Endless wilderness and long summer days make Big Sky an idyllic spot for adventurers. If it’s the peace and quiet you’re looking for, find it by foot or horseback on uncrowded trails, fly fishing on the Gallatin River, or picnicking amongst wildflowers. Looking for more of a thrill? Try mountain biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, or zip lining. Regardless of the chosen activity, you're going to want to take full advantage of the day from dawn to dusk.
- Ousel Falls Park Trail
- 1.6 miles out and back / 242’ elevation gain
- Easy access to waterfall views and hiking along ravines.
- South Fork Loop- Storybook Trail
- 1-mile loop/ 167’ elevation gain
- A quick outing in the forest on a maintained path along the Sout Fork of the Gallatin River.
- Albino Lake Trail
- 5.7 miles out and back / 457’ elevation gain
- Stops at beautiful meadows with glimpses of wildlife and finishes at the lake.
- Uplands and Hummocks
- 5-mile loop / 800’ elevation gain
- Three loops of moderate uphill by aspen groves and the Gallatin River lead to expansive views. Sunshine on Uplands and shaded forest canopy on Hummocks.
- Porcupine Creek
- 3.5 miles out and back / 390’ elevation gain
- Hills and wildflowers blooming in the vast wilderness of a scenic valley with views of Lone Mountain.
- 4.1 miles out and back with loop / 866’ elevation gain
- A gradual uphill with good pushes through aspens and conifers with breathtaking views.
- Storm Castle
- 5.2 miles out and back / 1,860’ elevation gain
- Incredible mountain views from the top.
- Beehive Basin
- 7 miles out and back / 1,625’ elevation gain
- Meadows of wildflowers and constant mountain peak views with the destination of a glacier lake in the basin.
- Lava Lake
- 6 miles out and back / 1,600’ elevation gain
- Dense forestry until the final climb to Lava Lake, a great place to eat lunch and take in the views.
The Gallatin River, which spills out of the Yellowstone National Park, is a rafter’s paradise. There are three classes of rafting found near Big Sky, Scenic (I-II), Upper Whitewater (II-III), and Lower Whitewater (III-IV) - the latter reserved for the most advanced. Minimum age restrictions depending on the water conditions. Geyser Whitewater Expeditions and Montana Whitewater provide guided tours in all three categories, from viewing the scenery to adrenaline-seeking exploration; choose either a half or full- day, or a private boat experience on the Gallatin River.
Take a half or full day trip of walking and wading with guides on the Gallatin River or opt for a float trip and discover Madison. Take your choice of outfitter, and don’t forget to purchase a fishing license for the state of Montana or Yellowstone National Park, depending on where your adventure takes you.
Mountain Bike and ATV
No matter if you’re taking off on two wheels or four, explore the town of Big Sky and the surrounding areas in a speedier way and rent a mountain bike, electric bike, or ATV.
Lift Access Biking
Explore more than 50 miles of lift-serviced mountain bike trails at Big Sky Resort. Mountain biking at the resort is not for the faint of heart, so if you aren’t experienced in the sport, hire a downhill coach.
Mountain Biking Trails
- Mud Creek
- 2.8 miles / 480’ climb
- Ride counterclockwise for a beginner-friendly uphill followed by an intermediate-level fast and flowy descent.
- 1.8 miles / 226’ climb
- Start a half mile from Town Center and expect rolling terrain with a steady climb.
- Black Diamond
- .8 mile / 152’ climb
- Contrary to the name, this is an easy climb from the Big Sky Community Park. Make it a loop and extra .8 miles by adding in Little Willow Way.
- Mountain to Meadow
- 5.8 miles / 550’ climb
- Shuttle to Big Sky Resort for a downhill ride with mellow grade single-track, banked turns, and switchbacks.
- 1.4 miles / 455’ climb
- Travel uphill through the forested canopy and aspen groves to a smooth, flowing downhill. Connect to Hummocks trail for an additional 3 miles of mellow riding.
