A run through Bozeman, Montana is backdropped by stunning mountains and flavored by an artsy college town slowly growing beyond its local charm. Get there fast before the hand of progress completes its inevitable transition.
Bozeman is 4,800 feet above sea level. A guideline is to reduce your expected sea-level pace per mile by 4 seconds for every 1,000 feet above 3,000 feet.
Run along Main Street east of 15th Avenue in the early morning before the crowds. You’ll pass boutiques, local restaurants, and a plethora of early-opening coffee shops. Bozeman is a college town, and Main Street fits the bill. Farther south, you will find the campus of Montana State University, which offers sheltered running loops and green space on the spacious campus. If you need a track workout, Bozeman High School off Main Street has one available.
During my trip, I completed a 45-minute threshold run. Bozeman’s streets are laid on a grid system, making navigation easy. I ran down Main Street and other parallel roads with well-marked, dedicated bike paths. I felt safe running along these bike paths and sidewalks.
Activities Beyond Running:
Montana Ale Works is on Main Street in Bozeman’s historic Northern Pacific railroad freight building. It serves traditional pub fare and local specialties, such as Idaho Trout, Bison, and Elk. We visited on a Friday night, and the atmosphere was family-friendly. The restaurant has 40 craft beers on tap and a full-service bar featuring Montana artisan spirits, liquors, and specialty cocktails. I recommend trying the Bozeman Select Amber or the Old Faithful Pale Ale for beers. Athletic Brews are the non-alcoholic option.
Pizza is a perennial crowd-pleaser, and Red Tractor Pizza off Main Street does not disappoint. The restaurant serves New York-style brick-oven pizza with a Bozeman twist, including fresh, mostly locally-sourced ingredients. You can’t get much more local than fresh wheat and grain from Montana. The Farmhand pizza was delicious!
Genuine Ice Cream crafts small-batch, hand-made ice cream in Bozeman, featuring simple ingredients and mouth-watering flavors, such as Huckleberry (everywhere in Wyoming and Montana) and Honey Lavender. Genuine has a calm yet lively atmosphere created by the music playing, pastel-colored walls and decor, and mixing of the college and family crowds. I grabbed a scoop of the Strawberry made from real strawberries in-house.
The Museum of the Rockies (“MOR”) is a must on your sightseeing list. The website says: “Renowned worldwide, MOR is hailed as a premier destination for those seeking an immersive experience in the cultural and natural history of the Northern Rocky Mountain region.” What this means is Dinosaurs. Montana is one of the world’s best locations for dinosaur fossils and paleontological research, and the many uncovered fossils have found their home at MOR. Within the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, you will see Montana’s T. rex, one of the few mounted Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the United States, Big Al, a nearly complete Allosaurus (think Velociraptor from the Jurassic Park movies), a growth series of horned Triceratops skulls from juvenile to full-grown, giant adults, and numerous dinosaur eggs and babies.
Did you know that birds are modern-day dinosaurs? MOR exhibits original research on the evolution of dinosaurs to birds, including fossils with feathers, DNA comparison, and cross-sectional bone and blood vessel analysis. Dinosaurs with feathers – I’m still processing this one.
The City of Bozeman maintains over sixty local parks that bring the surrounding natural beauty into the city. We spend the afternoon tossing a Frisbee at Lindley Park, surrounded by other locals reclining in tree-strung hammocks, biking, and leisurely walking.
In the evening, visit The Ellen Theater for the finest performing arts in Bozeman and the surrounding Gallatin Valley. Opened in 1919, The Ellen hosts the best in the performing arts, education, and entertainment by bringing professional actors, dancers, singers, comedians, and musicians to the community. Entering the Ellen is like stepping back in time: elaborate crown moldings, gilded plaster carvings, and ornate light fixtures reflect a bygone era when playhouses were places and people gathered to be mesmerized by the magic of live theater. The Fiddler On The Roof, the once longest-running show on Broadway, played during my time in Bozeman.