Whether you have been a part of this community for a long time or you’re new to the area, you may not know all of the wonderful things that the valley offers in the winter time. The outdoor opportunities here are limitless, but here are 5 simple ways to enjoy Gallatin Valley:
We all know about the two ski resorts in the area: Bridger Bowl and Big Sky, but not many people know that the Gallatin Valley is a great little spot for cross country skiing, too. There are two favorite spots in the area, Highland and Lindley Park, by the hospital, and Hyalite Canyon. Both are groomed trails and a blast for someone new or an experienced skier.
Believe it or not, there are a few favorite ice skating places around Bozeman. There are two indoor skating rinks, located at Gallatin County Fairgrounds, with public hours, but there are also three outdoor skating rinks during the winter months. The Park Division builds ice rinks at Beall Park, Southside Park, & Bogert Park. There is no set open or close date because rink construction is dependent on the weather. Traditionally they open around Christmas and are maintained through the first week of March.
Who doesn’t love sledding? A few hot spots in the area are Peets Hill, Gallatin Regional Park, and Snowfill Dog Park.
Peets Hill — The best-known sledding spot in the Bozeman. This is also the place nicknamed “Hospital Hill” because with enough speed, the berm at the bottom designed to catch wayward sledders, could also serve as a ramp. Gallatin Regional Park– This newer sledding location is a local favorite. Choose your side, the hill is tall and slippery to climb, but when you make it to the top you won’t be disappointed. Snowfill– an off-leash dog area, has a long runout at the end, making it safer sledding, although the steeper slope to the right does have a ditch at the bottom.
Snowshoeing trails range from a relaxing stroll around Bridger Creek Golf Course to a full day adventure up to Lava Lake. Bozeman is surrounded by traditional hiking trails, most of which during the winter are accessible for snowshoeing. Also, if you’re an winter-adventure enthusiast, you might consider combining snowshoeing and backcountry/cross country skiing for the best Bozeman has to offer.
- Shed Hunting
Did you know that adult-male deer naturally shed their antlers each year? After the rut, deer’s antlers fall off and they grow back a new set in the beginning of spring. This means that late winter is a great time to get out and look for antler shed. (November is normally hunting season, so if you’re in the woods this winter, wear orange!)
You don’t need a hunting license or anything other than permission from the landowner to “shed hunt”. So take advantage of all of Montana’s Public Lands, and get out there searching for your next shed trophy. Sheds make beautiful house decor like chandeliers, lamps, mantle decorations, and so much more.
If any of these activities caught your eye and you’re looking for places to rent winter gear, check out Roundhouse Sports, Chalet Sports, and Big Boys Toys.