Local’s Guide for the Best Winter Activities in Montana
The mountains and valleys of Montana provide a landscape perfect for winter adventures. Winter can be harsh in Montana, but it also delivers so many exciting things to do. Our family loves bundling up and getting out into the frosty air for some of our favorite winter activities in Montana.
Read on for some of the best things to do in the winter in Montana and tips on where to do them.
Hit the Slopes
Montana has some of the best skiing in the world.
From world-class resorts like Whitefish and Big Sky to local resort faves like Red Lodge near Billings and Bridger Bowl near Bozeman (plus several other smaller ski areas that locals love), there is likely a place to ski and snowboard in Montana that is just the right fit for you.
Read More: The Best Ski Resorts in Montana
Go Cross-Country Skiing
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, you might want to try cross-country skiing. There are several recreation areas in Montana that are just for cross-country skiers and are groomed daily.
Read More: Best Places to Cross Country Skiing in Montana
Go Snowmobiling in Montana
With so many open plains and valleys, Montana is an excellent location to go snowmobiling. You can even take a guided snowmobiling tour through Yellowstone National Park to get a view of the park in the winter and without all the summer crowds.
Mingle with Huskies and Go Dog Sledding
One of the most memorable things to do in Montana for animal lovers is dog sledding. Visit a dog sledding camp and learn more about history of dog sledding, interact with the dog sled team, and even cuddle baby huskies if you’re there at the right time!
Though nothing beats the adrenaline thrill of being pulled through the crisp snow by a pack of powerful huskies.
Do a Winter Hike at a National Park in Montana
Both Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks have ranger-led hikes in the winter that take you along trails that can be accessed in the winter.
Rangers will teach you more about the history of the park and give you detailed stories about the sights you’re seeing and the animals that call the parks home.
Read More: Insider’s Guide to Glacier National Park in Winter
In Yellowstone National Park, a great winter hike to do that you can be self-guided is Mammoth Hot Springs.
You can’t bathe in these hot springs, but the incredible travertine formations and the thick steam coming up off them in the cold winter air is an unbelievable sight to behold – and without all the crowds that will be on the wooden platforms going around the hot springs in the summer.
Go Snowshoeing in Montana
A fun alternative to skiing is snowshoeing. Think of it like hiking, but with big, flat shoes on the bottom of your boots! Snowshoeing can be done along many of the hiking trails that are popular in the summer months.
Winter Horseback Riding in Montana
Horseback riding isn’t just a summer pastime in Montana. When the conditions are right, you can saddle up and saunter out into valleys and mountain trails atop a horse.
Many of the dude ranches in Montana offer winter horseback riding. Whitefish Trail and the the Great Northern Historical Trail in Flathead Valley are also great trails for a winter horseback place.
Ride a Fat Bike
A Fat Bike is basically a regular bicycle with really fat tires. Those wider than usual tires will take you over snow and ice with better treading so you aren’t as likely to slip.
Find a local favorite recreational area with fat bike trails for an epic adventure: Whitefish Bike Retreat near Flathead Lake and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area or Blue Mountain Recreation Area are great options for where to give it a try.
Take a Winter Carriage Ride
Feel like you’re in a winter wonderland with a carriage ride through the snow pulled by a horse. Your time in a horse-drawn carriage will provide you with wonderful memories while taking in beautiful Montana winter scenery.
Yellowstone National Park is a fun place to do this. Big Sky also has local ranches offering sleigh ride experiences.
Soak in one of Montana’s Hot Springs
Montana has relaxing hot springs all over the western side of the state. From day pass hot spring centers to entire resorts and lodges built by hot springs, there are tons of options.
Read More: 15 Best Hot Springs in Montana
Stay at a Montana Winter Resort
Want to immerse yourself in Montana’s scenic winters? Stay at one of Montana’s top resorts for a winter wonderland experience.
For some top options, check out our Best Family Resorts in Montana article and our Montana Dude Ranches article.