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7-DAY NORDIC SKI GETAWAY: GLACIERS TO GEYSERS

Glacier National Park > Missoula/Greenough > Lolo Pass/Chief Joseph Pass > Bozeman > Lone Mountain Ranch > West Yellowstone/Yellowstone National Park

Glacier Country

Day 1: Glacier National Park

Make your way to the park’s famously scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. During the winter, most of the road is closed to vehicular travel as snowfall creates a sanctuary for Nordic skiing. The road is plowed from the west entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge, and snow lovers can access the road just past the lodge. Or, for a guided winter tour in Glacier National Park, book a trip with an experienced team of guides who can tailor a trip to your needs. Either way you’ll have an unforgettable time. Spend the night just outside of the park in Columbia Falls or Whitefish.

For more Glacier National Park Nordic skiing resources including snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details, directions and park passes:

For more information about Glacier National Park and where to eat, drink and stay:

Glacier Country

Day 2: Missoula > Greenough

Opt. 1: Missoula

From your basecamp just outside the park, head south to Montana’s arts and culture hub. The Missoula area offers no shortage of Nordic opportunities. Pattee Canyon Recreation Area provides 10 km of groomed classic and skate trails in this pretty, wooden canyon area. The south side trails offer hills and the north side is much flatter. You can also head up to Missoula’s Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and ski a slight but easy upgrade to Pilcher Creek on 8 km of trail groomed for classic skiing. Overnight in downtown Missoula and enjoy the nightlife.

Opt. 2: Greenough 

Just east of Missoula in Greenough, the Lubrecht Experimental Forest maintains nearly 20 km of trails through pristine meadows and wooded terrain. Trails are groomed regularly and the inner loops are very family-friendly. There are rental cabins on site as well. Adjacent to the forest, Garnet Ski Trails offer more than 186 km of trails, including the 51 km Garnet National Winter Recreation Trail through the beautiful and quiet Garnet Mountain range. Closed to vehicular traffic in the winter months, this is a unique and fun way to explore Garnet Ghost Town and even enjoy one of two rental cabins on the property.

For more Nordic skiing resources including grooming, snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details and directions:

For more information about Missoula and Greenough and where to eat, drink and stay:

Glacier Country

Day 3: Lolo Pass > Chief Joseph Pass

Opt. 1: Lolo Pass

Head to beautiful Lolo National Forest, 1 hour south of Missoula. This mixed wooded and open meadow area along the Montana-Idaho border at Lolo Pass offers some of the most reliable snow in the region and 13 km of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing, as well as a warming hut and the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. Along the trail you’ll pass the historic Glade Creek area where Lewis and Clark camped. Nearby Lolo Hot Springs offers an après ski soak and warm accommodations. You can also overnight in Stevensville.

Opt. 2: Chief Joseph Pass

Another option is to head even farther south (2 to 2.5 hours) to the southern tip of the Bitterroot Valley. Chief Joseph Pass, on the Continental Divide, offers 49 km of trails—33 km groomed for skate and 16 km for classic. Eight loop trails provide a variety of lengths and skill levels ranging from beginner to expert, there’s something for everyone in this winter wonderland. Overnight in Sula at Lost Trail Hot Springs.

For more Nordic skiing resources including grooming, snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details and directions:

For more information about the Lolo, Stevensville and Sula and where to eat, drink and stay:

Day 4: Drive Day to Bozeman

You’re looking at a scenic, 3.5 to 4-hour drive to Bozeman, depending on where you wake up today. Lolo and Stevensville will both take you back through Missoula—which gives you the option of a side trip to Philipsburg—at Drummond, about 49 miles east of Missoula on US-90, head south on State Highway 1 for 26 miles. If you’re waking up in Sula, you’ll take a bit if a different route to Bozeman, through Wisdom and Butte. Plan on a 3.5-hour drive. Once in Bozeman, check into a hotel and explore the lively downtown. Grab some food in this culinary hot spot and hit up a brewery or distillery before taking full advantage of the vibrant nightlife.

Yellowstone Country

Day 5: Bozeman

Opt. 1:

Five miles south of town, the 23 km Bozeman Creek Trail provides a wide track and a gradual climb along beautiful Bozeman Creek. There’s the 32 km Mystic Lake out, or you can ski Moser Divide up to Mystic Lake—a 45 km round trip. Connect to the Moser Trailhead in Hyalite Canyon, where you’ll find 30 km of scenic trails as well as explore-worthy ungroomed terrain.

Opt. 2:

For in-town skiing, the Bridger Creek Golf Course provides some of the city’s best trails plus captivating views of the Bridger Mountains. Also in town—and for a quick Nordic fix if you’re getting a late start—the 3.8 km Sunset Hills Trail is a community-centric loop nestled between Bozeman’s Lindley Park and Deaconess Hospital. In addition, the trails in the Highland Glen Nature Preserve area offer a good mix of terrain for all skill levels.

Opt. 3:

Sixteen miles north of Bozeman adjacent to Bridger Bowl Downhill Ski Area, Crosscut Mountain Sports Center—formerly Bohart Ranch—offers 35 km of trail that’s groomed daily. This is one of the region’s premier Nordic ski areas for classic and skate skiers, and the scenery is spectacular. If you need lessons and/or rentals they can accommodate.

Overnight in downtown Bozeman after a soak at Bozeman Hot Springs.

For more Nordic skiing resources including grooming, snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details and directions:

For more information about Bozeman and where to eat, drink and stay:

Yellowstone Country

Day 6: Lone Mountain Ranch

Next up it’s on to Lone Mountain Ranch, about an hour south of Bozeman and a stone’s throw from Big Sky Resort. Explore 85 km of groomed skate and classic ski trails and over 2,200 vertical feet right outside your cabin door at this historic guest ranch. Lone Mountain Ranch was voted the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier Magazine. Guides and shuttles are available and the views are spectacular. Lone Mountain offers the quintessential Montana Nordic experience with a diversity of trails on pristine woodland, creekside and meadow terrain. Overnight in a cabin at the ranch.

For more Nordic skiing resources including grooming, snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details and directions:

For more information about Big Sky and where to eat, drink and stay:

Yellowstone Country

Day 7: West Yellowstone - Yellowstone National Park

End your trip just west of Yellowstone National Park in the idyllic town of West Yellowstone, an hour south of Lone Mountain Ranch. The Rendezvous Ski Trails begin right in city limits, offering 35 km of gently rolling, impeccably groomed trails winding through a wonderland of wintry forests and meadows at the edge of Yellowstone National Park. The dog-friendly Boundary Trail is also an option, running from West Yellowstone to the Baker’s Hole Campground along the western border of the park. Or, you can head inside Yellowstone National Park on the Riverside Trail, skiing along the famous Madison River. Combine the Upriver and Downriver loops for 10 km of incredible views and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Overnight in West Yellowstone.

For more Nordic skiing resources including grooming, snow and trail conditions, rentals and gear, trail maps, route details and directions:

For more information about West Yellowstone and where to eat, drink and stay:

Trip Tips

Always check road reports and weather conditions when traveling through Montana in the wintertime.

If you’re flying in:
Glacier Country Airports
Yellowstone Country Airports

If you’re renting a car:
Glacier Country Car Rentals
Yellowstone Country Car Rentals