Whether you’re planning a brief stop or an extended holiday, Bozeman is a favorite destination for many travelers looking to get away from some of the more mainstream cities.
While certain visitors think it’s best to visit Bozeman in summer and enjoy the warm temperatures while taking advantage of the great outdoors, others suggest heading in winter, regardless of the harsh temperatures.
Neither is wrong.
With that said, the best time to visit Bozeman depends on your availability, budget, preferences, and overall travel expectations.
In our guide, we help you understand how all of them relate to each season in Bozeman so that you can finally make an informed decision and plan your Montana getaway accordingly.
The Best Time to Visit Bozeman
The best time to visit Bozeman is either in spring (March–May) or summer (June–August). Bozeman springs are known to have comfortable weather and awaken the city from its winter sleep.
That said, many of the trails may still be somewhat covered in snow (specifically those at high altitudes), so make sure to check current weather conditions before you opt for any outdoor activity, especially if you visit in May.
This is why April may be an even better month to visit Bozeman — those into biking will be pleased to hear Yellowstone National Park opens in the initial two weeks in April and is closed to vehicles then.
Imagine having such a sublime landscape just to yourself (and occasional wildlife).
Apart from the park reopening, other notable events at this time include the Annual American Indian Council Powwow (April), which — apart from featuring dancing, drumming, and food, — prompts guests to reflect on powerful time-honored traditions.
Then, Bozeman Craft Beer Week (May) is what all beer lovers rave about. May is also great for going on a hike and smelling your way through the wild flowers. Spring temperatures in Bozeman range between average lows of 19°F and highs of 55°F.
The summer period marks Bozeman’s high season, and it’s no wonder, as it’s the prime time for camping and engaging in recreational activities.
That said, booking a stay at this time should be done well in advance (campsites, too!), as most accommodation options get fully booked fairly quickly. These three months see temperatures between 40°F and 77°F.
Being the warmest month in the entire year, July is perfect for tubing in Madison River.
Cheapest Time to Visit Bozeman
The cheapest time to head to Bozeman is in December. It’s said to be the city’s least expensive month, which makes sense, as very few travelers are drawn to Bozeman’s harsh weather conditions, causing hotel rates to go down.
A subzero winter month, December welcomes the boldest of visitors with average temperatures between 10°F and 25°F.
December marks the beginning of the official ski season, and although it seems like the entire city is in a state of hibernation, events such as Christmas Stroll and Bozeman Ice Festival make Bozeman come to life.
The former is all about one of the city’s biggest holiday traditions, whereas the latter features a little bit of everything, from on-ice clinics to film festivals downtown, each attendee is bound to have fun.
Finally, if you wish to get access to discounted ski passes and versatile lodging options, make sure to visit at the beginning of the month when snowfall isn’t in full swing yet.
Least Busy Time to Visit Bozeman
The least busy time to visit Bozeman is in the fall (September–November). As school is back in business and summer vacations generally come to an end, falls in Bozeman can be quite magical, allowing you to truly experience the city.
Being shoulder months, September, October, and November allow travelers to hit the trails without “fighting” large crowds, visit major attractions with no queues, and generally enjoy more elbow room in this — at this time — rather quiet Montana city.
Note that if you’re a bowhunter, the season begins in September. Also, fall is a great time for fishing — if you enjoy both you can combine them by hunting early in the day, and fishing late in the afternoon.
The Bozeman Half Marathon also happens in this period (September), allowing you to see how you score with fellow runners or simply cheer on contestants.
Then, the Bozeman International Film Festival (September) is there for all movie buffs, Bridger Raptop Festival (October) offers plenty of entertaining activities for people of all ages, and Fresh Hops Beer Festival (October) is there to celebrate the end of the harvest season with a cold brew.
September, October, and November have temperatures between 19°F and 65°F.
Finally, note that because this is Bozeman’s least busy season, many facilities as well as roads close as the city gets ready for its upcoming season. That said, Big Sky sees its big opening on Thanksgiving.
Worst Time to Visit Bozeman
Weather-wise the worst time to find yourself in Bozeman is arguably winter (December–February). With temperatures fluctuating between 10°F and 27°F, winter is too cold of a period to be enjoyable for travelers.
