Bozeman Montana's Greater Yellowstone Cross Country Skiing

cross country skierA good place to start to learn about Bozeman cross country skiing is a book that can be found at area ski shops such as Bangtail Bike and Ski and Northern Lights, Melynda Harrison’s $17 guidebook, “Ski Trails of Southwest Montana,” which features 30 ski and snowshoe trails in the area. Ski rentals, wax and backcountry gear are also available at Bangtail and Northern Lights.

On the southeast edge of town, 5 miles from downtown is the popular Bozeman Creek Trailhead, a five-mile mostly uphill route to “The Bridge,” a popular turn-around for this out-and-back ski. However, intrepid skiers may continue up the trail further, and connect with the Hyalite Trails at Moser Creek. Some people then ski back down or meet a vehicle parked in the Hyalite drainage for a one-way ski.

The Bozeman Creek Trail is also popular with backcountry campers who depart from the groomed route at The Bridge, heading east to Mystic Lake—a challenging ski but a possible loop through New World Gulch and Bear Canyon, where a shuttle vehicle would have to be parked.

The Bridger Creek Golf Course on Bozeman’s northeast edge provides easy terrain perfect for perfecting ski strides. Nearby is Hedvig’s Trail and is a fenced favorite for dog-loving skiers. The small area is hilly and challenging yet open for dogs, snow-shoers, sledders and skiers.

Bohart Ranch Cross-Country Ski Center is north of Bozeman in Bridger Canyon that offers 29 kilometers of groomed tracks, rentals and lessons at just north of the alpine ski area, Bridger Bowl.

cross country skierWest and south of Bozeman are the luxury Nordic ski resort, Lone Mountain Ranch and its 85 kilometers of skiing near Big Sky Ski Resort. Lodging and dining, sleigh ride dinners and ski rentals and lessons are available at Lone Mountain Ranch.

The gem of Southwest Montana for cross-country skiers is the beautiful Hyalite Canyon. The trails surrounding Hyalite Reservoir are now accessible thanks to a consortium of local clubs, volunteers, local government and the U.S. Forest Service.

Hyalite Canyon offers several trails for a total of nearly 30 km of groomed trails. Some groomed routes are maintained on an as-needed basis by the local ski club, Bridger Ski Foundation-Nordic. Other trails, skier tracked, climb a narrow, sub-alpine realm of the Hyalite Peaks, 10,000-footer that punctuates Hyalite’s big sky.

The West Shore Loop begins just south of the pit toilet, wends in and out of the forest with little overall elevation gain/loss. Views include the reservoir. The loop connects with Crescent Trail where skiers may take either route to create the loop.

An added ski at the southern-most portion of the trail is the .75-mile spur that continues on to the cozy Window Rock Cabin and Hyalite Road’s unplowed section. Window Rock Cabin can be rented from the Forest Service for $30 per night, and sleeps four among the rustic conditions.

cross country skierMaxey Cabin trail is the most popular and is the trail to and beyond to Hyalite Canyon waterfalls, about a 12-kilometer loop. From the Blackmore parking area, recreationalists ski across the Hyalite Dam, heading east. The trail departs to the left/north after the dam and follows the groomed route uphill and back around southbound to parallel the reservoir shore. Part of Wildhorse Trail system, a 25-kilometer set of trails, and the route offers spectacular glimpses of Mt. Blackmore and Elephant Mountain among the rugged peaks.

On the route to Maxey, one unmarked junction at about 1.5 k or 1 mile in can mystify skiers who should stick to the south route to find the cabin. Views include the frozen reservoir and glimpses of jagged peaks among the 34,000-acre Hyalite Drainage.

A dozen or more waterfalls punctuate the reddish rock walls surrounding the ice-bound lake, waterfalls, which attract their own recreation: ice climbing, Hyalite Recreation Area is a destination resort for them.

Upon reaching the historic Maxey Cabin, which is available for rent from the Forest Service at $40 per night, the trail continues south to a parking area, and the short climb to Palisade Falls. The final hundred meters or so may be icy; some ski touring folks choose to walk through the tightly wooded route here.

