A Nordic Road Trip in Montana’s Yellowstone Country

Nordic Skiers at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Photo by Donnie Sexton/Visit Montana

We're fortunate to have numerous Nordic trail systems in Montana’s Yellowstone Country, with terrain for all ages and abilities. Whether you are a seasoned skier or just starting, a cross-country ski trip across the region is a fabulous way to see the area and experience winter in a new way. Each town has a unique personality, and there are plenty of reasons to explore each. Each town is no more than a couple of hours from the next, making it easy to explore some or all of the areas in the course of one vacation.


Red Lodge, Montana

Red Lodge, Montana, looks like a quaint Christmas card, and it's especially so in the winter. The streets are quiet, and the restaurants and bars are lively. The Red Lodge Nordic Center maintains 15km of groomed trails with easy-going terrain, a warming hut and a restroom. The outskirts of town, where the center is located, is also picture-perfect, with rolling hills, open meadows, and towering peaks in the background. Take advantage of a stop at Montana Candy Emporium and stock up on quick energy for the trail!


Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana

Located at the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Cooke City and Silver Gate are excellent places to stay if you're interested in skiing in the Park. Guide services are available for those who prefer a tour guide, or you can explore independently. Either way, staying in these towns is a real treat in the winter months with the road beyond the two towns closed, so visitors are tucked up in the mountains at the end of the road. If you want to slow down, unplug and feel a sense of wonder, this is the place!


Skiers on Bunsen Peak Road Ski Trail, Yellowstone National Park Bunsen Peak Road Ski Trail, Photo by NPS/Jacob W. Frank

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman has a vast amount of cross-country skiing. Crosscut Mountain Sports Center sits on 500 acres adjacent to the Custer Gallatin National Forest and maintains 45km of groomed trails. Lessons and ski rentals are available on-site. Bridger Ski Foundation also supports seven trail systems around town, including Sourdough Canyon Trail and Hyalite Canyon. Be sure to bring your appetite; Bozeman has some great restaurants and an ongoing lineup of live music.


Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch is the premier spot for cross-country skiing in Big Sky. The trails are open to the public, but you'll want to stay on-site and relish in the amenities.  The cabins are cozy (think wood stoves and lovely bathtubs), the food is delicious, and you can book a sleigh ride dinner, which takes you by horse-drawn sleigh to their North Fork Cabin for a classic Montana prime rib meal, complete with cowboy singer/storytellers to entertain.


Skiers on Roller Coaster Trail, NPS/Jacob W. Frank Roller Coaster Trail, Photo by NPS/Jacob W. Frank

West Yellowstone, Montana

In West Yellowstone, Rendezvous Ski Trails is a local favorite. If you visit February 11, take advantage of the annual Taste of the Trails, a 5-km tour with four strategically placed food stations along the way. Enjoy great food, good friends, and a warm bonfire as you ski from station to station. Also in West Yellowstone, the Boundary Trail is a 3.5-mile, dog friendly cross-country trail running from the northern edge of town to Baker’s Hole Campground. The trail is periodically groomed and easily accessible.


We look forward to sharing this winter wonderland with you; we hope you'll join us!