Yet, if you’re a ski enthusiast, Bozeman will be your winter paradise. Besides skiing, snowshoeing is on the table for those who wish to extend Bozeman’s hiking season well into the winter months.
If the weather allows, the city opens ice rinks in some of the nearby parks, and Haynes Pavillion has public skating too. Animal lovers should head to Yellowstone National Park for excellent wildlife-watching opportunities.
New Year festivities are the biggest celebration at this time, but the Big Sky Big Grass Music Festival (February) is also kind of a big deal with its music lineup and all-ages shows.
Things to Consider
Knowing what to pack, visit, and do is just as important as knowing the best time to visit Bozeman. Our travel tips below may answer any remaining questions you might have:
- If you’re planning on fishing, you need to obtain two fishing licenses — a base fishing license and a conservation license. A so-called AISPP (Angler Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass) is also required. To read more about the conditions, check out the guidance published on Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks site — just make sure you get all paperwork sorted out before you cast your fishing rod.
- If you’re planning on staying in one of the campsites, make sure to book one in advance by heading to the Recreation.gov website (for campsites in the Gallatin region).
- Bozeman is a dog-friendly city, so much so that plenty of businesses have water bowls or even snacks for customers visiting with their four-legged friends. Plus, the city itself has a designated dog park and a dog beach within Bozeman Pond Park.
- Bozeman’s climate can get unpredictable, so dress in layers — especially if you visit in spring or fall. Note that the dress code is pretty casual and laid-back, so leave your fancy clothes at home.
- If you’re planning on spending time in nature, pack bug spray — mosquitoes are very common. Those found in Gallatin County are even said to carry the infamous West Nile fever, although human transmission is fairly infrequent. Ticks are present in regions deer are found, which may result in Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Carry bear spray, as there are plenty of bears, too!
- You can’t drink whenever you want in Bozeman, thanks to Montana’s unusual alcohol laws. Craft breweries are allowed to serve three pints of beer to every customer and are required to stop pouring at 20:00. Growlers are allowed, though, so you can resume drinking if you opt for a takeaway option. That said, restaurants, bars, and non-brewery venues are permitted to serve drinks till 1:00, so they’re a backup option to fall back on once the others close their taps.
- Download an offline map before your arrival and get travel insurance — better to be safe than sorry!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Bozeman called Bozeman?
The city got its name after Bozeman’s Trail Founder, John M. Bozeman.
Is Bozeman, Montana expensive to visit?
How cheap or expensive your Bozeman trip can get depends on when you’re going, how many people are coming with you, and what you wish to spend your money on. On the whole, you’ll need around $95 per day per person.
Note that if you’re traveling as a family of three or more people, prices usually go down, as shared hotel rooms are more affordable and children’s tickets are shared.
Finally, note that all of these travel figures are retrieved from previous visitors’ data, so don’t rely too heavily on them, as they’ll more than likely change over time.
What are the best restaurants in Bozeman?
You can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants in Bozeman, but if you want the best of the best, head to some of the following ones:
1. Sweet Chilly Asian Bistro
2. South 9th Bistro
3. Main Street Overeasy
4. Western Cafe
6. The Nova Cafe
7. Montana Ale Works
8. Dave’s Sushi-Off Main
9. I-Ho’s Korean Grill
10. Bridger Brewing
How do you get around Bozeman, Montana?
Bozeman has a pretty solid bus transportation system — The Streamline Bus covering most of the city area. Also, passengers get to ride free of charge as the bus system is funded by a wide range of federal, state, and other local sources.
Taxis or other hail-riding services, such as Uber, are options too. With that said, downtown Bozeman is quite walkable — you’ll find everything you need is a stone’s throw away.
Finally, car rentals are always on the table for travelers who wish to navigate the city at their own convenience and reach further areas or even take a daily trip from Bozeman.
What are the best day trips from Bozeman?
If you wish to extend your Bozeman trip, consider heading to some of the following locations:
1. Yellowstone National Park
2. Big Sky
4. Big Sky Resort
5. Missouri Headwaters State Park
6. Virginia City
8. Garnet Ghost Town
9. Lewis & Clark Caverns
10. Gallatin National Forest
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
Whether you come to Bozeman for the ski slopes or the summer air, the best time to visit is whichever month works for you. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!