Frozen Falls at Hyalite Canyon, Montana

February 04, 2019

RodB_EPODice (1)

Photographer: Rod Benson
Summary Author: Rod Benson 

Hyalite Canyon is a glacially-carved, U-shaped valley in the Gallatin Range south of Bozeman, Montana. Hyalite offers a wide range of outdoor opportunities, including mountain biking, Nordic skiing, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and ice climbing are all enjoyed here. This, along with its proximity to Bozeman and Montana State University, makes it one of the most heavily used recreational areas in the state. It's also one of the best waterfall hikes in the region. There are about a dozen falls scattered along the 6 mi (10 km) length of the canyon, including several right along the trail.

As impressive as it is to watch liquid water plunge over cliffs, it’s even more impressive to see the falls when they're frozen solid. In fact, Hyalite Canyon is home to some of the best ice-climbing in North America, and watching climbers scaling the frozen, sky-blue waterfalls is one of the more interesting things you’ll see on a pleasant winter's hike through Hyalite Canyon. The falls look light blue because the longer wavelength colors (yellows, oranges and reds) are more readily absorbed by ice crystals than the shorter wavelength greens, blues and violets. Our eyes are unable to see absorbed light so it's the reflected light, which for thick ice is dominated by blues and greens, that give these frozen falls their eye-catching color. Photo taken on January 29, 2017.

Photo Details: Camera: Panasonic DMC-LX7; Software: iPhoto 9.6.1; Exposure Time: 0.0025s (1/400); Aperture: ƒ/2.8; ISO equivalent: 125; Focal Length (35mm): 88.