Before moving to Big Sky, the first activity that came to mind when someone mentioned this place was skiing, and naturally so. Lone Peak undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression on anyone who visits, from the endless turns down the slopes or the massive mountain in all its 11,166 feet of glory. Being the average winter visitor, this was the case for me, and certainly still is. During the past month, however, my eyes have been opened to the reality of what Big Sky truly is: a year-round recreation epicenter. The short amount of time I’ve spent as the Intern at Big Sky Community Corporation, the local non-profit manager of parks, trails, and more, has exposed me to the plethora of activities available to dive into in this little resort town. I’ll take this opportunity to make sure everyone reading this is also aware of the immense recreational opportunity Big Sky holds.
I’ll start with the Community Park, which is about as far as it gets from the ‘average’ public park. Sure, it has all the staples of your typical park, such as a playground for the kids, picnic tables, and a multi-use field, but it has additional facilities and amenities that widen the recreational opportunity spectrum beyond what I had imagined was possible. Feel like skateboarding? There’s a world-class skate park at the east end of the park for you. How about bouldering (rock climbing without all the equipment)? Check out the boulder garden, three boulders with numerous lines and practice potential for climbers of any experience level. What about disc golf? That’s covered too, the Bighorn Ridge course offers an adventurous 18 holes through the forest, with the hole #1 tee just past the skate park. Do you just feel like taking a walk along the river or a hike through the trees? Take a stroll along the Little Willow Way and Black Diamond trails loop that starts and ends in the park. What about a good ‘ol game of ball? Sure thing, the multi-use field is there for everything from soccer to hang-gliding practice, joined by a full basketball court, tennis courts, and two softball fields. I quickly found out how popular the co-ed softball league is, as it’s hard to not notice how full the parking lots are on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays for the evening games. There’s a great open picnic building with grills, tables, and shade right next to the river, which reminds me— the bordering river lets you add fishing into your park experience, as if there wasn't already enough to do.
Aside from the mecca of recreation we call the Community Park, I’ve had almost too much fun exploring the extensive multi-use trail systems that stretch from Lone Peak High School to the east, all the way past Moonlight’s Base Area to the west, with just as much spread from north to south. I’ve clocked more miles on my bike and hiking shoes in the past month than I did my entire last year (how’s that for a job perk?). That’s not saying much when compared to some of the trail users I’ve met here, but I’ve barely put a dent in my trails checklist, which is available to all of you—trail maps can be picked up nearly anywhere in Big Sky!
Happenings such as the 4th of July Event, the Artisan Festival, weekly farmer's markets, concerts, kids camps, and numerous sports tournaments offer entertainment and recreation throughout the summer all around the area in a little more organized fashion. Event calendars are also available at many businesses in the area, as well as at https://bscomt.org/, visitbigskymt.com and bigskyresort.com.
Every day that passes reinforces my opinion that the Big Sky Community is privileged to the opportunity to never be bored or run out of things to do. Whether you’re visiting for a day, week, summer, or you’re a full time resident, do yourself a favor and go enjoy one—or all—of the unique recreational opportunities available here. Take it from the new guy, this place is one-of-a-kind and should not be taken for granted. Now get out there and take advantage of it!