Surrounded by more than 5,800 acres of mountainous terrain, countless lakes, and beautiful national forests, Big Sky offers unlimited access to outdoor pursuits – all year round!
Nestled in the Rocky Mountains in southern Montana, Big Sky is an adventurer’s paradise. Situated close to the college town of Bozeman and the Yellowstone National Park, it’s best known for its spectacular scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. In this blog post, we take a look at just some of the exciting things you can do during your next visit!
Things to do in Big Sky, Montana
Skiing at Big Sky Resort
The ski season in Big Sky runs from late November through April. The region is well known for its consistent snowfall every winter, making it one of the most popular skiing destinations in the United States.
With 3600 acres and 4350 vertical feet of skiable terrain, the Big Sky Ski Resort is one of the largest in North America. Spanning across 4 mountains, the resort has 38 lifts and more than 300 runs. Due to the vast space, this popular destination is renowned for crowd-less slopes and incredibly quiet pistes.
The lack of queues here is also down to the resort’s impressive ski lifts. Recently upgraded using brand new technology, the lifts here are amongst some of the most advanced in the world, enhancing guest comfort, reliability, and safety.
Despite its big mountain reputation, with such a huge amount of varied terrain, Big Sky is suitable for all ability levels. The Moonlight Basin area of the resort is green runs only, making it perfect for beginners – the lack of crowds here also means you will have plenty of room to practice! If you need to brush up on your skills, the resort also offers a varied range of private lessons, guided experiences, and group sessions – no matter what level (or age!) you are.
For more advanced skiers, there are plenty of off-piste options, the most popular being Lone Peak Mountain. Accessed by the Lone Peak Tram, the summit here offers incredible 360-degree views of 3 states, 2 national parks, and countless mountain ranges. Even if you don’t ski down, it is worth taking the tram up just for the view!
Hiking in Big Sky, Montana
Not surprisingly, Big Sky is home to some amazing hiking trails. Surrounded by crisp fresh air, snow-capped peaks, and breathtaking views, this is the best way to experience the real beauty of the mountains.
As Big Sky is surrounded by several different mountain ranges, there are hundreds of interesting hiking trails to follow. Taking you between huge meadows and ancient forests, to alpine lakes and deep canyons, each trail features something completely unique. With thousands of miles to explore, you don’t even have to reach a summit to enjoy the epic scenery – every single trail delivers jaw-dropping views!
As the beautifully rugged landscape remains undisturbed by humans, wildlife is also in abundance in the area. Elk, bears, wolves, and bison are all common to the mountains – bear spray is essential for every explorer!
The hiking trails are open all year, and every season offers a completely different experience. Whether you prefer the beautiful shades of fall or the colorful wildflowers of spring, there is always something new to see.
Fishing in Big Sky
World-renowned as a first-class fishing destination, anglers travel from across the globe to experience the legendary fly fishing in Big Sky. Hidden amidst the mountains, the high alpine lakes and streams provide the ideal conditions for blue-ribbon trout.
There are hundreds of miles of trout water running through Big Sky’s rocky terrain, including the well-known Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone rivers. The surrounding solitude and scenery of the mountains help to create the perfect setting for a relaxing fishing trip.
In terms of both weather and river conditions, spring and summer are the most consistent seasons for fly fishing, however as the rivers remain productive throughout the winter months, you can actually fish all year round – just make sure you wrap up warm!
If you need supplies, there are plenty of fishing shops in the area, where you will also be able to find out about licenses and water access points from the local experts. As well as presenting the ideal environment for fly fishing, Big Sky is also home to some of the world’s top fishing guides!
For those new to the sport, these licensed guides will be on hand to show you everything you need to know. Available to hire, the guides will teach you how to tie knots, improve your casting, and even take you out on the water.
Big Sky mountain biking
After being developed over the last few years, the mountain biking scene in Big Sky is thriving. Now recognized as a world-class biking destination, the Big Sky Resort offers more than 50 miles of biking trails, with new ones being added every year.
The varied terrain of the Big Sky mountains provides the quintessential conditions for some pretty thrilling rides. Although the region is known for its steep downhill trails, the resort has also recently added some amazing new beginner routes as well. So whether you prefer a relaxed cross country cycle or a technical trail full of jumps, there is something to suit every ability level!
If you don’t have your own equipment, there are plenty of outfitters in Big Sky where you can rent a bike, purchase lift tickets and pick up a map. If you’re new to mountain biking, you can also book an elite guide who will help you hone your skills before you head out. These certified professionals will be able to teach you everything you need to know about tactics, techniques, and terrains!
The mountain biking season in Big Sky runs from June to September, but as the weather can often be unpredictable, you should always check the bike trails report before you head out.
Horseback riding in the Montana mountains
Horses are a big part of life in Montana, so if you’re planning a visit, horseback riding is a must-do activity! A totally unique and unforgettable experience, riding in Big Sky is one of the best ways to explore and enjoy the stunning surroundings.
There are a number of different trails mapped out for horseback riding, some local and some venturing deep into the wilderness. Shorter rides will take you to the foothills of the Gallatin mountain range – longer routes will take you up into the mountains themselves!
