6 Winter Walks in Montana's Yellowstone Country
For those who love to hike (or take long walks), winter doesn't have to stop us from getting out and enjoying the activity! While some of the steeper hikes are best done with snowshoes or Yaktrax, Montana's Yellowstone Country has plenty of places to get out and about! Some areas of the region stay much drier than others, and where there is a lot of snow, local organization step in to help groom some trails, so no matter what corner of the area you visit, you'll have options! Stop into the local Visitor's Centers for trail suggestions and current conditions.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
For nearly 2,000 years, this high limestone cliff served as hunting grounds for Native Americans. Highly skilled young men called "runners" were trained for speed and endurance and would cover themselves in buffalo, antelope, or wolf skins and lure the bison to the edge of the "Pushkin" or cliff, where they would fall to their death. Today, the cliff stands as a monument to this life, and visitors can hike up and imagine the roaring sound of the buffalo stampede while getting a spectacular view of the valley below. Archaeologists have located the tipi rings of an extensive village, and buffalo bones still lie buried at the base.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
Sitting at the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers, forming the headwaters of the mighty Missouri River, this state park is full of history. Explore where Lewis and Clark camped in 1805, bringing along Sacajawea, who was reunited with her brother here after being captured as a child. Enjoy the interpretive signs explaining the wildlife and vegetation in the area. Or, walk along the Headwaters Trail System, twelve miles of paved trails running from the town of Three Forks to Headwaters state park and the Jefferson River's Droulliard Fishing Access.
Sourdough Canyon Trail (Bozeman Creek)
Meandering along Bozeman Creek, this six-plus mile, out-and-back hike is groomed by the Bridger Ski Foundation, but hikers, joggers, and strollers are welcome. Bozeman Creek runs alongside the trail, and the heavily forested canyon gives you the feeling of being remote, just a few miles south of Bozeman!
Located just off Frontage Road in Bozeman, Cherry River is an excellent place for bird watching or enjoying the calm of the East Gallatin River. The 1.3-mile route is mainly flat, but the trail links up with East Gallatin Recreation Area if you want a longer hike.
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, at the North entrance to Yellowstone National Park, has lovely boardwalks on both the upper and lower terraces – great for exploring the fifty hot springs in the area. The limestone terraces are one of the Park's unique features, with stunning colors and formations. Also, watch for the resident elk that roam throughout the Mammoth area.
West Fork Road
This multi-use trail in Red Lodge is maintained by the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association and is groomed weekly from Wild Bill Lake to Cascade Campground from December through April. You can access the trail for free, but donations pay for the grooming and are always welcome!
Explore more winter trip planning ideas, or order your free travel packet.