What You Need to Know Before Planning a February Trip to Montana
Wondering what Montana is like in February? You’ve come to the right place. We live here and love it, and think it’s pretty spectacular even at the height of winter.
(But cold. Very cold. Don’t worry, we’ll cover how to keep yourself properly covered.)
Most people who visit Montana do so in the summertime. The national parks are filled with fun things to do, and the weather tends to be tolerable. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider a trip to Montana in the winter, too – the parks remain open, and the state has indoor attractions for those less adventurous.
Plus, there’s the skiing…and cross-country skiing…and snowshoeing…and snowmobiling…and the simply beautiful snow covered outdoors!
So whether you’re looking for a skiing adventure over mid-winter break, or simply a cozy cabin weekend getaway, here’s what to expect when you visit Montana in February.
What’s the Weather Like in Montana in February?
In one word, cold. February is just as cold as January, though often warmer (even if ever so slightly at times) than March in Montana. Prepare for average highs of 35 degrees Fahrenheit and nights that reach an average low of 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Western Montana tends to be snowier than the rest of the state. While eastern Montana may not have as much snow on average, the temps can dip even colder than in snowy western MT. We explain more about that in this article about the best time to visit Montana.
How Cheap are Flights to Montana in February?
Montana’s peak travel season is summer, so plane tickets should be relatively inexpensive in February, particularly to Billings. You’ll see a spike for airports closer to the major ski resorts, like Bozeman and Whitefish. Spikes are also likely to happen during the school mid-winter breaks for cities that are a short flight away, such as Seattle.
Insider tip: Fly into Billings and spend your ski days at Red Lodge, where us locals like to ski.
What’s Open at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in February?
The only entrance open during winter in Yellowstone National Park is the north entrance by Gardiner. That will take you to Mammoth Springs Lodge, one of two lodges in the park open in February. From there, the only other road in Yellowstone open to cars (weather permitting) during the winter is the one through Lamar Valley connecting Mammoth to the northeast entrance by Cooke City.
Cross-Country skiers will enjoy a stay at Mammoth Springs Lodge, which has a ski shop, gift shop, and a restaurant and bar. Snowmobilers (and skiers and snowshoers or anyone looking to get away from it all!) will enjoy a stay at Old Faithful Winter Lodge, which is only accessible via a snow coach in February.
At Glacier National Park, a small portion of Going-to-the-Sun road stays open year-round. Basically just the part that takes you from the west entrance of Glacier to Apgar Village. Though you won’t find aything open in Apgar in February, and all other roads through the park will be closed.
However, while the Apgar Visitor Center doesn’t operate in February, the bathrooms and informational exhibit do remain open. Many people enjoy visiting this area in February to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
If you’re looking for a real outdoor adventure, consider getting a backcountry camping permit for Glacier National Park in winter. You won’t have running water and it is cold and wet, and you’ll need to be avalanche aware, so this option is only ideal for experienced winter campers.
February Skiing in Montana
One of the most popular things to do in Montana during the month of Febuary is downhill skiing. It’s what brings most people to Montana in February.
Two of the most popular downhill skiing spots in the state are Big Sky Mountain and Whitefish Mountain. Thanks to their excellent ski schools, this is likely where you’ll find many families during school mid-winter breaks.
However, if you want to ski at smaller mountains without so many out-of-staters, you hav over a dozen other spots to choose from. Read our Guide to Montana Ski Resorts to find the one best for you.
Other Things to Do in Montana in February
Montana is home to some beautiful hot springs, which visitors can best experience at resorts like Chico Hot Springs, Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort, and Elkhorn Hot Springs. Even though they look like heated pools, the bodies of water are completely natural!
If you’ll be spending time in Bozeman, you can soak in one of the pools at Bozeman Hot Springs, best done after a day hitting the slopes at Big Sky Mountain or Bridger Bowl!
Read More: The Best Hot Springs to Visit in Montana
If it’s too cold to spend time outdoors, fear not – there are cool museums scattered across Montana. Seeing a local museum is a great way to learn more about the state’s culture.
Insider Tip: Double check opening times before choosing a museum to visit since some of them have very limited operating hours in the winter due to less tourists.
Check out the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, which is dedicated to Western art and also has an artsy gift shop. Alternatively, head to Missoula for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a museum focused on wildlife and hunting education. In Bozeman, you can’t miss a visit to the famous Museum of the Rockies, home to incredible dinosaur skeletons.
Even though Montana is cold in February, that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. Whether you enjoy winter sports or relaxing resorts, you can build a dream trip itinerary in the Big Sky State!