Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, MT has a snowshoeing trail accessible from their property. We took a shuttle from the airport to the resort so I am not sure about this but I think you have to pay for parking at the resort. Skyline Bus offers a free shuttle to and from the resort and other local destinations (e.g., Lone Mountain Ranch). There are no restrooms and water on the trail but there are restrooms at Basecamp. Cell phone service was at medium strength while at the resort and on the trail.
Moose Tracks is a 2.2 mile roundtrip snowshoeing trail with an elevation gain of 400 feet, from 7,500 to 7,900. It can be completed in about an hour and, thus, it is an ideal excursion for people busy with work and/or conference activities. The following elevation chart illustrates the trail’s consistent slope.
Stop by the Big Sky Resort’s Basecamp for information about renting snowshoes and/or going on a guided tour of the trail. The photographer for this blog post, Katherine Miller, wore hiking boots with YakTrax instead of snowshoes and had no problems because the path was packed down. However, you should do this with a companion because if you happen to get off trail without snowshoes then you can get stuck in unpacked snow up to five feet deep. The following picture shows the beginning of the trail.
The following picture may be of a moose track.
As you can see in the next picture, the slope inclines gradually and can make for a moderate workout depending on your pace. The trail was enjoyable because it was quiet and offered views of both Lone Mountain and the valley below.
It can be seen in the GPS coordinates above that the return path was different than the outbound path. The return path was off-trail and along the edge of a downhill ski slope, which was nice because it offered a different experience. However, this was done with someone very familiar with the resort and it is likely that the resort does not endorse snowshoeing on downhill ski trails.
After the snowshoeing adventure, we attended an outdoor demonstration about an avalanche rescue dog. We buried an article of human clothing in the snow and then watched the dog locate it, very cool! The dog and his master completed a rigorous, multi-year process to become certified, and it was fun to learn about their dedication to saving lives.
In sum, the Moose Tracks snowshoeing trail is an easy, peaceful adventure that can be done with winterized hiking boots and on a short break from other activities. We also recommend cross-country skiing at Lone Mountain Ranch. Thank you to Katherine Miller for the photographs and trail descriptions.