Bozeman Cross-Country Ski Trail Guide

Luke Brown  |   Tuesday Dec. 31st, 2019

Whether you’re a professor going for a walk on skis, a professional skier outfitted in lycra, or simply a Bozemanite wanting to experience the quiet in the deep winter woods, cross-country skiing is calling you. Our town has a rich culture of winter recreation that encompasses successful competitive nordic skiers, ski clubs, community events, races, and a breadth of ski trails that bolsters them all. With so many trail options, this guide is meant to provide a starting point (or perhaps a start line) to help you on your way out the door and onto the tracks. 

IN-Town Trails
The variety of accessible trails within Bozeman is truly unique. A majority of these trails are groomed by the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) and funded in-part by an optional yet highly encouraged BSF ski trails season pass. Please support the grooming effort by buying a trails pass online or at Chalet Sports, Bangtail Bike & Ski, or Round House Sports. Reference BSF’s website for trail maps. As always, respect the rules of each trail to keep this network top-notch.

Groomed by BSF

Sunset Hills 
3.8km of trails
Park at Softball Complex lot
These beginner friendly trails wind around in the field below the Lindley Center and are perfect for a quick and quality, pre- or post-work ski. Often home to one of the Intermountain Division’s Junior National Qualifiers, this is the de-facto in-town race course. Combine these trails with the Highland Glen trails across the street for some variety and added length. To access Sunset Hills, please park in the Softball Complex parking lot off of Highland Boulevard. 

Highland Glen
Nature Preserve

Beginner - Advanced
About 8.8km
Occasionally referred to as “The Cow Trails,” these narrow tracks will provide an enjoyable and perhaps old-fashioned ski-amble while keeping you on your toes with some twists and turns. Park at the Softball Complex and combine with Sunset Hills for a longer ski. Access to Highland Glen is graciously granted by Bozeman Health and maintained along with Sunset Hills in part by the Gallatin Valley Land Trust throughout the summer. 

Sourdough/Bozeman Creek
(BSF groomed on USFS land - starts Dec 2)
15.8km to Mystic Lake
Dog friendly
Grooming starts December 2
Following this gradual climb, popular with dog owners, will eventually land you at the Moser Divide. There you have the option to continue to Mystic Lake, connect to the Moser parking lot on Hyalite Canyon Road, or turn around. If you turn around, which perhaps will eventually be necessary, be prepared for a fun consistent downhill on the way back which can be cold on a mid-winter day or life-giving on a ice-glistening morning. Sometimes groomed with two classic tracks, Sourdough can be great for classic skiing with a friend!

Bridger Creek Golf Course
The golf course grooming is very accessible from the north side of town and provides a home for any midwesterners wanting that familiar taste of golf course skiing. These tracks are perfect for a close to town, enjoyable, get out and get ‘er done ski on terrain that will keep the mind awake but won’t destroy the body. A huge thanks to Bridger Creek Golf Course for allowing our ski tracks to grace your grasses!

Sacajawea Middle School 
1km loop
Looking for a simple low-key place to get the feel of skis? Here you go. 

MSU Loop 
1km on intramural fields off of Lincoln Street
Or here! These maintained loops are a perfect place to teach your kids. Or maybe you’re the kid - go here to teach your parents how to glide!

Groomed mainly by the US Forest Service (grooming on USFS trails starts Dec 2)

Moser Creek
7.2 km to Moser Divide
Dog friendly
Want to adventure into the Gallatin National Forest? Drive up Hyalite Canyon Road and park at Moser Creek. From there, climb and descend down to the Moser Divide and connect to Mystic Lake or Bozeman Creek for a longer day! 

Hyalite Canyon
Beginner - Intermediate
Total of about 28.4km
Dog friendly
The more remote trails in Hyalite Canyon provide a variety of terrain underneath the Gallatin Mountains. Park at History Rock, Blackmore, or the Hyalite Day Use Area to begin experiencing the solitude and simplicity of gliding on skinny skis through the woods. A variety of trails here enables you to get creative and make some loops, lollipops, or I guess you can just call your out-and-back a stick or lance or wand... 

Independently Operated

Crosscut Mountain Sports Center
Beginner - Advanced    
Bozeman, MT (just past Bridger Bowl)
Season or day pass required
Option for group or private lessons
Rental equipment available
Dog friendly on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday after 3pm
Ski under the lights Mondays and Thursdays until 8pm. The Crosscut trails are world class. A large network of trails allows you to plan an adventurous route or just take the trails-less-traveled and find your way back. Along the way, you’ll be confronted by challenging climbs but you’ll be thanking your past-self for putting in the work not only because of your present-self’s toned legs and earned cookies but because of the exhilarating descents that follow. Ski under the lights, ski with your dog, or get a lesson from an experienced instructor. Crosscut will also be hosting the NCAA Ski Championship races March 11-14, which will be an event to watch - combine with turns at Bridger Bowl for a full day of mixed-discipline skiing.

Lone Mountain Ranch
Beginner - Advanced
Big Sky, MT
Day or season pass required
Lessons and equipment rentals available
The experience you’ll have at Lone Mountain Ranch will be something to write home about. You can ski these trails to casually meander in and out of woodlands or you can climb, climb, climb then whoooooopeeee-look-mom-no-hands your way back, but look out for moose! Of course, you can rent a little winter paradise cabin if you would like and ski out the door or drive down from Bozeman for the day - either way, it’ll be worth it. 

Homestake Lodge
Beginner - Advanced
Whitehall, MT
Day or season pass required
15km of dog friendly trails
Lessons and equipment rentals available
2km lighted trail on Thursday evenings
until 7:30pm
Snow making on practice field. 
At Homestake, experience an essential Montanan ski day in which you wake up in a cozy cabin, ski out the door along narrow trails as you smell the pines, slurp up some soup, ski some more (and maybe some more!), and then cuddle up with friends and family for the night. Located just under an hour away from Bozeman, Homestake is perfect for a long day adventure or a winter weekend getaway.  

West Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Trails
Beginner - Advanced
Over 35km
Day or month pass required
Home to the Yellowstone Ski Festival over Thanksgiving, the Rendezvous trails have attracted the best skiers in the country year after year. Rolling terrain and well-thought-out trails empower you to feel the flow of ideal skiing form. These tracks wind through USFS land and are operated in conjunction with some local organizations. Find early and late season snow if you’re looking for those extra k’s.

Now that you know, go! Choose a trail that seems right for your aptitude and desire for adventure. Choose a day to challenge yourself or go someplace new. Invite a friend to come along. And when you’re out there, don’t forget to smile, be courteous, and have some splendid skiing fun. See you on the trails!  

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