Montana in the wintertime is absolutely magical. From the snow-covered plains to the sky-high mountains, Montana has miles of incredible landscapes, and is known for being an outdoor haven. Plus, with roughly 145,000 square miles of state to explore and a population of a million people, getting off the grid to get in touch with nature is incredibly easy to do.
With jaw-dropping views, endless sparkling powder, and tons of different activities to try, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more adventurous, yet serene place to visit in the lower 48 during the winter months. Here are 5 different ways you can connect with nature in Montana in the winter!
5 Ways To Connect With Nature In Montana This Winter
While hitting the slopes in a controlled ski area or resort can definitely be fun, there’s just something about getting away from it all and going on a ski adventure in the unbridled wilderness. Montana has a lot of backcountry ski tours to choose from — with options available to anyone from the beginner skier to the more advanced, with lengths of trips ranging from day excursions to overnight adventures.
If you plan on going on a backcountry ski adventure, remember that this is the wilderness and, while you’ll have a guide, it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible. Before you go, it’s best to be in at least intermediate physical shape and study up a bit on avalanche safety. Remember, there are no ski lifts in the backcountry.
Staying at a Backcountry Lodge
Where is the absolute best place to go after a day of exploring outside? A cozy backcountry lodge of course! Sitting on a ridge above the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana, Downing Mountain Backcountry Lodge is an outdoor lover’s dream spot for relaxation. With a massive central fireplace, community living room, full kitchen, and a bubbling hot tub, this lodge is the perfect peaceful escape for you and a group of friends. The lodge is also extremely accessible, with vehicle access during snow-free months, and just a mile and a half ski-in during the winter.
Plus, Downing Mountain Backcountry Lodge offers their own high-intermediate to advanced backcountry ski packages, so if you’re a ski enthusiast looking for a guide, this is the place to go.
For more inspiration for planning your backcountry winter adventure in Montana, check out this great video.
Being able to safely and ethically interact with animals on my travels is one of my favorite things, and what a better way to do that in Montana than by dog sledding? Mushing a team of healthy huskies through the Montana backcountry is not only a great way to get out in nature, but also the perfect way to see it while participating in a unique, historical activity.
If you’re not keen on being a dog sledding participant, then the kick off to a race is a great event to get out and watch. Popular annual races include the Race to the Sky, the Darby Dog Derby, and the Montana Mountain Mushers Fun Run.
Montana’s backcountry has some awesome cross-country skiing trails; trails that will quickly have you in love with their pristine powder and peaceful vibe. The trails range from well-maintained beginner treks to more advanced, lengthy excursions, and many of these cross-country trailheads are easily accessible. If you’re looking for a place to start, some of the best trails in the state are the Yellowstone Rendezvous Trail, the Red Lodge Nordic Center, Whitefish, Elkhorn Hot Springs Ski Trail, and Seeley Lake.
Regardless of how much of an avid cross-country skier you are, there’s a trail in Montana for you!
They say if you can walk, you can snowshoe. In my opinion, snowshoeing on top of Montana’s deep powder is one of the easiest sports to learn — not to mention it opens up the backcountry to you in the same way hiking will in the summertime. You can rent a pair of snowshoes and poles at almost any outfitter shop in the state and, if you’re feeling a little lost in the process, there are guides that can help you out.
There are hundreds of miles of maintained snowshoe paths across Montana, so finding a trailhead won’t be a problem, and there are paths suitable for all ages and abilities. Or, if you’re a more advanced snowshoe fan, the off-grid opportunities are endless.
This post was part of a branded campaign with Visit Montana. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.