Essex + Glacier National Park + Whitefish + Lakeside/Kalispell + Libby

Glacier Country

Day 1: Essex

Start your journey at the historic Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. Located between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, the Izaak Walton Inn is a quiet winter oasis offering 30 km of groomed classic and skate-ski trails. Rentals and lessons are available at the inn. After a day in the mountains, unwind with dinner and local beer at the inn's railroad-themed Dining Car Restaurant.

Overnight in a classic caboose or luxury railcar at the Izaak Walton Inn.

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Glacier Country

Day 2: 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 a local outfitter. An experienced team of guides can tailor a trip to your needs and ensure you have a memorable time.

Overnight at Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls.

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Glacier Country

Day 3: Whitefish

From the quintessential mountain town of Whitefish , take on the challenging terrain of the Big Mountain Trails, offering 23 km of cedar forest trails groomed daily and exceptional views of Whitefish Lake, Flathead Valley and the surrounding mountains. Or, for more easy/intermediate terrain, head to Round Meadow Winter Trails for a quiet escape in the Flathead National Forest. Seven interconnecting, nicely wooded loop trails totaling 20 km are groomed weekly. Top off the evening with a night ski just half a mile from downtown Whitefish at the Glacier Nordic Center/Whitefish Lake Golf Course from dusk until 10 p.m. on 4 km of the trail.

Overnight at Whitefish Mountain Resort or Kandahar Lodge.

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Glacier Country

Day 4: Lakeside + Kalispell

Head to Blacktail Mountain Nordic Trails—situated between Blacktail Mountain downhill ski area and the town of Lakeside—for 25 km of trails, which are groomed daily for skate and classic skiing. Montana’s Flathead Valley is a year-round vacation destination and transforms into a wonderland every winter. Enjoy spectacular views of the flathead valley and surrounding mountains.

Overnight at the historic Kalispell Grand Hotel.

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

For more information:

Glacier Country

Day 5: Libby

Near downtown Libby , explore the popular South Flower Creek Cross Country Ski Trails, consisting of nine trails and several loops totaling 14 km. Friday night skiing at South Flower features lanterns and a warm bonfire, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Also near Libby, spend the day at any of several other trail options: Bear Creek, with four trails on mixed terrain covering 5.5 km; the Golf Course; Timber Lane; or Flatiron, where you can skin to the top of the mountain for backcountry skiing.

Hit up Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. for some finely crafted Montana brews and food, and overnight at Venture Inn.

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

For more information:

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

Know before you go.

Check the status of your destination before arriving.

Plan ahead.

Make reservations in advance and pack essentials like water.

Play it safe.

Take it slow and choose low-risk activities.

Be wildlife wise.

Learn wildlife safety. View from a safe distance, never approach or feed, and carry bear spray.

Explore locally.

Be mindful of your impact on communities.

Leave no trace.

Take your trash, including fruit rinds, with you and clean up properly.

Build an inclusive outdoors.

Make outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all.

Prevent aquatic invasive species.

Follow the steps Clean. Drain. Dry. and pull over for inspections.

Practice avalanche safety.

Check avalanche forecasts, carry gear and know your snow.

Prevent wildland fires.

Properly use outdoor equipment, learn campfire safety and check fire restrictions.

Recreate Responsibly