Even though this area often sees less snowfall than the other side of the valley (we’re looking at you, Bridgers!), it’s still Montana winter fun over here in Three Forks. When the snow flies hard in the Headwaters, you can’t beat a snowshoe stroll in this scenic region. Follow your feet wherever they take you, but it doesn’t hurt to guide them in these top snowshoeing directions.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
This local Three Forks favorite offers a lovely way to stretch your legs regardless of the season, but deep snow makes snowshoeing to the top of Fort Rock a fun way to get into the history of the region. A famous site in the history of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Missouri Headwaters makes a simple stroll into a cultural and historical experience.
Madison Buffalo Jump
Under a blanketing of snow, the cliffs of Madison Buffalo Jump makes an even starker contrast against the surrounding rolling hills. On a sunny day, this is the spot to get some of that much-missed midwinter vitamin D, with your sunbathing only obstructed by how many layers you need to wear. The clearer the air quality, the better your view will be of the mountains on all sides of the Gallatin Valley.
Copper City Trails
While the Copper City Trails are big with mountain bikers in the warmer months, they’re also open to foot traffic. And when most folks have packed their bikes away for the season (except for fat tires, of course), you can take advantage of sweeping views of the Headwaters region in relative solitude when you set out to snowshoe. Clocking in at less than 10 miles from the Sacajawea to the trailhead, it’s an easy choice.
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
When the snow is deep, the 10 miles of hiking trails at Lewis & Clark Caverns are utterly transformed. While the cave is closed through most of the winter, the trails are open to hikers, with snowshoeing being the best mode of transport when there’s enough snow on the ground. You can get views of Jefferson Canyon and the Jefferson River as you head up some of the steeper trails. After your snowshoe, make a pit stop down at the river to spot otters frolicking on the ice.
Tobacco Root Mountains
Finishing off a snowshoe trek with a cold beer at Montana’s favorite bar? Yes, please. Pony Bar in tiny Pony, Montana, is well worth a trip in its own right. But when you combine that with a jaunt up into the scenic Tobacco Root Mountains on snowshoe, it gets even better. A branching trail system takes off when you head into the mountains as you pass through town. Take your pick of trails, or ask at the bar for favorite local recs. Just be sure you’re ready for real winter backcountry adventure before you go! Some of these trailheads are off of unpaved roads that may be a challenge for small vehicles in the snow. And keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with heading straight for the après-snowshoe drink, minus the snowshoe.
If you enjoyed this blog, take a look at some of our other related articles:
- How To Plan For An Unforgettable Winter Vacation To The Headwaters
- Soak It All Up At Norris Hot Springs
- Yellowstone National Park In The Winter
- Where To Go Skiing Around Three Forks