There’s no question Western Montana is a downhill ski destination. But what makes this place so sought-after is the epic landscape, charming small towns and 300+ inches of snow the region sees every winter, all making it a popular destination even for those who don’t ski. Here are seven ways to play in a Western Montana winter.
On way to get that adrenaline rush of crushing fresh powder is by powering up a snowmobile and hitting the miles and miles of trails that crisscross Western Montana. Snowmobiling in Glacier Country is extraordinary. Seek out the deep snow of the Swan Mountains by booking a tour with Rich Ranch. If you’re home-basing your getaway in the Flathead Valley, take a guided tour with Swan Mountain Outfitters.
Try something you’ve never tried before: dog sledding. One mush and you’ll be hooked. This winter activity is wildly fun, and a unique way to tour the landscape. You’ll never forget the exhilaration of gliding across a frozen lake on a dog sled, trust us. Take a dog sledding tour with Base Camp Bigfork in Bigfork, Dog Sled Adventures in Olney or Winter Woods Dog Sled Tours in Whitefish.
Soak up winter in a soothing hot spring. Quinn’s Hot Springs sits along the Clark Fork River on the St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway with brand new pools plus a variety of lodging options. Please note: Due to the pandemic, Quinn’s pools are currently open to overnight guests only, but they hope to offer walk-in/day swimming soon. Just north of Paradise is the quirky Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths in the equally eccentric community of Hot Springs.
Sounds enchanting, right? That’s because they are! Sleigh rides in Western Montana are one of the coziest ways to winter here. You can sleigh by day or under a sky full of stars at night. Ride through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh at Double Arrow Lodge in Seeley Lake, Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish or Cripple Creek Horse Ranch in Trego.
Snowshoeing in Glacier National Park
One of the biggest misconceptions about Montana’s Glacier National Park is that it’s closed during the winter. It’s not! It’s open year-round and is a phenomenal place to snowshoe—a quiet and serene winter-wonderland experience. Popular spots include the shores of Lake McDonald, the trails at Marias Pass and the gorgeous Going-to-the-Sun Road.
If you can ride a bike, you can ride a fat bike. That means this is one winter activity most people can enjoy. Fat bikes are regular bikes equipped with fat tires that make it easy to ride on snow-packed trails. One of the best places in the Flathead Valley to tackle fat biking is at Whitefish Bike Retreat. Situated along the Whitefish Trail, the bike retreat also has lodging options. Near Missoula, fat bike the Blue Mountain Recreation Area, Rattlesnake National Recreation Area or Twin Creek along the Blackfoot Corridor.
Glacier Country boasts more than 30 breweries, and that’s no surprise, seeing as Montana is ranked No. 2 in the nation for breweries per capita. In short, we craft amazing beer here. Award-wining beer, in fact. Set your sights on a brewery tour of the region or in one of our larger small towns, and you’ll not only get a taste for authentic, lovingly crafted microbrews, you’ll get a taste of the warm western hospitality we’re known for around here. Cheers!
Please note: Face coverings are required indoors or when social distancing in groups is not possible outside. Social distancing is required to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of space for social distancing activities and recreation in Western Montana. It’s vital, however, to maintain a 6-foot distance from others, even outdoors. Please be mindful of our communities and small businesses, which have had to adapt to the change and may face limitations this year—always call ahead. We’re all in this together. Take the Tourism Pledge to travel responsibly in Glacier Country.
February 1, 2021
Related: Bigfork, Blackfoot Corridor, Breweries, Dog Sledding, Fat Biking, Flathead Corridor, Glacier National Park, Hot Springs, Hot Springs (town), Missoula, Montana, Olney, Outdoor Fun, Paradise, Seeley Lake, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing, Trego, Vacation, Whitefish, Winter Fun