North America Vacation
Montana | Yellowstone & Big Sky Winter Vacation | Family Vacation
Experience a winter wonderland in the mountains and the world’s first national park!
6 Days / 5 Nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Montana Winter Vacation Through Yellowstone & Big Sky – 6 Days / 5 Nights
There’s something magical about being surrounded by shimmering snow in the crisp winter air while viewing majestic ice-capped mountains. On this Montana winter vacation you’ll not only have the chance to feel like you’re in a real-life snowglobe, but also get to snowshoe, ski, and travel by dogsled. Then, a horse-drawn sleigh for a true winter adventure through Montana’s famous Big Sky and Wyoming’s famed Yellowstone National Park. For winter photography and sports fanatics, this vacation package concentrated around the Montana-Wyoming border offers it all and more.
Guided Montana Winter Tour With Private Guide
Follow your guides as they give you an insider’s look at wintertime in the countryside and beyond. Enter into Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, through the original entrance just past the enchanting Paradise Valley in Montana. Watch the steam rise from Mammoth Hot Springs’ travertine terraces. Keep your eyes peeled for Yellowstone’s wildlife, their breath billowing in the winter air as they wander the terrain. Snowshoe atop the deep snow in Lamar Valley before strapping on cross country skis, gliding your way to dazzling scenes in multiple locations. Get whisked away on a backcountry dog sled tour and a relaxing horse-drawn sleigh ride. When you’re not out traversing the winter-clad wilderness, relax and warm up at your cozy lodging located in Gardiner as well as a ski lodge resort in Big Sky.
Montana Winter Vacation Highlights
- Explore Big Sky Resort, a winter sports guru’s fantasy land, on snowshoes for outstanding wintery mountain landscapes
- Journey along Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs where steam rises in the chilly air from the orange, yellow, and white travertine terraces
- Leave behind yeti-sized footprints in the snow as you trek across Lamar Valley on snowshoes
- Glide along the Tower Fall trail on cross country skis beneath basalt lava cliffs along the glistening Yellowstone River
- Have fun with a pack of sled dogs as you venture on their tour through a snowy backcountry route
- Sit back on a horse-drawn sleigh ride leading you to a cozy cabin lit by oil lanterns
- Absorb illuminating facts and view pieces of history at the Museum of the Rockies, recognized as one of the world’s finest research and history museums
* Big Sky Ski Resort is home to the “Biggest Skiing in America” at 5,850+ skiable acres. You might consider extending your trip to include a day or two of skiing on your own. Please talk to your Adventure Consultant for details.
Explore More Family Adventure Vacations
A few more reasons why you’ve gotta do a Montana Winter Vacation
Intimate Yellowstone National Park experience with fewer crowds and off-the-beaten-path winter adventures
Adventure-filled time around Big Sky, a not-to-be-missed winter sports hub
Authentic countryside activities on snowy backcountry trails with mountainous backgrounds
Bozeman, Montana BZN
Bozeman, Montana BZN
Bozeman / Mammoth Hot Springs / Gardiner
Bozeman Arrival: Welcome to Montana! Your guides will pick you up in the morning from your pre-trip hotel.
Bozeman, Montana: Bozeman has a bustling downtown, trendy shops and restaurants, and is home to the Montana State University Bobcats. Located in southwest Montana, the city is surrounded by mountain ranges and ranches on the outskirts of the residential areas. This growing city is perhaps known best of all for its world-renowned fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and close proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
Museum of the Rockies: Visit the Museum of the Rockies, recognized as one of the world’s finest research and history museums. Here you’ll find nuggets of golden information about the rugged Rocky Mountains and centuries of history from all over the world in unique exhibits. For the dinosaur lovers out there, be sure to check out the museum’s huge collection of fossils.
Transfer Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Yellowstone National Park: Welcome to Yellowstone, our world’s first national park! This famous national park is home to over 60% of the world’s geysers, which periodically erupt in towering explosions of boiling water and steam. And while these astounding phenomena and their neighboring technicolor hot springs and bubbling mud pots draw in the crowds, the surrounding canyons, mountains, forests, and wildlife are no less impressive.
Mammoth Hot Springs: The northern part of Yellowstone is home to Mammoth Hot Springs, a must-see feature of the park due to its difference from other thermal areas in Yellowstone. The orange, yellow, brown, and white travertine terraces of Mammoth have been described as looking at a cave turned inside out. We’ll spend time hiking in and around this area, checking out “geology in hyperdrive” up close.
Gardiner, Montana: Gardiner is the town located at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps the most famous feature of this town is Roosevelt Arch, a towering construction of basalt dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and inscribed with a quote which reads: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”. The nearby Yellowstone National Park sign is also a great place to take family photos!
About the Ridgeline at Yellowstone
The Ridgeline Hotel is located in Gardiner, Montana just outside the north entrance of the Park on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Within walking distance to just about any restaurant in Gardiner, this is the perfect accommodation to spend exploring small town Montana. After a day on the trails, enjoy a comfortable bed and the whirlpool tubs or sauna.
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Lamar Valley Winter Wildlife Drive: Depart at sunrise to enter into Yellowstone’s northeast corner on the lookout for wildlife standing out against a snowy backdrop. We make our way to Yellowstone’s famed Lamar Valley, “The Serengeti of the West”, where we keep an eye out for wolves, bison, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.
