7-Day Sled-Away in Montana: The Glaciers-to-Geysers Tour

Seeley Lake + Ovando + Missoula + Bitterroot + West Yellowstone + Yellowstone National Park + Gallatin/Bozeman + Cooke City

Glacier Country

Day 1: Seeley Lake + Ovando

Tucked between the Mission Mountains and the Swan Range, Seeley Lake is one of Western Montana’s most popular year-round recreation areas and a prime snowmobiling destination with 350 miles of groomed trails. Starting from town, snowmobilers can fan out in every direction to scenic lookouts, cozy lodges, cafés and backcountry lakes for ice fishing. Popular trails include Double Arrow Lookout, with views of the Swan Range and Clearwater Valley; Lake Elsina, site of Sunday cookouts with the Seeley Lake Driftriders Snowmobile Club; Seeley Lake-Ovando; and Marshall Lake, a scenic 15-mile loop.

Overnight at Seeley Lake's Rich Ranch or use Western Montana’s arts and culture hot spot, Missoula, as your basecamp for the Glacier Country portion of your trip.

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Glacier Country

Day 2: Missoula + Lolo Pass or Garnet Ghost Town

Opt. 1: From Lolo Pass or the soothing mineral waters of Lolo Hot Springs, set out and explore 250 miles of groomed connecting trails in the Lolo and Clearwater national forests. A series of interconnecting loop trails straddle the Montana-Idaho border. East Fork, Lost Park System, Elk Meadows and Moose Ridge are just some of the trails that lead deep into the heart of the Bitterroot Range, with plenty of meadows and play areas along the way. Adrenaline seekers hit the backcountry for the rush of challenging terrain.

Opt. 2: The Garnet Ghost Town trail system consists of 116-miles of groomed terrain about 30 miles east of Missoula. Views of the Blackfoot Valley, the Mission Mountains, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Pintler Range make for an especially scenic ride through this abandoned mining town. Winter access to Garnet Ghost Town is only available by ski, snowshoe or snowmobile, and cabins are available for rent in the winter, or overnight in Missoula.

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Glacier Country

Day 3: Bitterroot Valley: Hamilton + Darby

One of Montana’s least-traveled snowmobile areas is also one of the most scenic. Skalkaho Pass from Hamilton to Georgetown Lake is the kind of trail snowmobilers dream about. Get views of frozen Skalkaho Falls, tall peaks and deep canyons. Skalkaho Pass area offers 26 miles of groomed trails. From there, open areas and ungroomed trails offer a wide variety of terrain for all skill levels. The Skalkaho-Sleeping Child-Rye Creek area has 32 miles of groomed trails, looping through higher elevations and a burn area. This system also includes trails near Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area, which receives the greatest annual snowfall in Montana.

The Bitterroot Valley is a scenic Glacier Country gem. To get there from Missoula, drive South on U.S. Highway 93 between the Sapphire and Bitterroot ranges stopping in the charming small towns along the way. “The Root” boasts multiple steakhouses, coffee shops, breweries and cideries, and plenty of lodging opportunities. Or, overnight in Missoula, as Interstate Highway 90 is your best route to West Yellowstone this time of year.

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For Bitterroot Valley area info, visit:

Day 4: Drive Day: Glacier Country To Yellowstone Country

Drive Day: It’s time to make your way from Glacier Country to Yellowstone Country. It’s just over four hours from Missoula to West Yellowstone on I-90. You’ll have the chance to relax upon arrival—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.

Yellowstone Country

Day 5: 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.

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 6: Gallatin: Bozeman

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. 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 mountains. Find plenty of bowls in the Bridger Range. Other favorite trails include Brackett Creek, Hyalite Canyon and Storm Castle.

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 7: Cooke City

Plan accordingly (perhaps even adding another day) for the three-hour drive from Bozeman to Cooke City, (through scenic Yellowstone National Park) where you’ll end your Glaciers to Geysers tour with miles of world-class snowmobiling. 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 Miners Saloon. This snowmobiler’s mecca is one for the books.

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:
Glacier Country Airports
Yellowstone Country Airports

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