We needed a hike that was long enough to get into a natural area, but short enough that the three kids in our party -- all 3 years old -- could hack it. The trail to Pine Creek Falls starts from a well-maintained campground and paved road and meanders for one gentle mile along a rushing stream to the falls. The trail crosses the creek once on a well-constructed bridge and in the spring has some mud -- not enough to stop forward progress but a sufficient amount to dirty the kids up. The falls are about 100 feet tall and sent off a cloud of cool mist. A narrow bridge crosses the stream here and around the corner is a second waterfall, also about 100 feet tall, parallel to the first falls. Both have slippery rocks you can crawl on which are probably best avoided.
We were debating how Lick Creek got its name. I thought it was a guy named Lick, and Kevin thought it was something maybe it was because the water there tasted good so people liked to "lick" it, but Wolf said no, it was named Lick because from a distance it looked like a giant licked the forest clean of trees. Anyway, we made short work of it, climbing from the road to the summit in a little more than an hour, and once on top enjoyed views of Hyalite Canyon, the rest of the Gallatins, and even a short stretch of the Crazies. The skiing is off-camber and double fall line, and we had awful conditions, though I could easily see how this would be superb with new snow and high avalanche danger elsewhere. With the snow not so good, we were one and done, back at the cars in less than two hours and ready to head back to town.