Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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To think that a week ago, J and I just spent the day roaming around Yellowstone National Park on snowmobiles makes my heart so happy! Traveling to Montana in winter is one of the coolest trips we have taken and I am so thrilled that are 2020 year of travel began with a trip to one of the most beautiful winter destinations within the United States. And if you take seriously anything I share on gracefulandfree than I strongly encourage you to make a plan to visit Montana in winter at some point in your life (sooner, rather than later!) and for when you do take the trip, here is your guide on all the Must Know Tips for Traveling Montana in Winter.
I would absolutely recommend whatever you do to please plot the time you are in Montana between Bozeman AND Big Sky. Both cities are amazing and perfectly wonderful in their own way. To get the true and authentic Montana winter experience then you must absolutely spend time in both cities. We split it evenly with two nights in Bozeman and two nights in Big Sky. That was definitely a solid amount of time, however we would have loved to have had one more day in each. So whether you are able to travel for 5 days or 7, please take tip #1 of the must-know tips for traveling in Montana in winter, and spend time in both Bozeman AND Big Sky! I have an incredibly detailed travel guide for your winter weekend in Bozeman, MT that you can FIND HERE!
Tip #2, assuming you are following the advice shared in tip #1, please do your life a favor and schedule a snowmobiling tour in Yellowstone. Big Sky is only one hour away from the entrance to West Yellowstone (which sits on the border of Montana and Wyoming!) and seeing Yellowstone through snowmobiles is (in my honest opinion) the only REAL way to see Yellowstone. There is something absolutely beautiful about wide open spaces, covered in snow, and beautiful, majestic bison adding to the gorgeous landscape.
And when you do snowmobile in Yellowstone, transportation can be a little tricky, especially with the roads – lots and lots of ice on the roads. You are driving early in the morning to get to the park in time for the start of the tour and not all the roads are fully serviced yet. We scheduled transportation through Karst Stages and were able to pay $100 for two people to transfer from Big Sky to Two Tops Snowmobile and back. This was such a life saver! As we were able to enjoy the ride to the park and watch the gorgeous views and spot wildlife along the way! Definitely worth it!
The cheapest transportation from Bozeman to Big Sky is the Skyline Bus. Only adding an additional twenty minutes depending on which stop you get on/off at, the Skyline is a very affordable and easy way to move between Bozeman and Big Sky. With just $5 per person each way, you will be at your destination in under ninety minutes! I would strongly recommend using the drop off and pick up location at the MSU campus. My only advice would be to try to take one of the earlier bus times, we waited until later morning (and maybe because it was also President’s day) were unable to secure seats on the bus, thus paying the $100 Lyft ride to Big Sky! So definitely, try and take the bus!
Moving on to tip # 4, when in Big Sky you must absolutely stay at The Wilson. The Big Sky Resort is massive and obviously right next to the slopes, however, staying at the Wilson allows you to fully experience all that Big Sky has to offer. Located in the heart of Town Center, right next to Beehive Basin Brewery, and a dozen of restaurants and shops, the Wilson is the place to be. With a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, Montana’s best whiskey bar and their very own shuttle that can take you straight to the slopes in less than 15 minutes, the Wilson is your must-stay location for any trip to Big Sky! Not to mention, the entire property is absolutely gorgeous and the rooms oh so comfy! (Plus, you are surrounded by the best views of gorgeous snow capped mountains on all sides)
If you are a beginner or novice skier, I would strongly recommend that you purchase the beginner’s lift tickets at Big Sky! Regardless of your ski level, if you are vacating to Montana in winter then you absolutely need to spend some time on the lifts. Reason #1 – you will witness the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen! And reason #2 – you will be skiing arguably some of the absolute best ski slopes in the entire country. However, skiing in Big sky does not mean you have to spend a fortune. As novice skiers ourselves, we purchased the beginner’s ski package and were able to save a lot of money on the slopes! Definitely worth looking into!
While Bozeman has an impressive reputation for amazing breweries, the absolute best brewery worth visiting is MAP Brewing. In addition, MAP Brewing has the best views Bozeman has to offer. Looking through the back windows is the most gorgeous view of snow-covered mountains and gorgeous snowy backdrops! The absolute best kind of view to look at while enjoying an absolute delicious brew! Definitely worth a visit on your trip to Bozeman!
Bozeman also has a reputation for fantastic eats and while a lot of the restaurants are smaller and intimate, I strongly encourage you to do your research ahead of time and plan ahead with guaranteed spots at the table! Our favorite places to eat include Blackbird, Dave’s Sushi, and definitely brunch at the city’s best… Jam! You will definitely do yourself a favor by already knowing that you have the best spots in Bozeman reserved for dinner. Additionally, I strongly suggest doing the same for Big Sky. Make reservations at Copper, Horn and Cantle and Ousel & Spur Pizza Co.