BIG SKY — The Beehive Basin Trail has become quite the destination for people all over Montana. With the growing popularity of the hiking trail, the parking lots cannot keep up. One Beehive resident, Erik Morrison, spoke about how he has noticed a change in traffic near the trailhead.
“I moved into Beehive in 2018. Since then, I've definitely noticed a lot more traffic with the trailhead getting so much national attention," says Morrison. "You see a lot of people parking on the side of the road. A lot of overflow.”
Morrison says the parking overflow is not directly affecting him, but he knows that his neighbors are definitely facing the repercussions of the popular trail.
“It definitely does creep up out of the trailhead and up the road and into other people's neighborhoods,” says Morrison.
Big Sky Community Organization CEO, Whitney Montgomery, believes the national attention that Beehive Basin has received through magazines and other media outlets is one of the main reasons for the overcrowding of the trail.
“In national magazines, it’s one of the best hikes in the country, so it's very popular and very well known,” says Montgomery.
The growing popularity of the trail makes the parking lots more crowded and the Big Sky Community Organization is listening to residents' concerns.
“The concerns that we do hear about are primarily from the homeowners understandably, because that road which is a US Forest Service road is narrow, and if the parking lots are too full, what happened is the visitors don't know about other areas to go and park they park on the sides of the road,” says Whitney.
The Community Organization and US Forest Service have been working for years to better equip the parking lot of Beehive Basin. Back in 2018, a second parking lot was built, and now they are brainstorming more ways to keep the overflow off of neighborhood roads.
Whitney suggests, “Right all along the side of the roads put some large obstacles, gorge rocks for example, so people don't have the opportunity to park.”
Local residents like Morrison would like to see such a change come to their neighborhood.
“I would like to see some barriers put up along the side of the road to stop people from off-street, off-street parking. I also would love to see people start utilizing any of the lower VIPs and Trailhead,” says Morrison.
Montgomery also says that there are more parking options behind Fire Station 64 and many other trailheads all around Big Sky that people should utilize to alleviate some congestion at Beehive Basin.
“It's about educating folks of other great trails in the area to use," says Montgomery, "There's definitely Dudley Creek, for example, a trail that is kind of off the beaten path, easy access to the forest land, and if people could, could go and start using some of those other trails. It will reduce the amount of cars in this amount of hikers.”
The Big Sky Community Organization and the US Forest Service are not intending to build another parking lot near the Beehive Basin Trail Head, but they are actively looking at different ways to relieve congestion in the area.