Big Sky, MT
Branded “The Biggest Skiing in America” certainly belies a strong reputation. Big Sky, Montana is an area in Southern Montana at an elevation of 7,128 feet. The community sits just above Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park and not far from the border of Idaho. Until two resorts in Utah merged, this moniker was accurate. Now Big Sky’s 5,800 acres of skiing is only the second most in the United States.
Overnight Parking – I’ve always parked in the village just down the road from the resort. I think some people may park in Big Sky’s parking lot and that is probably fine but you can descend 1500’ and sleep in the village behind the Big Sky Community Organization in the parking lot. There are usually some vehicles that have been parked there for awhile.
Beehive Basin Brewery- Located right in town, they have a tasting room and no less than six beers on tap at all times. Unfortunately, they do not have food.
Scissorbills Saloon- At the foot of Big Sky Resort, this local watering hole is a staple for post run fun. With six Montana beers on tap and a wide selection of cocktails, you’ll be sure to unwind here.
There are no shortages of hiking options in and around Big Sky. They vary in length and elevation gain but rest assured, there are plenty of choices. Beehive Basin is a lovely 6.6 mile loop with alpine views and the option to swim in freezing cold water. If you want to hike to a lake check out Lava Lake, Albino Lake, Golden Trout Lake, or Summit Lake.
The accommodation options in Big Sky are nearly innumerable. Depending on your budget and desires for your vacation you can find it all. To stay at the bottom of the slopes check out The Lodge at Big Sky or Huntley Lodge. Be aware, both options are $500+ per night during ski season. Some accommodations include a spa option as well.
Other things to do:
There are three incredible golf courses in the area if you want to bring your clubs and take a break from hiking. An Arnold Palmer design, Big Sky Golf Course combines spectacular views and links style golf. Rounds cost around $70 so it’s quite affordable. Spanish Peaks is just down the road and is designed by Tom Weiskopf. A round will run you $94 here. Lastly is Moonlight Basin, by Jack Niklaus. It has a 777 yard hole. In order to play you must be staying at the resort, which is $125 per night, then the round is going to cost $249 per golfer.
If you are looking to take a day trip and mix up your scenery, definitely consider these two adjacent national parks. The northern entrance to Yellowstone is at the doorstep of the town of Big Sky. Although this is not the ideal place to enter Yellowstone, we can say from experience that it’s not the worst one either (for the record, the east entrance from Wyoming is a one hour drive through the park before you see a trail head, river, or even pull off area; the western entrance through Idaho and then Wyoming is the best one – it leads right to Old Faithful and a ton of hikes along the western side of the park). Regardless of the time of year, Yellowstone is full of mysteries and beauty.
Sitting just south of Yellowstone is Grand Tetons National Park and the lovely town of Jackson, Wyoming. In summertime you can take a swim in Jenny Lake and take a hike through the incredible 13,000+ foot mountains. Winter opens up the famous Jackson Hole skiing area, if you desire a different look of the powder.
Another summertime classic, you and the family can call up any of the three rafting companies and they will show you the rapids of the Gallatin River. Or, you and the crew grab a case of beers and lazily float your way down the Madison River. You can also drive down to the Snake River, near Jackson Hole, and do the same on the river that Evel Kneivel made famous.
Ousel Falls Road
The most popular hike in the area is a 1.5 miles total and an out and back route. It takes about a half hour to complete and looking at the photos, it is prettier in the winter. You end at a beautiful staircase like waterfall.
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