Hyalite Canyon Area Winter Recreation PDF

Greater Yellowstone Ski Touring (Nordic) Centers
Yellowstone National Park
  Yellowstone Park - trails • Yellowstone has miles of trails for the adventurous skier and snowshoer. Whether you are skiing a groomed trail in a developed area or venturing into the backcountry, remember that you are traveling in wilderness with all its dangers: unpredictable wildlife, changing weather conditions, hydrothermal areas, deep snow, open streams, and avalanches. You have chosen to explore and experience the land on its own terms, but your safety is not guaranteed. Be prepared for any situation and know the limits of your ability. Most of Yellowstone is backcountry and managed as wilderness; many miles of trails are available for skiing. Track is set only on a few trails. All unplowed roads and trails are open to cross country skiing and showshoeing. When skiing on unplowed roadways used by snowmobiles, keep to the right to avoid accidents.
Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton Park - trails • There is nothing more overwhelming than first seeing the landscape of Grand Teton National Park, where mountain ranges capture hearts, not just the old, but even the young. Adventures abound when the winter rolls in, making it one of the top places for winter vacations activities, cross country ski beneath the majesty of the heart of the Teton Range. Since John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway stays open long after most of Yellowstone is closed for winter, Grand Teton becomes king of the hill during the season of snow. The user-friendly flats to Jenny Lake or the hills around Bradley Taggert Lakes offer something for everyone. Ski Grand Teton Park for endless terrain for exercise and viewings of wildlife and beautiful scenery.

Montana Nordic Centers

Rendezvous Ski Trails • (West Yellowstone)The Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone MT were intially developed in the late 70's by the Swanson Family of West Yellowstone as a training location for the US Ski Team and as a place for their own pursuit of cross country competition.

Lone Mountain Ranch • (Big Sky) A winter ski vacation offers over fifty miles of professionally groomed ski trails for all levels of ability, packed snowshoe trails and alpine skiing at Big Sky Ski Resort just ten minutes away! Lone Mountain Ranch has comfortable, cozy cabins, a beautiful log dining lodge, dependable snow, top quality ranch gourmet meals and that 'extra special' Montana hospitality which makes Lone Mountain Ranch the skiing vacation of a lifetime.

Beehive Basin Ski Trail • (Big Sky Montana) Beehive Basin Ski Trail is a moderate 5 km single-track loop near Big Sky. The trail begins with a few switchbacks, which are a bit steep. The route then flattens out for about 1 mile before turning steeply uphill. Near the end is a very steep hill. The view is spectacular. Near the end of the trail you will find a shallow lake surrounded by vertical cliffs. Avalanche hazard areas are common. Ski route goes into Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Please note bicycling is prohibited in Wilderness Areas. This trail is not groomed. Length: 5 km most difficult trail. Trail Begins: Two miles north of Big Sky Resort, Trail Ends: Beehive Basin

skate skier, wind river mountains, pinedale wyoming
A skate skier and his dog enjoy the trail system in the Wind River Mountains above Pinedale Wyoming

Red Lodge Nordic Center •  Red Lodge Nordic Center is nestled at the base of Beartooth Mountains only three miles from downtown Red Lodge. Ski 15 kilometers of machine groomed trails, from open meadow trails to rolling loops through the Aspen trees. Four kilometers of the trail are rated easiest, seven are rated more difficult, and four are rated most difficult. The nordic center is the perfect place for the entire family to have a great day of skiing, snowshoeing, picnicking and picture taking. Trails are groomed weekly and a fee is required to use the trails. Seniors are discounted. Red Lodge Nordic Center is a project of the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association. The Center is west of Red Lodge on Highway 78, left past the cemetery on Fox Road, one mile then right on Smith Road 1/4 mile. Check this blog for current trail and weather conditions.

B Bar Ranch • (Paradise Valley ) groom 20–30 kilometers of trails for cross-country ski and snowshoe enthusiasts. Both skate-ski lanes and classic tracks are maintained daily. Our conditions predictably offer blue wax conditions much of the winter. With advanced notice and an additional charge, we are happy to arrange guided ski and snowshoe tours, and provide ski lessons on the ranch.

Wyoming Nordic Centers
Sharon Hunter skies at Deadmans Bar in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Targhee Nordic Center •  (Jackson Hole WY) Wildlife, mountains, pure air, groomed tracks and fresh powder come together and make for a cross-country mecca. Our comprehensive Nordic program provides many opportunities to explore the Tetons including lessons for every level. Our 15 kilometers of professionally groomed trails wind through wooded glades and scenic meadows. All trails accommodate both skating and classic cross-country skiing. The unspoiled beauty of this region is not to be missed!(Jackson Hole WY)

Jackson Hole Pathways and Nordic Ski Trails • (Jackson Hole WY) Parks and Recreation, Teton County/Jackson. Pathways and Nordic Ski Trails Maps. Home. Parks/Facilities. Pathways Map of Jackson.

