Winter in Western Montana's Glacier Country and Yellowstone Country Montana is a wonderland of world-class adventure and untold discovery. The extraordinary landscapes and captivating small towns between Montana's two national parks offer unforgettable ways to immerse yourself in the snow-globe splendor of the season.
From the rush of downhill skiing, snowmobiling and ice climbing to the tranquility of enchanting horse-drawn sleigh rides, Nordic glides and snowshoe treks in pristine forests of white, the possibilities are endless. Here, winter days are followed by hot-spring soaks and fireside relaxation. Cozy lodging options and warm western hospitality abound in Montana's mountain communities, and vibrant downtowns lay on the charm at local restaurants, breweries and distilleries.
Our backcountry is brag worthy. Glacier Country is home to thousands of acres of untouched off-trail powder, whether you're looking for an easy escape or technical terrain. Glacier National Park itself is open year-round and offers a sublimely beautiful and surreal location for an alpine tour. Explore the heart of Montana's backcountry-the Swan Mountains.
Get yourself behind a team of well-trained, snow-loving dogs and mush through miles of terrain or across a frozen lake in Western Montana. It's less like a sleigh ride and more like an adrenaline rush through winter's wonderland. Whether you're looking for a guided half-day outing or a multi-night excursion, there are plenty of experienced outfitters who can get you on a dog sled and help you mush in Montana this winter.
There's one winter pastime we can't live without-downhill powder play. Discover a skier's paradise in Glacier Country, with seven well-rounded, full-service downhill ski areas offering more than 23 acres of skiable terrain per rider, affordable lift tickets, virtually no lift lines and over 300 inches of yearly snowfall. Plus, our backcountry is epic and our ski towns will knock your ski socks right off with their charm. Also, the views are incredible.
Equipped with extra-wide tires, fat bikes are perfect for snowy road and trail conditions, and they happen to be wildly fun. The wide tires and low tire pressure allow the bike to "float" on the snow instead of sinking into it. Fat biking is one of the fastest growing winter activities in the country.
Of all the ways to relax in Montana, soaking in a hot spring is at the very top of the list. These pools of geothermally heated groundwater are especially inviting after a day in the snow, but are sure to delight year round. From hidden backcountry pools to developed resorts, travelers have come for years to rest their weary bones in the healing mineral waters of these naturally occurring springs.
If winter mountaineering and alpine climbing are your game (or even if you've never heard of a crampon) come play on Glacier Country's icefalls, frozen waterfalls and iced rock slabs. Take a custom ice climbing trip with Whitefish Vertical Adventures. They've got all the tools, equipment and experience to help you explore the ice sculptures of winter in Western Montana.
Montana is for fishing…in all four seasons. Our fish are biting year-round. And if you're serious about it, you know that Montana is at the top of the list of dream destinations to cast a fly or drop a line. Ice fishing can be a true test of skill and a whole lot of fun. So carve a hole, sink a lure, kick back, relax and reel in your winter.
Glide through miles of pristine snow in the serene Montana wilderness. Nordic skiing allows you to tour the terrain in a more intimate way than downhill skiing does. With groomed trails offering views of Glacier National Park peaks, the Cabinet Mountains and the Swan Mountains, Nordic skiing in Western Montana is one of the most popular ways to really witness the wonder of winter around here.
If dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh sounds like the stuff only dreams are made of, well, Western Montana's Glacier Country is a winter dreamland of snow and splendor. After a day of skiing, skating, sledding or snowshoeing, take a horse-drawn carriage ride underneath a starry night sky with your favorite people (or special someone) and a warm cocoa or hot toddy.
The best way to set out on a winter hike in Western Montana is to strap on a pair of snowshoes and trek the terrain. It's pretty simple to get the hang of, easy on the budget and anyone can play. Take a ranger-guided snowshoe trek through the snowy splendor of Glacier National Park, or go your own way…just be sure to stay on the trails.
There's something remarkably thrilling about whipping past snow-dusted trees and frozen lakes at high speeds. Powering through winter in Montana is easy, with miles of steep climbs and flat trails, and acres of backcountry playgrounds, as well as logging and forest service roads (closed by winter's snowfall)-a paradise for sledders. Our endless-and stunning-winter terrain can be explored by sled with or without a guide.
You'll find winter gear rentals at friendly outfitters all over Western Montana's Glacier Country and Yellowstone Country Montana. Some of the most experienced and knowledgeable guides call this powder paradise home. Guided trips for all sorts of activities are available throughout the region, and offer a seamless experience for both beginners and experts.
For information on gear, guides and outfitters, visit glaciermt.com and visityellowstonecountry.com.
Depending on your winter adventure of choice, it's important to plan ahead according to weather, trail and road conditions, and know the ins and outs of staying safe while recreating in Montana's winter wonderland. In addition, there are sometimes fees and/or permits associated with outdoor activities in Montana.
Avalanche safety should always be top of mind when you’re headed into the deep stuff. Carry avalanche safety gear, know the red flags of an unstable snowpack, check the avalanche forecast, and get educated in avalanche safety.
Check Montana road status and road closures here and here, and visit glaciermt.com and visityellowstonecountry.com for more information.
Winter adventures in Montana are complemented by some of the best small towns in the West. You'll find plenty of unique and comfortable lodging options in the area—from luxury to rustic and everything in between. Book a stay at a guest ranch, bed-and-breakfast, timbered lodge, cabin, hotel or motel, and don't forget to make time for a hot springs soak.
For more on lodging, visit glaciermt.com/stay and visityellowstonecountry.com/places-to-stay.
After a day in the snow, take in the Montana flavor at one of the region's culinary hot spots, breweries or distilleries. You'll find exceptional food no matter your taste, as well as plenty of places to grab a drink. With 40+ breweries and a number of historic western bars full of authentic Montana character, there's no shortage of places to pull up a barstool and plan the next day's adventure.
For more on where to eat, visit glaciermt.com/eat and visityellowstonecountry.com/food-and-drink.
Check the status of your destination before arriving.
Make reservations in advance and pack essentials like water.
Take it slow and choose low-risk activities.
Learn wildlife safety. View from a safe distance, never approach or feed, and carry bear spray.
Be mindful of your impact on communities.
Take your trash, including fruit rinds, with you and clean up properly.
Make outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all.
Follow the steps Clean. Drain. Dry. and pull over for inspections.
Check avalanche forecasts, carry gear and know your snow.
Properly use outdoor equipment, learn campfire safety and check fire restrictions.