15 Winter Adventures to Cross off Your Bucket List
October 10, 2014
| Updated January 6, 2020
Yellowstone in Winter—A Local’s Secret
Visiting America’s first national park should be on everyone’s bucket list. But ask a local and chances are they’ll tell you that winter is actually their favorite time to experience the wildlife and pristine quiet of Yellowstone National Park.
Winter Wildlife Spotting in Glacier National Park
Wildlife like bighorn sheep are relatively easy to spot in Glacier National Park when set against a white backdrop of snow. Mount Wilbur, at 9,321 feet, is an example of the dramatic terrain visitors can take in by skis or snowshoes during winter.
Big Skiing in a Small, Charming Town
With over 3,000 acres of skiing and an average of 300” of snowfall each year, Whitefish Mountain Resort has something for every type of skier. And because it’s only 8 miles north of the railroad-turned-ski town of Whitefish, getting there is easy.
A Wild, Unique Place to Soak
The Boiling River, just inside Yellowstone National Park’s North Entrance might be America’s most interesting hot springs. Underground water from hydrothermal terraces flows out of the ground at over 100 degrees, mixing with the Gardner River, creating a blended pool that’s too enticing to pass up—especially in winter.
Whitefish—No Better Place to Be Snowed In
Gateway to Glacier National Park and home of Whitefish Mountain Resort, the town of Whitefish is about as festive a place as you could hope to visit in winter. The renowned Whitefish Winter Carnival, held every February, offers a torch-light ski parade, pie social, and activities galore.
World-Class Nordic Skiing in Town?
Montana is a virtual haven for cross-country skiers. Why? Because here, it doesn’t mean hours in a car driving to the mountains. In fact, groomed Nordic skiing happens right in the middle of towns like Whitefish—pictured here—and several others.
Just Another Night in Glacier
A 10-mile section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road which parallels Lake McDonald’s southern shoreline is open all winter long, offering access to a variety of winter recreation options. The stars over Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park’s largest lake, are even more magical on a clear winter night.
Winter Landscapes Become Playgrounds
Everyone can have fun on a snowmobile. And with thousands of miles of terrain across Montana, there are many types of adventure to choose from. Perhaps the coolest thing about snowmobiling? You can access terrain you might otherwise never experience in winter.
Sleigh Ride Dinner
Sit back and relax while Lone Mountain Ranch’s majestic draft horses deliver you to their remote cabin for a special dinner cooked on an old-fashioned cook stove. Sleigh rides, available in many locations across Montana, can be enjoyed by all ages, making them the perfect group activity.
Connect with Something Wild
From West Yellowstone to Whitefish, Montana’s dogsledding outfitters are ready to share their neck of the woods. The only requirement for a dogsledding tour is an adventurous spirit as you experience the unique power of a team of dogs unleashing their power across the wintry landscape.
Cozy Up in a Winter Cabin
Cabins are a unique part of mountain culture. There’s nothing better après ski or after a snowy day outside than to stoke the fire and unwind from the day. Turn the lights down low, step outside, and most nights you’ll be rewarded with an immense and starry sky.
Wildlife Watching Via Snowcoach
There’s no better way to experience winter in Yellowstone National Park than from the comfort of a warm snowcoach. With a knowledgable guide at the wheel, visitors enjoy an inside view of the largest free-roaming herds of wildlife in the lower 48, easier to spot set against a snowy backdrop.
You Can’t Miss Moose
Along with deer and elk, moose are a fairly common sighting in Montana. They sometimes even wander into town. Weighing anywhere from 600 to 1,200 pounds, they are most commonly spotted in valleys, near lakes, or along any stream or willow thicket.
Powder For Everyone
With 250 runs over 5,750 acres of skiable terrain, Big Sky Resort is a place to happily exhaust yourself. For those seeking expert terrain, the Lone Peak Tram unloads skiers at the summit of Lone Mountain at 11,166 feet.
Embracing Winter Creates a Thirst For Life
Montana ranks third in the nation for breweries per capita, boasting 53 taprooms for about a million residents. Skiing and other winter activities can make a person mighty thirsty, and an après-ski craft brew is truly never far away.