Jackson Hole Nordic Center • (Jackson Hole WY) The Nordic Center at the Saddlehorn Activity Center offers a variety of activities with of 17K of professionally groomed track. Top of the line cross-country, telemark and snowshoe rentals are available. Class and private lessons in cross-country, skate, and telemark skiing will be offered daily. Snowshoe, cross-country, and telemark backcountry tours for all abilities are available by reservation. Dogsledding trips round-out our menu, by offering fun and exciting travel in front of the Teton Range.

Teton Pines Nordic Center • (Jackson Hole WY) A nationally known golf resort in Jackson Hole with 14 km groomed trails for classic and skate skiing Nationally known golf resort with 14 km groomed trails for classic and skate skiing. Lessons and heli skiing available. Lessons and heli skiing available.

Park County Nordic Ski Association • (Cody Wyoming)The all volunteer non-profit Park County Nordic Ski Association (PCNSA) features
over 25 kilometers of groomed trails at Pahaska Tepee/Sleeping Giant, the Eastern gateway of Yellowstone National Park, west of Cody, Wyoming. These trails are leased through
a special use permit from the U.S.F.S. – Shoshone National Forest.

Lander Nordic Ski Association • (Lander WY)There are more than 10 kilometers of cross country skiing trails at Beaver Creek Nordic Ski Area, 22 miles south of Lander on South Pass Highway 28. Beaver Creek Nordic Ski Area is also home to the only biathlon range in the state. Trails are also groomed at the Lander golf course, when conditions allow.

Wood River Valley Cross Country Ski Touring Park • (Meeteetse)The Wood River Valley Cross Country ski touring park is 23 miles southwest of Meeteetse. It showcases the Shoshone National Forest and offers 25 kilometers of groomed trails. There's a warming hut, ski rentals and a rental cabin.

Dubois • Twenty miles west of Dubois, there are four networks of trails totalling 16 miles. All trails are marked but none are groomed. There are trails for beginning, intermediate and advanced skiers, one of which starts on Togwotee Pass. For more information, call the Wind River Ranger District of Shoshone National Forest at 307-455-2466.

Idaho Nordic Centers
This Teton Canyon trail is in Wyoming but you access it from Driggs Idaho and is

Grand Targhee Nordic Center • (Teton Valley Idaho) East of Alta Wyoming you can find wildlife, mountains, pure air, groomed tracks and fresh powder come together and make for a cross-country mecca. Our comprehensive Nordic program provides many opportunities to explore the Tetons including lessons for every level. Our 15 kilometers of professionally groomed trails wind through wooded glades and scenic meadows. All trails accommodate both skating and classic cross-country skiing. The unspoiled beauty of this region is not to be missed!

Teton Valley trails and pathways • There is quite a variety of Nordic skiing in the Teton Valley. We groom three venues -Teton Canyon, Alta, and Teton Springs-on a regular basis with environmentally friendly 4-stroke Yamaha snowmobiles. All TVTAP venues are free to the community. Maintenance and care are supported by donations and volunteers. Grand Targhee Resort has Nordic skiing in Rick's Basin and requires a ski pass.

Eastern Idaho Park N' Ski Locations • Brimstone/Buffalo River Park N’ Ski Location: From Ashton travel N. on Hwy 20 approximately 26 miles.
The Brimstone trail is located .25 miles north of the Island Park Ranger Station on Hwy 20 near Ponds Lodge Resort. Bear Gulch/Mesa Falls Park N’ Ski Location: From Ashton travel E. on Mesa Falls Forest Hwy 47 approximately 12 miles. Fall River Ridge Park N’ Ski Location: From Ashton travel E on Mesa Falls Forest Hwy 47 approximately 6 miles then right onto Cave Falls Rd approximately 6 miles.

Harriman State Park • (Island Park Idaho) Harriman State Park is located 20 miles north of Ashton on Highway 20. There is a total of 21 miles of trails, and 10 of those are groomed, providing opportunities for all levels of skiing. Harriman is a wintering ground for the majestic trumpeter swan and is home to many other animals. A warming shelter and restrooms are provided at the trailhead. The $3 entrance fee is waived if you have a Park N' Ski permit on your vehicle.

Kelly Canyon Nordic Area  •  The Area includes 24 miles of cross-country ski trails, about 5 miles of snowshoe trails and a variety of backcountry skiing experiences including a parked, north-facing powder ski slope where you can sample backcountry skiing with minimum effort and hazard. The KCNA starts around at about 5900ft. and reaches elevations as high as 6700ft. A pleasant warming hut can be found at the base of a north-facing backcountry ski slope for day or overnight use, while a second warming hut is located at Morgan Summit.

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