things to do in the winter
Everywhere you look there's more untouched snow. Deciding how to play in it can be overwhelming (in a good way) when your options are as abundant as they are in Glacier Country. Winter in Montana offers hundreds of inches of annual snowfall on 11,000+ acres of skiable terrain at seven downhill ski resorts, plus endless miles of epic backcountry. We also specialize in hot springs, hot tubs and hot chocolate.
Round out your itinerary by planning to take full advantage of all the winter activities available outside the park.
To help make trip planning easier, we've rounded up some single and multiday adventure suggestions for inspiration.
Avalanche safety should always be top of mind when you're headed into the deep stuff. Carry avalanche safety gear, know the red flags of an unstable snowpack, check the avalanche forecast, and get educated in avalanche safety.
Sled the best of the West in the unreal landscapes and premier small towns between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. Plan ahead, play it safe and tread lightly.
While July and August are the most popular times to visit Glacier National Park, the park is open—and lovely—year-round, and each season provides its own distinct experience within the Crown of the Continent. Plus, winter is one of the most peaceful times to visit the park. Our suggestion: Strap on a pair of snowshoes and head out along the east shore of Lake McDonald, or cross-country ski on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. For a complete map, visit . The trail system at Marias Pass is also a prime area for snowshoeing. Local outfitters, including Glacier Adventure Guides and Whitefish Outfitters and Tours, offer guided snowshoeing and cross-country excursions into the park.
If you go...
Many travelers to Montana wisely plan their trips to include both of our national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone. To help make the most of your time, we've put together several road-trip itineraries that offer authentic park-to-park experiences. For inspiration, visit Glaciers to Geysers.
Day One: Downhill Ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Spend your first day hitting the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort. With 3,000 acres of terrain, 111 marked trails, four terrain parks and a skier/boardercross course, vast amounts of bowl and tree skiing and a 3.3-mile-long run (Hellfire), Whitefish Mountain Resort is an ideal mountain for skiers and boarders of all experience levels. Take a break for lunch and warm up at their mountaintop restaurant. Plus, you'll be able to see views of both the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park.
Ever been night skiing? Ski under the lights at Whitefish Mountain Resort on chairs 2, 3 and 6, including the terrain parks.
If you go...
Day Two: Cross-Country Ski at Izaak Walton Inn
The historic Izaak Walton Inn boasts more than 30 km of maintained Nordic ski trails, making it a world-class cross-country skiing destination. Whether you're a classic cross-country skier or an avid skate skier, you'll find incredible trails with just the right amount of terrain variability to satisfy all skill levels.
If you go...
Day One: Cross-Country Ski at Izaak Walton Inn
Start your journey at the historic Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. Located between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, the Izaak Walton Inn is a quiet winter oasis that offers 30+ km of on-site groomed cross-country and skate-skiing trails. After a day in the mountains, unwind with dinner and local beer at the Dining Car in the Izaak Walton Inn.
Overnight in a lodge room, classic caboose or luxury rail car at the Izaak Walton Inn.
Day Two: Snowshoe or Nordic Ski the Going-to-the-Sun Road
Make your way to the snow-covered Going-to-the-Sun Road. During the winter, most of the road is closed to vehicular travel as snowfall creates a sanctuary for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The road is plowed from the west entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge, and snow lovers can access the road just past the lodge.
Day Three: Snowmobile Canyon Creek
For adrenaline-pumping fun, set out on a guided tour with Swan Mountain Outfitters for a guided two-hour, half-day, full-day or twilight snowmobile tour of the Canyon Creek trail system just north of Columbia Falls. Take in spectacular ridge views and play in deep powder bowls before summiting Whitefish Mountain Resort. See jaw-dropping views of the Canadian Rockies, Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley.
Overnight at ROAM Beyond in Columbia Falls.
If you go...
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