Lamar Valley Snowshoe: Strap on snowshoes for a quiet walk through lodgepole pine forests as we leave behind yeti-sized footprints in the deep snow. As you trek through Lamar Valley, marvel over the glittering snow and watch for wildlife moving quietly across the wintry landscape.
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Tower Fall / Gardiner
Transfer Time: 1 hour
Tower Fall Cross Country Ski: Drive into Yellowstone to the Tower Fall trailhead where we’ll click on our cross-country skis for a quick lesson and then whisk off for a scenic five-mile-round-trip ski to Tower Fall. Along the way, you’ll glide under basalt lava cliffs with views of the Yellowstone River running through Black Canyon. Upon arrival to Tower Fall, we’ll view the 132-foot drop and the unusual rock columns before settling in for a wintry picnic lunch. The ski back to the trailhead is mostly downhill and a quick trip to our ending point.
Transfer Time: 1 hour
Gardiner / Big Sky
Transfer Time: 3 hours
Big Sky, Montana: Just an hour from Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky is a beautiful mountain community nestled high in the Gallatin National Forest. Home to Big Sky Ski Resort and the iconic Lone Mountain, Big Sky offers plenty for summer or winter time travelers in the way of recreational opportunities in the great outdoors. If there ever was a place that truly lived up to its name, it’s Big Sky, Montana.
Big Sky Snowshoe: Head out on a snowshoe excursion to explore the local area around Big Sky. As we move in and out of the snow-covered pine trees, keep an eye out for Lone Peak on the horizon. The distance of this snowshoe excursion can be adjusted depending on how gung-ho the group is feeling and the weather.
Night On Your Own: Enjoy a night on your own this evening for dinner. Your guides will give you restaurant options to choose from in the area and will provide ideas on things to do on your own time. Alternatively, feel free to just relax tonight after a wonderful activity-filled day!
About 320 Guest Ranch
In the west, life has certainly gotten easier than it was in the early days, even at a Montana guest ranch. But some of the things that mattered most back then are still important today; like delicious, hearty meals, and The 320’s friendly, laid-back attitude. Experience a 110-year-old-homestead, reshaped into a Montana guest ranch. Relive the early western atmosphere and down-home hospitality, all on one big beautiful, historic property. The 320 Ranch offers exceptional cowboy comfort just south of Big Sky Ski Resort, where the pristine Gallatin River winds through sage and towering pines, and mountains rise up against crystal blue skies.
Moonlight Basin Dog Sled: Embark on a dog sled tour through the wintry backcountry, with views of majestic snow-covered mountains and frost-laden pines as your backdrop. Your experienced guides will give you hands-on instructions and tips for you to experience firsthand the thrill of driving a sled dog team. No other method of travel over snow can compare with dog sledding. These athletic huskies love to run and their high spirits and big hearts will quickly win you over.
Lone Mountain Ranch Cross Country Ski: Strap on cross-country skis for a glide along the ski trails of the Meadow Village near Lone Mountain Ranch. Become enamored with the snowglobe-like landscape as you experience more of wintery Montana bliss. With an abundance of intersecting trails, there are plenty of route options for the beginner or expert skier.
Big Sky / Bozeman
Ousel Falls Snowshoe: Snowshoe or hike (snow dependent) about 1.6 miles roundtrip on a beautiful snow-dusted trail to Ousel Falls. The ice-encrusted edges of the Southfork of the Westfork of the Gallatin River accompany you on your trek. Eventually, you’ll happen upon Ousel Falls, frozen in its journey over a rock ledge. Keep an eye out for ice climbers on the falls and surrounding rock walls!
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Bozeman Departure: Your guides will shuttle you back to Bozeman to get ready for your departure home.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts at 8:30 or 8:45 am, depending on your hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Bozeman airport (12:00 pm) or your Bozeman hotel (12:30 pm). Please make flights for 1:30 PM or later.
Snowshoeing: 1.5 miles to 3 miles, easy to moderate terrain, no experience necessary.
Cross-Country Skiing: 3 to 5 miles, easy to moderate terrain, no experience necessary.
Dogsledding: Professional mushers will provide instruction and a safety talk as well as accompany guests throughout the morning tour.
Discovery: To visit Yellowstone in the months of November to March is to uncover a whole different side to our world’s first national park…without the crowds! Mid-winter, Yellowstone morphs into a stunning wonderland, complete with snow-laden pines, frozen waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. In the winter, the northern one-third of the park, especially Lamar Valley, is home to wolves, bison, elk, coyotes, and mule deer, who are driven from the deep snow of the forests and upper elevations to forage and hunt for food in the open meadows near the road, creating optimal wildlife viewing opportunities for visitors. Also featured on this trip is Big Sky, Montana, home to the “Biggest Skiing in America.” While you won’t downhill ski on this adventure, you’ll have a chance to leave the ski throngs behind as you cross-country ski, snowshoe or dogsled quiet backcountry trails with your knowledgeable, local guide team. Come to Montana mid-winter to discover a quiet side that most visitors never get to experience!
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, Austin Adventures guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions – except one dinner on your own – are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, except one dinner on own your own, refreshments and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- One dinner on your own.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
As President at Austin Adventures, Kasey Austin can tell you the logistical ins and outs of every single trip. More than that, though, Kasey has lived and breathed most of the company’s featured destinations and will eagerly share her contagious passion for the transformational power of active travel. Kasey grew up in the adventure travel business; she knows the positive, lifelong impact of family travel, a quality that earned her the distinction of being named top family travel guide by Outside Magazine in 2014.