Skiing with the Pack

Nordic fun for the whole family.

We are fortunate to live in an area ripe with opportunities for outdoor winter adventures, and no sport gets you further outdoors in the snow than cross-country skiing. Along with the obvious benefits that come with getting children involved in sports, cross-country skiing can be a family bonding activity. Almost everyone—from the very young to the very old—can do it, as long as they’re healthy and somewhat active. Here are a few of the best family-friendly trails around southwest Montana.

In-Town Bozeman:
We have groomed trails right in town thanks to our world-class Nordic ski program, Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF). From the Lindley Park trails to the new Highland East, to the Bozeman Creek system and Bridger Creek, you can drag your family to a different location every day of the week.

Support the grooming effort buy purchasing a pass online, at the BSF office. Check the online grooming report before you go.

The groomed trails in Hyalite Canyon (thanks again, BSF!) are perfect for family skiing and have the added benefit of being as scenic as it gets. The road is plowed all the way up to the reservoir (thanks, Friends of Hyalite!).

Of the 20 miles of ski trails in the Hyalite drainage, about half of them are groomed. From the parking lot you can ski up the west side of the reservoir on the Crescent Lake Trail to Window Rock (intermediate skills required). Or kick and glide north to History Rock and cross the road to Lick Creek. Continue south to Palisade Falls, and then back to the parking area if your family can handle a long ski. Get the map here.

Bear Creek:
If you don’t mind the two-hour drive from Bozeman, the Bear Creek trail system has something for everyone. There are a variety of trails and terrain, from level roads to steep slopes, and the numerous trails can be linked up to create a variety of skiing experiences.

To get there from Gardiner, veer left at the Cenex and drive up Jardine Road to Jardine. Turn right over the bridge in the middle of town. Take Bear Creek Road up 1.7 miles and veer left into the parking area.

For easy skiing, kick and glide up the Bear Creek Trail. From the parking area head back up to the road and continue left. Ski the gently inclining road as it widely traverses around Schultz Knob. After two miles, Timber Camp appears on the left.

The main road continues another two miles to the Bear Creek trailhead near the Wilderness boundary. Grab a map at the Gallatin National Forest Service office for other Bear Creek skiing options.