Open-Air Gym

Close-to-home ski trails. 

Whether you are training for a Nordic ski marathon or just need to work off a few microbrews, cross-country skiing is a great workout with plenty of options to fit any schedule. Pull on your spandex, don those lobster gloves, and raise your heart rate.

Lunchtime Laps
Thanks to the Bridger Ski Foundation, we have wonderful groomed trails right in town. For a lunchtime workout, head over to the trails at Lindley Park and the Highland Glen Nature Preserve.

Getting There. Park at the softball complex / recycling parking lot at Highland Blvd. and Ellis St. To reach the Lindley Park trails, cross Highland, strap on your skis, and skate the inner and outer loops around the field and over to Burke Park. Access Highland Glen by crossing Ellis St.

The Skiing. The 7.5 kilometers of new Nordic trails at Highland Glen Nature Preserve traverse up and down the hospital-owned fields. While the trails will be reconfigured as the system develops, moderate grades, steep hills, sharp turns, and rolling terrain currently offer something for everyone. Watch for one-way signs on some loops. Lindley Park’s trails are mostly moderate grades with wide turns.

Before- or After-Work Burn
Bozeman Creek Trail (Sourdough Canyon) is just minutes from town, but skiing through the trees and along the creek can feel like a little getaway. This is a dog-friendly trail, but remember to keep your pooch under control and out of the way of other skiers.

Getting There. Head south on S. Church (becomes Sourdough Rd. after crossing Kagy), turn right on Nash and continue a short distance before turning left on Sourdough Canyon Rd. Continue to the trailhead.

The Skiing. This trail follows an old logging road; the first mile can be packed out and icy, but better snow lies ahead. Pass the water monitoring station at about .75 miles, and head uphill as the trail alternates between gradual inclines and short hills until it enters flat spruce/fir parkland a few miles up. Continue skiing along the road until the trail drops down to a bridge over Bozeman Creek at five miles. If you have time, continue to Mystic Lake via Wildhorse Junction (8.21 km) or Moser Divide (7.16 km). From Wildhorse Junction, you can drop into the Hyalite trail system.

Half-Day Workout
For a Saturday workout, head up to Hyalite Canyon’s groomed trail system for some gorgeous mountain scenery.

Getting There. Drive south on S. 19th Ave. for seven miles to Hyalite Canyon Rd. Turn left at the national-forest sign and drive another 10 miles. Park on the north side of the reservoir.

The Skiing. There are more than 36 miles of ski trails in the Hyalite drainage, about half of which are groomed. From the parking lot you can ski up the west side of the reservoir on the Crescent Lake / Sleeping Giant Loop to Window Rock, on past the Maxy Cabin, and back around to the north end of the reservoir (17.1 km). Or kick and glide north toward History Rock on the Blackmore Loops (5.6 km). Ski the outside loop the whole way or cut back and forth on the six inner loops. Add in the Wildhorse / Lick Creek Loop to create a customized all-day ski tour. Trail passes aren’t required for Hyalite, but when you buy a Nordic pass online, at Bangtail Bike & Ski, or Northern Lights, you support the season’s grooming effort. Check out grooming reports and trail maps at

Melynda Harrison is the author of Ski Trails of Southwest Montana: 30 of the Best Cross-Country and Snowshoe Trails Around Big Sky, Bozeman, and Paradise Valley.