- North Fork Loop
- 8.2 miles / 1,450’ climb
- Start with challenging climbs followed by a technical descent with steep downhill and tight switchbacks with scenic views of meadows and peaks throughout.
- First Yellow Mule
- 6.6 miles / 2,964’ climb
- Accessed from the busy trailhead of Ousel Falls, this trail is rugged mountain biking with steep grades, rutted tracks, and some places you may have to walk your bike, but it is worth it for the views.
Beyond biking, try a different adventure in the Gallatin Canyon and rent a side-by-side ATV at Canyon Adventure. The half-day rentals offer an opportunity to see Montana in a new and exciting way.
The unforgettable experience of gliding through a peaceful landscape by horse is hard to top. Luckily, there are a handful of options for horseback riding adventures in Big Sky.
Big Sky has outfitters ready to give you the experience of a lifetime however you’d like it. Reserve a one-hour or half-day ride though high mountain meadows or along the gallatin Canyon.
On the Green
Big Sky Golf Course is an 18-hole award-winning golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. The course is open from mid May to early October (opening and closing dates are snow/ weather dependent). The greens sit 6,500 feet above sea level and are perfect for those who want to soak up every inch of the scenery while playing their favorite sport. New to golf? The course is open to the public, so opt for a drop-in lesson or clinic to hone your skills before stepping out onto the breathtaking green.
Hot Air Balloons
Perhaps the best way to get a bird’s eye view of Big Sky is by soaring above it. Begin at sunrise, when the winds are calmest, and take in the painted sky over picturesque valleys and mountain peaks.
Montana Whitewater does not just take you through the river- they also have guided zipline tours that take you over the river. The Zipline Adventure Park in West Yellowstone is a jungle gym above ground. They have a range of courses that allow kids of different ages to enjoy the park. Big Sky Resort also offers both Nature and Adventure ziplining packages. The Nature Zipline tour includes a ten-minute walk up to two lines. Whereas the Adventure Zipline tour is for thrill seekers ready to embark far above the treeline, and soar 150 feet above the forest with spectacular mountain views.
Hire a rock climbing guide from Montana Alpine Guides and book a half-day guided rock climbing adventure course; learn the basic knots and efficient climbing techniques. Another option if the outdoor course is not quite for you is grabbing a Base pass at the community recreation center and trying out their indoor rock wall.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Big Sky Resort is the beating heart of the mountain community. The resort boasts 5,850 acres of skiable terrain and 4,350 feet of vertical drop spanning four different mountains. With so much terrain, you’ll feel like you have endless trails to explore.
Cross Country Skiing
Big Sky has some great public trails, where you can bring your own gear or rent it at the local outfitters. Other than that, Big Sky is home to the best Nordic ski destination in North America by Cross Country Skier Magazine. At Lone Mountain Ranch, explore more than 50 miles of groomed trails for all levels at this historic guest ranch just outside the town center.
Located in the Big Sky Town Center, Big SKy has a full-size outdoor refrigerated ice rink. The rink is used for open skating, curling, and hockey.
Depending on the conditions , snuggle under a blanket and enjoy this old-fashioned Western adventure. 320 Guest Ranch, Lone Mountain Ranch, and Cache Creek Outfitters all offer a similar experience where you can enjoy a cozy sleigh ride to dinner.
Cruise through open meadows, spectacular alpine scenery, and powder fields in Big Sky.
Fishing is possible year-round! Enjoy the solitude of ice fishing, or check out Gallatin River Guides to book a winter fly fishing trip.
At Lone Mountain Ranch, enjoy more than 18 miles of snowshoe-friendly trails. Or grab a map and explore the outdoors.
Travel through Montana’s backcountry on a dog-powered sled. Experience a half-day dogsled trip featuring hands-on instruction for those eager to drive their own team of dogs.
Winter in Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park comes alive when most of the park roads close. Explore the park from the warmth and comfort of a snow coach or travel into the park by snowmobile for the more adventurous spirits.