Leveling the Fields

sourdough, groomed trails, nordic trails, cross country skiing, montana, bozeman

Bozeman's groomed trails.

Bozeman’s mountains and meadows are home to some of the best winter trails in the West. You can thank the terrain, local nonprofits, and the Forest Service for miles of groomed ski trails. The grooming crews are often sneaky—completing their work late at night or early in the morning—and unsuspecting residents may take it all for granted. The truth is, a lot of hours, dollars, and skier-support fuel the bounty of trails. Before you hit the corduroy, know the details: each location has its own set of rules regarding dogs, foot traffic, passes, and bikes. Plus, there are ways to support the nonprofits to keep the magic alive.

For the trails maintained by Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF), a voluntary trail pass is suggested to help fund the grooming, but access is free to all. BSF raises money for the grooming through a combination of voluntary passes, donations, and grants. Using the winter trails at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center requires a day or season pass, and the center also relies on fundraising. Here’s a list of trails in the area.

grooming, sourdough, bozeman, montana, nordicc skiing, trails, cross country

Sourdough Canyon: 23km of multi-use groomed terrain goes all the way to Mystic Lake and Moser Divide. Expect lots of dogs, foot traffic, and skiers. Groomed by BSF.

Bridger Creek Golf Course: 7km of cross-country skiing with excellent beginner terrain. Ski traffic only, and please be sure to stay on the trails (this protects the golf greens). Groomed by BSF.

Chief Joseph & Sacajawea Middle Schools: 1km loops at these two middle schools are for PE classes and staff during the day, but the public is welcome to hop on the trails after school hours. Groomed by BSF.

Crosscut Mountain Sports Center: 45km of skate and classic skiing, along with snowshoeing and fat-biking trails, located in Bridger Canyon and adjacent to Bridger Bowl. Check for their Dog Days if you want to ski with your pooch. Pass needed.

Gallatin Regional Park: 2km of groomed trails on the northwest side of town. No dogs on trails. Groomed by Montana Endurance Academy with support from Gallatin County.

Highland Glen: 10km of rolling terrain, close to downtown. Ski traffic only on the groomed trails, but there are ungroomed multi-use trails available, too. Owned by Bozeman Health and groomed by BSF.

Hyalite Canyon: A winter wonderland of criss-crossing trails, with over 30km of ski trails that are groomed (plus lots of additional ungroomed options). Ski trails allow for both ski and foot traffic. These are narrow trails and best suited to classic skiing. Bikes are not allowed on groomed ski trails, but some trails in Hyalite are open to bikes during winter. Grooming primarily by the Forest Service, with a little help from BSF.

Sunset Hills: Nearly 5km of winding trails with a snowmaking system that keeps the people skiing during low-snow dips. Grooming, snowmaking, and maintenance by BSF. Ski traffic only.

For grooming reports and trail maps, visit BSF, Crosscut, or Montana Endurance Academy.

Jenny White is a writer, skier, and hunter living in Montana. She is also the marketing & communications director for Bridger Ski Foundation.