It’s no secret that Bozeman is a dog-friendly town—make that dog-loving town. In the summer months, dogs are everywhere—on the trails, in the streams and lakes, downtown, and in the parks. Like their handlers, they crave the fresh air of Gallatin County. The winter months are no different, but it can be a little more challenging to find things to do with your dog when it’s cold outside. To help you out, here are 10 pooch-approved adventures for your furry friend.
1. Late-Season Bird Hunting. If your dog is a trained bird dog, head out and get some action in the snow. Some upland birds can be hunted through December, and waterfowl is open until mid-January. Private game preserves allow pheasant and chukar hunting through March.
2. Howlin’ at the Moon Snowshoe Shuffle at Moonlight Basin (February 26, 2011). This is the seventh year for this growing, dogs-encouraged event—live music, a chili feed, and cold beer. Your dog already has this one on her Blackberry calendar.
3. Cross-Country Skiing the Nordic Trails at Hyalite Reservoir. The road is now plowed to Hyalite Reservoir; it’s a rustic skiing experience that’s perfect for dogs. Check out the Palisade Falls access road to the Palisade Falls trailhead, and venture up to the frozen falls. It's a sublime sight.
4. Santa Paws! This is Fido's chance to tell Santa he's been a good boy all year, and it's your chance to create a personal holiday card featuring you, Santa, and your best friend. Santa Paws happens December 4 and 5 at Petsmart.
5. Christmas Stroll (December 4, 2010). Start the holiday season off right with a stroll down Main Street with your best friend. Stroll activities include music, food vendors, horse-drawn hay rides, caroling, street performers, and shopping.
6. Take a Hike. The same trails in the summer months are beautiful in the winter too. Check out the Galligator system, Sypes Canyon, South Cottonwood Creek, and Sourdough, to name a few.
7. Visit the Doggie Country Club (aka Off-Leash Park) Snowfill, Cooper Park, or Heart of the Valley’s off-leash park (which has a great .75 mile loop that is fenced in, relatively flat, and offers great views of the Bridgers) is exhilarating on a brisk winter morning and a great way for Fifi to catch up on all the latest gossip.
8. Backcountry Skiing. Dogs can be pinheads, too. Mount Ellis is a great, dog-friendly venue. Also check out Goose Creek .
9. Sledding at the Snowfill Off-Leash Park. It’s the best dog-friendly sledding hill in the valley and the perfect location for families.
10. Snowball Fights. You’ll never lose a snowball fight to someone without opposable thumbs!
Traci Weller is the executive director of the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman. As always, please respect your open space by cleaning up after your dog.