Snow-covered mountains, icy roads, and chilly temps are no reason to stop enjoying all that Bozeman has to offer! If you are new to Bozeman you’ll soon find out that a little thing like winter doesn’t slow us down. We’ve put together a list of our favorite things to do in Bozeman during the winter season.
These ones are pretty much a given Bozeman pastime since Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Resort are both less than an hour away. Bridger is the favorite amongst locals and is smaller than its Big Sky neighbor, but both offer fantastic skiing and snowboarding to keep everyone busy all winter long. Keep an eye on the blue light on the Baxter Hotel, if it’s blinking it means you might want to call in for a ski day at work because it’s snowing at Bridger!
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know there is no lack of cross-country trails. Just past Bridger bowl is Crosscut Mountain (formerly Bohart Ranch) which offers 18 miles of scenic cross-country trails. The Bridger Ski Foundation grooms six venues throughout Bozeman; Bridger Creek Golf Course, Sunset Hills, Highland Glen, Sourdough Canyon, Hyalite Canyon, and Sacajawea Middle School. There is no charge to use these trails, however, if you can afford it and use the trails often it’s nice to buy a voluntary trail pass or make a donation so BSF can continue to do this for all of us to enjoy.
This is fun for all ages and luckily Bozeman offers plenty of great sledding hill options for whatever your thrill level is. Peet’s Hill is considered one of the most popular Bozeman sledding destinations, but take it from us, it is not for the lighthearted. Steep slopes, crowds, and a fairly small landing space can definitely cause a few injuries. The hill at the 100-Acre Regional Park is slowly becoming the new favorite and because there’s more space is a little safer. (Although it still gets crowded and icy!) Lindley Park and Snowfill are other great family sledding options. For more of Bozeman's best sledding, click here.
Thanks to the ever-growing popularity of hockey in this town, ice skating is a big winter activity. Luckily in Bozeman, there are so many places to enjoy this sport. Bozeman has three outdoor rinks maintained by the city and offers lessons. Beall, South Side, and Bogert all have rinks open during the winter and ready for you. These rinks have lights for evening skates…there’s something about ice skating under the stars! A couple of the local elementary schools also have ice skating rinks. These are generally smaller and less crowded, perfect for beginners. For those braver souls, there is always the option to skate on one of the many frozen ponds around town or Hyalite Reservoir. For hockey, the place to go is Haynes Pavilion. They have youth and adult leagues, lessons, open skate times and so much more.
If you are not a fan of the snow, or you just need a break from all the skiing, ice fishing and sledding you've been doing, there are several hot springs in and around Bozeman that are perfect for taking the chill right out of the air. Bozeman Hot Springs is just a short drive past Four Corners with wonderful amenities. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys live music with their soak, Norris Hot Springs is the perfect place to go. Looking for a weekend getaway? Chico Hot Springs has lodging, delicious food, live music and a two open air mineral hot springs pools. We're warming up just thinking about it!
Photo credit Chico Hot Springs
Fishing is certainly not just a summertime activity around here. Sure, it takes a little more work, and a little more insulation in the winter, but ice-fishing is a great way to get outdoors. The Bozeman Beach in the East Gallatin Recreation Area has picnic areas and a fishing dock. The Bozeman Pond, just off of Main Street, is for day use only but it has a boat launch, bathrooms and access for camp trailers. The best part is, that those who do not find ice fishing fun can hit the mall, which is just steps away from the pond! Ice fishing at Hyalite Reservoir begins in late December, trout take is limited to five a day and artic graylings have to be released but it's worth it for the peace & quiet and the beautiful mountain views!
Hyalite Canyon has become a huge destination for ice climbing with over 200 routes of varying difficulties. Many of the routes are found in the main canyon within a couple miles of the Grotto Falls parking lot which is now plowed through much of the winter. Even if you don’t ice climb, it’s always fun take a hike to Grotto and catch a glimpse of the ice climbers in the distance.
Check out the latest exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies. This is a world-class museum right in our town so don’t miss out. The planetarium and hands-on exhibits are great entertainment for kids. Another great option for kids is the Children’s Museum, they have the coolest STEAM Lab. Bonus? They offer Free Friday nights on the second Friday of each month.
Is it just us or is the Bozeman Public Library your go-to happy place? Grab a cup of coffee from the coffee shop in the lobby and cozy up with a good book in a corner of the library. There is something for everyone here with a children's room full of books and entertainment as well as a teen area for those who refuse to be seen with Mom & Dad.
Bobcat Football obviously has a huge following around here. Don’t forget about the rest of the year, stay warm inside while showing your team spirit cheering on the Bobcats. Click here for a schedule of games. Speaking of MSU, the Procrastinator Theater is the best place to catch an affordable movie.
Bozeman events definitely don’t slow down when it gets cold. The Winter Farmer’s market, craft fairs, festivals, theatre, opera, symphony and so much more. A couple of our favorites; the Winter ArtWalk, Christmas Stroll, taking advantage of a Bridger Bowl special deal ski days (always go early!), or simply grabbing a cozy cup of coffee or cocoa at one of our local coffee shops. Plus, there is always something going on at the Rialto or Ellen.
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