7 Great Things to Do in Big Sky, MT in Winter: A Local’s Guide

Nestled amidst the snow-kissed peaks, churning rivers, and awe-inspiring vistas lies the enchanting town of Big Sky, Montana — a lovely escape from the crowds that promises unforgettable winter escapades.

The town of Big Sky in winter is recognized for its prime skiing, and in summer, it’s known for being a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. Plus, it’s well-loved for being a portal to the wonders of Yellowstone.

But that’s not all it offers — Big Sky, Montana also harbors other delightful experiences that are sure to captivate you!

⌛ Planning your Big Sky trip in a hurry? Here are my quick picks.

❄️ Best Big Sky Tours & Experiences
1. Big Sky Snowshoe Tour of Yellowstone
2. Ski Rental & Delivery
3. Private Yellowstone Day Tours

🛏️ Best Big Sky Hotels
1. Montage Big Sky (5-star mountain resort with spa)
2. Big Sky Resort Village Center (cozy & budget-friendly)
3. Residence Inn by Marriott Big Sky (mid-range, in town)

Arriving in Big Sky by plane? Book your rental car here.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through one of these links. Thank you for supporting the free content on this site! For more information on affiliate links and cookies, see my disclosure page for more details.
Lovely brilliant sky view of snow covered slopes at Big Sky Ski Resort as seen from the chairlift point of view while skiing on a sunny winter day

Plus, it’s still a bit of a hidden gem in the US, as most travelers end up flocking to Yellowstone, Glacier, or Jackson instead, leaving Big Sky blissfully free of mass tourism.

From delicious meals served on a snowy mountain-side and shopping in the Town Center to riding the slopes at Big Sky Resort and snowshoeing in the forest, Big Sky in winter has something for everyone to enjoy.

Things to Do in Big Sky in Winter

Hike to a frozen waterfall.

View of an icy snow covered landscape in the winter in Big Sky Montana

One of the most popular waterfall hikes in Big Sky transforms into a dazzling frozen wall of ice once the cold weather moves in.

The Ousel Falls Trailhead is minutes from the Big Sky Town Center and offers ample parking spaces.

From the parking area, follow the trail down toward the river.

In the wintertime, the snow can become packed down and slick, so shoe spikes (crampons) are a great idea to keep you from slipping and sliding down the trail!

The trail is 1.6 miles round trip and offers scenic views of the South and West Forks of the Gallatin River.

With only 400 ft of elevation gain, this trail is perfect for families and folks who are new to hiking!

Before the waterfall, you will pass tall cliffs that often support gorgeous ice caves.

Warning: Crossing the river to the caves is extremely dangerous, and staying on the maintained trail is encouraged!

Once you arrive at Ousel Falls, there is a picnic area and a couple of different viewpoints to observe the frozen falls from.

It’s not uncommon to spot ice climbers making their way up the ice and guides leading new climbers on their first outing.

If you’re interested in getting on the ice with a professional guide, Montana Alpine Guides can take you out for a safe and exhilarating day of climbing!

Go shopping in the town center.

Cabin views of Big Sky Montana covered in snow on a wintery day with the sun out

The shopping scene in Big Sky’s Town Center grows larger every year! B

egin your tour of the downtown stores in the Town Center Plaza and make your way down Town Center Ave. toward Fire Pit Park.

Along the way you’ll find a few shops great for shopping and escaping the cold! Here are a few of my favorites.

Sky Boutique

Shop Sky Boutique’s exquisite hand-selected apparel, fine jewelry, and accessories!

Need help putting a stylish outfit together for a night out in Big Sky? Look no further than Sky Boutique!

The Black Diamond Store

Head to Big Sky Resort (or the ski resorts in nearby Jackson Hole) in style!

The Black Diamond Store has everything from professional ski gear to comfortable everyday apparel.

East Slope Outdoors

Remember your trip to Big Sky with a commemorative T!

East Slope Outdoors has a wide selection of graphic shirts everyone will love as well as ski apparel to keep you warm on the slopes.

Montana Supply

You can always find the latest mountain town apparel and accessories at Montana Supply!

It’s also the perfect place to find a thoughtful gift for a loved one or a special something for yourself.

Rhinestone Cowgirl

From western style hats to funky cowgirl boots, Rhinestone Cowgirl is the perfect place to explore true Montana fashion.

If you’re looking for western apparel for men, Antlers Clothing Co, in Fire Pit Park, is your next stop!

Snowshoe or cross-country ski on Big Sky’s trails.

A river amidst a snowy landscape with snow-covered trees in Montana's Big Sky backcountry

The Big Sky Community Organization looks after Big Sky’s love of outdoor recreation and open space with trails and parks that all are welcome to enjoy!

Wintertime visitors can purchase a map of all of the town trails at the Big Sky and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Information Center or one of the many local retail stores.

A few trails you might enjoy on cross country skis or snowshoes are:

South Fork Loop

The easy 1-mile South Fork Loop is groomed in the wintertime and is a perfect place for beginners to learn on snowshoes and cross country skis.

The trail weaves through the forest and hugs the South Fork of the Gallatin River for soothing sounds of rushing water.

Uplands and Hummocks Trails

Just past the South Fork Loop Trailhead, there is a small parking area for the Uplands and Hummocks Trails.

Due to some steep hills, both of these trails care challenging on cross country skis, but they are great for a moderately challenging snowshoe outing.

The Uplands Loop travels up above the Big Sky Town Center for picturesque views of Lone Peak and the Madison Range.

The trail travels through the forest for about 2 miles before looping back to the parking area.

If you’re looking to add a little more mileage, continue onto the Hummocks Trail, which is 3 miles round trip with a couple of scenic viewpoints to stop at along the way.

