin National Forest are multi-use, making this an outstanding place to try your hand at single-track mountain biking.

In Hyalite Canyon most trails are open to mountain bikers. However, the Hyalite Lake trail is very steep and is considered to be relatively difficult.

If you’re just getting started with mountain biking, the National Forest near Bozeman offers a wealth of trails that will be fun to explore and help you improve your biking skills.


Hyalite Reservoir is a great place to camp if you want to be close to the trails that take you past the multiple waterfalls in the Canyon. However, these two campgrounds aren’t the only ones that are close to the Silken Skein waterfall.

The National Forest operates a number of developed campgrounds in the Custer Gallatin National Forest near Bozeman. If campgrounds are too busy to make camping enjoyable for you, the National Forest also allows dispersed camping in most parts of the forest. You’ll want to check the NFS website for current camping and campfire regulations.

Closer to Bozeman you’ll find a number of RV parks that offer full hook-ups as well as cabins and tent camping sites.


The Bozeman area has some of the best snowmobiling areas in Montana. Many of the Forest Service roads in the Custer Gallatin National Forest are not accessible to vehicles during the winter. These forest service roads become ideal spots for snowmobiling.

Hyalite Canyon Road is relatively accessible during the winter. However, once you reach Hyalite Lake, the Hyalite Lake Road which takes you to the trailhead to Silken Skein Falls becomes impassable for vehicles.

This road is popular with snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers.

Can You Swim at Silken Skein Falls

Swimming at Silken Skein Falls is not possible. The five drops of the falls don’t leave much for creating pools. The steepness of this area creates fast-moving falls that tumble over the rock without slowing much.

The base of the last drop is probably the best place to access the creek. However, even at this point the pool is shallow and is better for wading.

Where to Stay Near Silken Skein Falls


The Bozeman area is dotted with great places to stay. Whether you enjoy camping, remote cabins, RV parks, vacation rentals, or just your standard hotel, there is a little something for everyone near Silken Skein Falls.

Trail Routes Near Silken Skein Falls

routes trail

The Custer Gallatin National Forest offers hundreds of trails near Bozeman and the Silken Skein Falls.

Many of the trails in the National Forest are multi-use, so not only are they great for hiking, but they can be accessed by equestrians, mountain bikes, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling.

Hyalite Creek to Hyalite Lake

If seeing waterfalls is one of your favorite parts of hiking, the Hyalite Lake trail is the perfect trail for you. This 10.6-mile out-and-back trail has nine waterfalls that are accessible from the trail. Eight of the nine waterfalls are right off the trail.

Silken Skein Falls is the only one that requires hiking a short secondary trail to access. Besides the waterfalls, this trail leads to Hyalite Lake, a small glacial lake at the top of the trail.

If you are up for a little more hiking, from Hyalite Lake the summit of Hyalite Peak is only another 2.6 miles.

History Rock to Fox Meadow

The trailhead for this trail is located north of Hyalite Reservoir on Hyalite Canyon Road. This trail is a 6.2-mile out and back trail with 1,555 feet of elevation gain.

The trail offers some of the most spectacular views of the Hyalite Canyon and Mount Blackmore. The trail weaves through the forest before popping out in Fox Meadow. This meadow is a favorite for wildflower lovers in the late spring.

Window Rock Road

This trail is actually an old logging road that has been converted into a nice multi-use trail. The trail starts near the end of Hyalite Canyon Road but is north of the trailhead for the Hyalite Lake Trail.

The trail has a total of six long switchbacks that make the 1,400 feet of elevation gain a little easier. The trail is an 8.1-mile, out-and-back trail.

The namesake feature, Window Rock, is visible at numerous points along the trail, but the best view is actually from the trailhead parking lot.

Palisade Falls National Recreation Trail

This is an easy 1.2-mile, out-and-back trail that leads to another waterfall in Hyalite Canyon. This trail is paved, making it a great trail for wheelchairs and strollers.

Paradise Falls is an 80-foot waterfall that is the end point of this trail. This trail is quite popular with locals and visitors alike thanks to the short distance and pavement.

The waterfall is tucked into the shade of the forest, making it a great spot to cool off in the summer. This trail is accessible in the winter, but the switchbacks near the end of the trail can be challenging for skiers.

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About The Author

Jason Gass

Jason Gass is a Colorado based freelance writer and blogger whose goal is to share a good cup of coffee and great stories around a campfire with close friends. When he’s not working, he spends most of his time traveling, searching for the best breweries, and road-tripping in his teardrop trailer with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.

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