Brackett Creek Nordic Trails
Distance: Whatever you want
Elevation Gain: ~500 ft. average; 1,800 ft. to Ross Pass
Distance From Bozeman: 25 minutes
On the east side of the Bridgers, a web of Forest Service roads and jeep trails weave through the foothills. In the winter, they make for great day-trips on Nordic skis, and Brackett Creek abounds in options for exploration. Though you'll be breaking trail if you're the first one out after a fresh snow, you'll be rewarded with solitude. That's the beauty of Brackett: you're close to home, but it feels like it could be worlds away. Wander through frosty firs, with views of the Bridgers (and Crazies) at a pace as mellow or extreme as you like.
From Bozeman, drive up Bridger Canyon past Bridger Bowl and Crosscut, until you come to a junction with Brackett Creek Rd. Turn right, then immediately right again into a parking lot. Cross back over Bridger Canyon Rd. and pick your passion—there are a variety of options up the South Fork. Wind up FS631 through gentle terrain (A) until you come to the upper and lower trailhead. Take a left to dip down into the South Fork proper and contour above Crosscut (B), or, for those feeling a little more adventurous, take the right fork and meander uphill on singletrack until you reconvene with FS631 (C). Alternatively, continue up the logging road for as far as you like. You will run into the trailhead for Ross Pass in another 1.5 miles. All routes have variable terrain and difficulty with A being the least difficult. Have at it!