Whitefish + Glacier National Park + Bigfork + Pray + Yellowstone National Park + Cooke City

Glacier Country

Day 1: Ice Climbing + Whitefish

After flying into Glacier Park International Airport and overnighting at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, begin your trip with a custom ice-climbing adventure. Whitefish Vertical Adventures leads excursions to Serenity Falls, Stone Hill and Bad Rock Canyon. Your friendly and experienced guide will rent you all the gear you need. Beginners are welcome. After a day on the ice, explore quaint downtown Whitefish where you'll find boutiques and shops, local craft brews and extensive dining options. Eat, drink, and dance the evening away at Casey's, serving up unique cocktails and a lively atmosphere featuring multiple bars. Or make your way to the Tupelo Grill in the heart of downtown Whitefish, with a reputation as one of the best places to eat in northwest Montana. Their artisan Southern cuisine pairs well with their innovative cocktails and award-winning wine list. Then head back to the lodge for a good night's rest.

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Glacier Country

Day 2: Snowshoeing + Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is just 30 minutes from Whitefish, and winter is the perfect time to take to the park's gorgeous trails. Strap on a pair of snowshoes for an intimate two-hour ranger-led tour of the park's Apgar area. You'll discover the flora and fauna of the park and search for signs of wildlife—keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk and deer. The park's quiet season is pure winter magic. These tours are usually offered mid-January to mid-March, so keep that in mind when planning. After a peaceful and serene day in the park, shop for locally crafted souvenirs at Montana House in West Glacier and then track down a slice of huckleberry pie at The Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse. Warm up with a drink at Glacier Distilling Company, then grab dinner at Glacier Grill or Stone Fly. Overnight at Green Valley Ranch in Coram.

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Glacier Country

Day 3: Nordic Skiing + Bigfork

Forty minutes from Coram, glide across the groomed Nordic trails just northeast of Bigfork—a storybook village on the shores of Flathead Lake. The Bigfork Trail System offers 10 km of flat and gently rolling trails maintained by the Bigfork Community Nordic Center. You can rent equipment and get trail information at Base Camp Bigfork. Après ski, explore downtown Bigfork. Sip locally crafted spirits at Whistling Andy and eat lakeside at The Raven where you'll find craft cocktails and delicious food. Overnight at the Islander Inn.

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It's about a 5.25-hour drive from Bigfork to Pray, Montana, situated in the breathtaking Paradise Valley. Fuel up in Bigfork before you take off—there are multiple cafés and coffee shops to get you set for your road trip. Stop in Bozeman for lunch at Jam!, Ted's Montana Grill or Co-Op Downtown. If there's time, explore the local shops and boutiques in downtown Bozeman.

Yellowstone Country

Day 5: Chico Hot Springs + Winter Carriage Ride

An hour south of Bozeman in Pray, make your way to Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa, nestled in the heart of the Paradise Valley at the base of the Absaroka Mountains. Book an authentically western carriage ride or a horseback trail ride from the Chico Horse Barn with Rockin' HK Outfitters. Rides range anywhere from one hour to a full day in Yellowstone National Park. After a day in the snow, soak in the healing mineral waters of Chico's hot spring pools. Post-soak, you'll find good food on-site at The Dining Room or the Saloon, and, if it's a weekend, you'll also be treated to some boot-stomping live music. If you're feeling fancy, reserve The Tasting Room in the Chico wine cellar for an intimate multicourse meal crafted by Chico's executive chef. Overnight in one of Chico's private cabins or in the historic main Lodge.

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Yellowstone Country

Day 6: Yellowstone National Park Scenic Drive From Gardiner To Cooke City

Wake up at Chico and head to their Espresso Bar and then grab a hearty breakfast at The Dining Room. From Pray, you'll head to Gardiner—the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. Take a selfie at the famous Roosevelt Arch before embarking on this magical wintertime tour of America's first national park. The road from Gardiner to Cooke City travels through Yellowstone's famous wildlife-laden Lamar Valley. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, deer, bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and, of course, wolves. Once you hit the sister outposts of Cooke City-Silver Gate, you're ready to rest up for tomorrow's sled day. Grab dinner at The Bistro and overnight at a lodge, cabin or hotel in Cooke City.

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Yellowstone Country

Day 7: Snowmobiling + Cooke City

Wake up to a sweet treat at the Bearclaw Bakery before exploring miles of world-class snowmobiling terrain in Cooke City. 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. 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:
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