Winter in southwestern Montana is a special time filled with great opportunity for outdoor fun. Whether you’re looking to ski, hit the hot springs, or spend time with your pup – it’s all here for the taking. Knoff Group Real Estate has put together a list of some of our favorite ‘off the beaten path’ winter spots in the area.
Not much beats a warm soak on a cold winter day and Bozeman and the surrounding areas have a great variety of hot springs to visit.
Chico Hot Springs is located in Pray, about a 1-hour drive from Bozeman and 40 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. Founded in 1900 as a place for miners to relax after their work day, Chico features historic buildings, a variety of accommodations, and an award winning restaurant – soaking opportunities include two-open aired natural mineral hot springs pools. https://www.chicohotsprings.com/
Norris Hot Springs, the ‘Water of the Gods’ is located on MT-84, about 40 minutes from Bozeman. Norris offers an unforgettable soaking experience, complete with frequent live music and a snack bar offering drinks and local, organic fare. The 30’ x 40’ pool averages 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yellowstone Hot Springs opened relatively recently in March 2019. It’s located north of the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, alongside the Yellowstone River. The facility features three natural pools – the hot pool (103-105 degrees F), the main pool (98-100 degrees F), and the cold plunge (60 to 65 degrees F). https://yellowstonehotspringsmt.com/
Winter weather can be a challenge for dogs but Bozeman offers some amazing dog-friendly winter activities – sure to keep you and your pup exercised and happy!
Drinking Horse Mountain Trail is located at the mouth of Bridger Canyon. This 2.2-mile round-trip is a moderate loop, with an elevation gain of 700 feet. It’s a scenic trail and very popular amongst the pups. Beautiful snowy meadows and gorgeous Bridger views makes this hike a must-do on your winter agenda. It can get icy, so make sure you bring YakTrax or other shoe crampons.
Snowfill Dog Park is one of Bozeman’s largest and most scenic off-leash fenced dog parks. Located at the junction of McIlhatten and Manley roads just to the north of downtown Bozeman, Snowfill features over two miles of trails offering gorgeous views of the Bridger Mountains and the Gallatin Valley.
Nordic skiing is a popular winter activity in Bozeman with a good selection of natural and groomed trails.
Bear Canyon Trail is located southeast of Bozeman between Mount Ellis and Chestnut Mountain. It’s a popular ungroomed cross-country trail with the first 4 miles gaining little elevation. Beyond that, the trail steepens and various forks lead in a myriad of directions.
Crosscut Mountain Sports Center is located in Bridger Canyon just up the road from Bridger Bowl. With over 45km of groomed cross-country and narrow-gauge trails – Crosscut offers everything from classic XC and skate skiing, snowshoeing, and even fat biking. https://www.crosscutmt.org/
Hyalite Canyon is a popular outdoor destination for Bozemanites. It has endless miles of ungroomed and maintained trails during the winter, including:
Wildhorse/Lick Creek trail. This trail sits fairly low in Hyalite Canyon and is great for meadow skiing or snowshoeing. It hooks into a popular trail network with options for all ability levels. One route allows you to turn right at the 4-way and ski to the Upper Wildhorse 4-way. From there, take a left on Trail 455 and head toward the ridge between Hyalite and Bozeman Creek. It’s a narrow, beautiful trail.
Lower Wildhorse trail. This trail is a great option for beginner to intermediate skiers. It is about 4 miles, with an elevation gain of 400 feet. It’s a winding loop trail with beautiful scenery, and if you keep trekking up, there’s a great overlook near Hood Creek.
Sourdough Canyon, also known as Bozeman Creek Trail, is located in South Bozeman off Sourdough Canyon Road. The trail is groomed by the Bridger Ski Foundation, so it’s a perfect spot for all levels of skiing. The trail ranges from 2-19 miles as on out-and-back, depending on how far you go – the trail ends at Mystic Lake (not 100% groomed).
The City of Bozeman maintains two outdoor skating rinks. They’re free to the public and are kept up with a Zamboni – keeping the ice clean and smooth. No set dates for the season as it’s weather dependent.
The Anderson Pavilion at Bogert Park is located on South Church Avenue and Bogert Place. The rink is covered and lit. Note: the rink is closed to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30pm-6pm through February 10th.
Beall Park is located on Villard Street and Black Avenue. It’s a nice rink and only a few minutes from downtown – so you can go grab a coffee after a nice skate!
Ice fishing is a great winter activity. And, luckily for you, there are several ice fishing spots just a quick drive from downtown Bozeman.
Hyalite Reservoir is a short drive up Hyalite Canyon and is the perfect spot for winter activities. The reservoir is a great spot for anglers to set up for ice fishing. Make sure you get out there early, as it often fills up fast!
Other Fun Winter Activities
Avalanche Dog Meet and Greet takes place at Big Sky Resort Mondays and Wednesdays between 4:30-5pm. You’ll get the chance to learn about the dogs, their ski patrol handlers, and everything that goes into keeping terrain safe.
Alpacas of Montana is an integrated alpaca farm that creates sustainable clothing from natural fiber. Located in South Bozeman, the farm offers a 60-minute hands-on, educational farm tour that allows visitors to get up close and personal with the alpacas and llamas. Tours are available Thursday through Monday and tickets can be purchased in advance online. https://alpacasofmontana.com/products/alpaca-and-llama-farm-tours-schedule
Have you ever been cosmic tubing? Now you can, with Yellowstone Alliance Adventures (YAA). Dates are offered through February 22nd – most are on a waitlist. Don’t miss sledding down the hill in bright colors – the event also includes free hot cocoa! S’mores are available for purchase. https://yaacamp.org/winter-2024-tubing-events-ticket-tailor/