5-Day Powder Slay in Yellowstone Country

West Yellowstone + Yellowstone National Park + Big Sky + Bozeman + Upper Yellowstone + Cooke City

Yellowstone Country

Day 1: West Yellowstone + Yellowstone National Park

Often hailed as one of the top snowmobiling destinations in the world, West Yellowstone is the hot spot to hop on a sled—right on the streets of town—and discover more than 400 miles of groomed trails. West Yellowstone itself is a pretty impressive winter destination to hang out, too. Favorite sled trails in the area include Two Top Loop, Horse Butte Loop, Madison Arm Loop, Big Sky, South Plateau and Lionhead.

The picturesque all-American small resort town of West Yellowstone overflows with personality and charm. Fuel up on caffeine at the unique Freeheel and Wheel outdoor adventure store + espresso bar. Grab a breakfast sandwich and a world-famous lunch box from Ernie's, savor a post-sled drink (and play a game of poker) at The Buffalo Bar, and dine on wild game at Madison Crossing Lounge. Overnight at Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone or Three Bear Lodge.

Park Tour Option: From West Yellowstone, take a guided snowmobile tour with seasoned professionals through the serene landscape of Yellowstone National Park, where steaming geysers and geothermal features are juxtaposed against a winter wonderland of pure white powder, big blue skies and majestic wildlife. This is truly a unique way and time of year to see the park.

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Yellowstone Country

Day 2: Gallatin Corridor: Big Sky

From West Yellowstone, head north on U.S. Highway 191 to Big Sky, keeping your eyes peeled for moose and elk. This treasured winter resort town is known for the Biggest Skiing in America® so it stands to reason the snowmobiling is pretty phenomenal, too. Doe Creek Trail is great for beginners and leads into the 16-mile Buck Ridge Trail, a favorite among locals because you can reach close to 9,500 feet, gaining 40-mile views on bluebird days. Fifteen miles south of Buck Ridge, Taylor Fork is groomed twice a week and provides gradual riding with plenty of open play areas.

Big Sky Snowmobile Trail boasts 123 miles of groomed and ungroomed connected trails, some portions for experienced riders only. The trail can be broken down into sections. Little Bear to Storm Castle is 15 miles and Storm Castle to Moose Creek is another 15 miles. Moose Creek to Porcupine Divide is 11 miles, Porcupine Divide to Buffalo Horn is 12 miles, and Buffalo Horn to Fir Ridge is 35 miles.

Overnight at Big Sky Resort, and take advantage of this winter vacation destination, with exceptional dining, a lively nightlife and two breweries.

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For Big Sky area info, visit:

Yellowstone Country

Day 3: Gallatin: Bridger + Bozeman + Livingston

In the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s Bridger and Crazy ranges, explore more than 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in and around Bozeman, one of Yellowstone Country’s liveliest communities (just north of Big Sky on U.S. 191 ). Stay at Bohart Ranch and ride the short and scenic 6-mile Fairy Lake Road, or ride the 15-mile Battle Ridge/Fairy Lake Trail. Olson Creek Trail offers 24 miles and beautiful views of the Bridger and Crazy ranges. Find plenty of bowls in the Bridger Range, too. Other favorite trails include Brackett Creek, Hyalite Canyon and Squaw Creek.

Bozeman boasts seven breweries and three distilleries, and Bozeman Hot Springs offers an incredibly relaxing soak after a day in the snow.

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Yellowstone Country

Day 4: Absaroka/Upper Yellowstone + Gardiner

South of the Bozeman area on U.S. Highway 89, the towering peaks of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and Beartooth, Absaroka and Crazy mountain ranges call out to rugged winter snow seekers. Majestic wide-open vistas and deep forested canyons offer amazingly scenic riding. Try the 17.8-mile Shields River/Smith Creek Trail, the 10.1-mile Ibex/Cottonwood Trail (also with a Forest Service cabin rental), or Mill Creek (11.9 miles), perfect for a variety of skill levels.

Multiple Forest Service Cabins are available for rent along these trail areas. You can also overnight in Pray for a stay and a soak in the healing mineral waters of Chico Hot Springs, or head further south to Gardiner—from which you’ll enter Yellowstone National Park at the park’s only wintertime entrance for private vehicles, and take a scenic park drive on U.S. Highway 212 to Cooke City.

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Yellowstone Country

Day 5: Cooke City

Find 60 miles of world-class snowmobiling in Cooke City, with late-season backcountry riding extending into June and sometimes even July. Spring days make for longer daylight hours and more riding. Climb to Daisy Pass at 10,000 feet. Free ride Henderson Mountain. Explore old mining country, play in deep powder meadows and boondock through the trees. Then, tell your sled story at the Miners Saloon.

Cooke City might be small (population 140) but it packs a big punch. Don’t miss breakfast at the Bearclaw Bakery. Note: This time of year, Cooke City is the “end of the line.” The only way in and out is through the park’s northeast entrance in Gardiner.

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Trip Tips

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

If you're flying in:
Yellowstone Country Airports

If you're renting a car:
Yellowstone Country Car Rentals

Know before you go

Plan ahead and be prepared, ensuring safer, more enjoyable travels and less impact.

Play it safe

Pack the right gear, take precautions, know your limits, and engage in activities that match your skill level.

Tread lightly

Take care of our trails and waterways by riding responsibly specific to your motorized activity.

Keep our waters clean

Help prevent aquatic invasive species by following Clean.Drain.Dry. principles and watercraft inspections requirements.

Respect tribal lands

Recognize and acknowledge when you enter tribal lands, know tribal guidelines, and secure a tribal conservation permits for recreation.

Follow fire safety

Help prevent wildland fires. Attend to and extinguish campfires properly, and know current fire restrictions.

Be wildlife wise

View wildlife from a safe distance. Never approach, touch or feed wildlife. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Leave no trace

Respect all public lands, waters, tribal lands and local communities. Pack it in, pack it out.

Explore mindfully

Be thoughtful about and aware of your impact, embrace inclusivity, and respect communities and fellow adventurers.

Recreate Responsibly