Have a marvelous dinner experience.

Two festive lit up trees at Christmas time in the ski resort town of Big Sky Montana

A dinner experience in Big Sky reaches way beyond live music and dancing!

During the winter, a few venues host intimate and fun events that are perfect for romantic evenings or special occasions.

Reservations are required for both of these listed things, so plan ahead if visiting Big Sky in winter and you want to do one (or both!).

Montana Dinner Yurt

Meet your chariots, two big red snowcats named Rosie and Ginger.

Climb aboard while choosing to ride on the open deck up top or inside the cab.

Blankets are provided, but guests are encouraged to wear warm winter clothing!

Your snowcat will then bring you up the mountain at Big Sky Resort to a secluded yurt for the Montana Dinner Yurt experience, where you will spend the evening.

Greeted by live music and friendly staff, you will be seated family-style around the cozy dining room!

In addition to outstanding food and a soothing atmosphere, the Montana Dinner Yurt offers sledding and a bonfire.

When your bellies are full, you’ll head back down the mountain on the snowcats with your new friends and memories to last a lifetime.

Sleigh Ride Dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch

By horse-drawn sleigh, dinner guests are transported to a rustic cabin, which is illuminated by an oil lantern.

The magical ride takes you through the snowy forest under the big Montana night sky!

At the dinner cabin, live music and a western atmosphere set the tone for your family-style prime rib feast.

With a rich history and as an icon of Big Sky for over 100 years, Lone Mountain Ranch is a destination within a destination.

Locals and visitors alike enjoy coming to Lone Mountain Ranch to dine at Horn and Cantle, sip signature cocktails at The Saloon, and explore the beautifully groomed trails on cross country skis or snowshoes.

Learn more about the sleigh ride dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch here.

Spend a day at Big Sky Resort – even if you’re not a skier!

A person in a red coat and white snow pants on skis at Big Sky resort in Montana.

A winter trip to Big Sky isn’t complete without spending a day at Big Sky Resort for snow sports!

Boasting endless terrain for skiing and riding, Big Sky Resort is on every powder hound’s bucket list.

There are trails from beginner level to expert, with plenty of open space to learn and explore.

Ski the trails from The Tram or the famous high-speed Ramcharger 8, which seats eight passengers comfortably with a protective face shield and luxurious heated seats!

For the non-skiers visiting Big Sky Resort, there are lots of activities to choose from even if snow sports aren’t your thing.

The adventurous type might enjoy a snowy zip line excursion, while the puzzle whizzes will love the resort’s challenging escape rooms.

If you need a day to relax and unwind, book a soothing massage at Solace Spa.

After the last lift, skiers and non-skiers reunite for après-ski vibes in the Mountain Village.

Fuel up after a fun-filled day at one of the many dining options at Vista Hall, and then pop into Westward Social for a craft cocktail and live music!

If you’d prefer to head off-mountain for refreshments, Copper, inside the Wilson Hotel, has a phenomenal happy hour which runs from 4 PM to 6 PM daily!

Go ice skating in town

Woman with red gloves, gray pants, white jacket and white skates tying up her laces on the ice.

When the sun goes down, the lights come on over the Big Sky Town Center’s Skating Rink.

Locals and visitors lace up their skates and glide around the glistening ice.

A romantic activity paired well with a hot to-go drink or a fun night out with the family, the skating rink welcomes all to join during open skate hours!

Traveling without ice skates? That’s not a problem!

Ice skates are available for rent at East Slope Outdoors for a small fee.

Go for a snowmobile in Gallatin National Forest.

Landscape of the gallatin national forest with snow-covered trees in the backcountry of Montana

While you’re visiting Big Sky country in the wintertime, you have to get out and ride the powder on a snowmobile!

Big Sky is nestled right inside Gallatin National Forest, which offers an exciting variety of terrain to explore on sleds!

Guided tours aren’t just for first-timers!

Booking a snowmobile trip with a professional guide not only keeps you safe on the rugged mountain terrain.

It also allows you to experience the absolute best trails – that are often lesser-known.

Canyon Adventures, an outfitter in Big Sky, is famous for its witty and knowledgeable guides.

If you’d like to schedule a trip or rent snowmobiles, do so well in advance of your visit to assure availability. 

Where to Stay in Big Sky, MT

Ski lifts in the Big Sky Montana area with people waiting to go up the blue chairlift

Budget: Big Sky Resort Village Center

Part of the Big Sky Mountain Village ski resort, these studios offer excellent value for their size and proximity to the ski lifts.

Studios have their own kitchenettes, which can help you save on costs associated with dining out, and they’re very cozy, with touches like indoor fireplaces and cozy couches.

Check availability and prices here!

Mid-Range: Residence Inn by Marriott Big Sky

An elegantly updated Marriott classic, the Residence Inn in Big Sky is a great choice for those traveling on a mid-range budget.

From its modern public areas with comfy furniture and wood-accents to its minimalist updated rooms, it’s a perfect place to stay in the heart of Big Town’s village center.

Check availability and prices here!

Luxury: Montage Big Sky

The lovely 5-star Montage Big Sky is an excellent choice for those seeking a luxury winter escape.

From their lobby with soaring ceilings and an enormous floor-to-ceiling panoramic view of the mountains, to its spa-quality bathrooms in each room, to its literal world-class spa in the hotel itself, there’s no shortage of good things to say about this hotel — and its 9.8 review attests to that.

Check availability and prices here!

2 thoughts on “7 Great Things to Do in Big Sky, MT in Winter: A Local’s Guide”

  1. My daughter and I want to go to big sky for all the nonSkiing winter activities. We want the yurt dinner,guided snow shoe, guided snow mobile, hot springs, zipline experience s. How do we sign up for these?

    Reply

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