Sled the West: Montana’s Snowmobile Mecca

Photo, Ken Takata

Imagine an authentically western Montana town where you can hop on a snowmobile and start riding deep powder directly from your hotel, lodge or cozy cabin. In West Yellowstone, you can. With over 400 miles of trails and 150 inches of annual snowfall, it’s a mecca for snowmobilers—and with good reason. You’ll find groomed National Forest Service trails leading to big powder meadows and some serious backcountry riding.

One of the most popular rides—Two-Top Mountain—has something for every skill level: well-groomed trails, varied terrain, a 2,000-foot elevation gain and plenty of off-trail riding. At the top, you’ll have panoramic views of the Teton Mountains, the Centennial Mountains and Yellowstone National Park. Plus, you’ll see the famous “snow ghosts” created when snow and ice hit the trees and transform them into ghostly figures.

If you’re new to the area, National Forest guided and non-guided tours are available so you can familiarize yourself with the trails.

Yellowstone National Park is gorgeous in the winter—it’s a season not to be overlooked. Crowds mellow, animals hunker down and the steamy geysers are exceptionally beautiful against the snowy landscape. This time of year, you’ll need to access the park through a guided tour, but experienced riders may want to check out the Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program. To schedule a tour, check out the Yellowstone National Park Authorized Tour Guides.

As for the town itself, you’ll love the camaraderie with fellow sled heads. West Yellowstone is a lively town bustling with restaurants, shops and spirited conversation. (Hint: Make your reservations early—the town starts hopping as soon as the snow flies.)

For more information, call 406.646.7701, or visit