There are a number of ranches in Big Sky, all offering a range of different guided tours. All levels of ability are welcome so whether you are a skilled rider or a complete first-timer, the knowledgeable ranch wranglers will be on hand to help you find the right option – whether it’s a 1-hour ride or an overnight adventure!
As it is not weather dependent, horseback riding in Big Sky is available all year round – the only thing that changes with the seasons is the beautiful scenery!
Whitewater rafting in Big Sky
The vast waterway system in Big Sky is not just known for its great fishing opportunities. The melting snow and fast currents also create ideal conditions for whitewater rafting. As the Gallatin River flows out of Yellowstone National Park, it collects the run-off from both the Madison and Gallatin mountain ranges – creating a whitewater paradise!
The rafting season runs from May to September. The water level is particularly high at the start of the year, becoming calmer as summer approaches. Throughout the season, each stretch of the river will offer different conditions for rafting – no excursion will ever be the same!
If you’re in need of equipment, there are a number of top-rated rafting companies in Big Sky, who will provide you with all of the necessary clothing and safety gear you need to get started.
Depending on your skill level, rafting options range from fun scenic floats to much more choppy challenges. No previous experience is necessary, as each river tour will be accompanied by a seasoned professional who will be on hand to help guide you in the right direction!
Big Sky ziplining
Out of all the activities on offer in Big Sky, ziplining has to be one of the most adrenaline-fuelled! As well as getting your heart racing, this adventurous pastime will give you a fantastic birds-eye view of the mountains.
Open all-year-round, the Big Sky Resort is home to the two longest zipline courses in the Yellowstone region; the Nature Tour and the Adventure Tour. Starting with a short hike up Lone Mountain, the picturesque Nature Tour features 4 ziplines, each ranging between 350-500 feet in length and reaching 30-60 feet in the air.
For those with a real need for speed, the Adventure Tour is one of the fastest zipline courses in America. This exhilarating journey begins with a nail-biting chairlift ride up the slopes. Once at the top, you will embark on a 50mph adventure over the treetops below. Not for the faint of heart, the ziplines in this course travel up to 1500ft in length and up to 150ft in the air!
If you’re feeling nervous, don’t worry! All zipline tours in Big Sky are organized and attended by a trained professional guide, who will make sure you are secure at all times. To further ensure your safety, all zipline courses also have age, height, and weight requirements, so be sure to check these out before you arrive.
Golfing in Big Sky
One of the most popular activities in Big Sky, the majestic Montana scenery creates the perfect backdrop for a relaxing round of golf.
There are 4 golf courses in the area, but unfortunately, 3 of them are for members only. For those visiting without a membership, the Big Sky Resort Golf Club is open to the general public.
Typically open between May and October, this award-winning course was designed by Arnold Palmer, 6500 feet above sea level. With endless greens, spectacular views, and nothing but the sounds of nature, this is the ideal place to spend a sunny day in Big Sky.
To play a round, you just need to book your tee-time either online or by phone. In addition to the course, the resort also has a public driving range, a practice area, and a pro shop stocking rentals, apparel, and accessories. For those just starting out in the sport, you can even book a session with a golf pro!
Yellowstone National Park tours
Yellowstone National Park is situated just an hour’s drive away from Big Sky. With countless waterfalls, soaring mountains, and seemingly endless forests, this enormous park is an absolute must-visit.
Aside from its natural beauty, Yellowstone also offers a wide range of seasonal activities, including fishing, horseback riding, biking, and camping.
As the park is so huge, it is a good idea to book a guided tour. Led by an expert local guide, these walking tours operate throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. During winter, there are snow coach and snowmobile tours available.
There are a number of tour operators based in Big Sky, all offering different trips and experiences. Whether you are looking to track wildlife or chase waterfalls, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Although you can visit Yellowstone independently, booking a trip with a professional will allow you to explore the park like never before. As well as teaching you about the history of Yellowstone, these expert guides know how to avoid the crowds, spot the wildlife and recommend the best hikes – as well as the best spots for lunch!
Where to stay in Big Sky
Top Villas offer a range of beautiful accommodation in Big Sky. Although there are hotels in the area, one of the best ways to experience a real taste of mountain life is to book private lodgings.
Scattered between the slopes and the meadows, all of our homes are conveniently situated in prime locations. Handpicked for both style and comfort, you could easily spend your entire vacation inside, however, if you do want to venture out, you’ll be within easy reach of all the local amenities!
You can take a look at our full range of vacation rentals in Big Sky here.
Book your stay
When you book with us, not only will you get beautiful accommodation at great prices, you’ll also benefit from amazing round-the-clock customer service. Whether you are looking for a mansion in the mountains or a cozy cabin for two, our expert team will be on hand to help you find the right home.
With Top Villas, booking a stay couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is follow our simple online booking process and you can secure your dream vacation home instantly without any phone calls or fuss. Our website makes it easy to check availability, get a quote, and book instantly online. Alternatively, you can submit an inquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.
To see all of our vacation rentals in Big Sky, just click here.