Fall is the perfect time of year for epic leaf-peeping adventures in Big Sky with cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, festive fall events and the soft golden hues of the aspens and cottonwoods highlighting the spectacular outdoor beauty that surrounds Big Sky.
1. Resort Activities
Big Sky Resort offers award-winning golf, ziplining, a bungee trampoline, disc golf, archery and scenic chair rides up Andesite Mountain for hiking, mountain biking or an off-road experience on the Lone Mountain Expedition. On a clear day you can see from the summit of Lone Peak across two National Parks and three states!
2. Fall Hikes in Big Sky
The trail lined mountains of Big Sky boast endless adventures for all ages, close to town and in the secluded backcountry. Below are a few of our favorite trails highlighted for vibrant fall foliage and gorgeous mountain views. Always be prepared for approaching wildlife and carry bear spray when adventuring in Big Sky country!
This popular fall trail is easy to access and hike! The 1.6 mile trail follows the South Fork ravine through the pines, along the river, creeks and pools to the beautiful Ousel Falls. The Yellow Mule Trail and South Fork Loop join this trail for a longer hike. There are several picnic sites along the trail for a picnic break.
Big Sky’s best hike is a scenic moderate 6.6-mile out and back hike that leads to Beehive Basin, a crystal clear lake surrounded by the incredible Spanish Peaks wilderness and overlooking Lone Peak. Pack a picnic and spend the day soaking up the fall colors, mountain views and cool alpine waters.
The Storm Castle trail is a popular 5.3 mile moderate trail in the Gallatin River Canyon. The trail begins at Storm Castle Creek and climbs up steep switchbacks through the forest and rocky slopes to the summit of Storm Castle Peak for magical views of Garnet Mountain, the Gallatin River and the upper Madison Range.
3. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding in the Montana backcountry is best in the cooler months when beautiful fall foliage surrounds you and you can find many opportunities to observe wildlife. Book a trail ride on an authentic Montana ranch or combine a day in the wilderness with an epic fly fishing adventure on the Gallatin River.
Take a day-trip to Yellowstone National Park for leaf-peeping, geyser gazing and wildlife viewing! The west entrance of Yellowstone is only a 50 mile scenic drive south of Big Sky, Montana. Interested in learning more about what Yellowstone National Park is like in the fall? Click here!
5. Stargazing from our Luxury Rentals
Fall is one of the best times to see the Milky Way, and even the Northern Lights over the Montana skies. Stay with Big Sky Vacation Rentals and choose from our selection of vacation homes and condos with luxury amenities including outdoor hot tubs, private wrap-around decks and quiet, secluded settings ideal for a night under Montana’s big skies.
Yellowstone National Park is one of the top most visited and one of the most beloved parks in the USA. Yellowstone even broke records and set new visitor highs this summer! While the summertime brings in the most visitors to the area, locals know that autumn is Yellowstone’s better and quieter season. With thinning crowds, bright sunny days, cool crisp air and a vibrant display of golden aspens, these gorgeous times make for some of the best days the park sees all year. Read on to learn about our tips for visiting the park this fall.
1. Fall Foliage Hikes in Yellowstone
Prime time for fall foliage in Yellowstone is from mid-September in the higher elevations above 7,000 feet through to mid-October in the lower valleys. The best way to see the autumn glow is on one of the many Yellowstone National Park hikes with ample leaf-peeping opportunities, wildlife viewing and panoramic vistas. The Bunsen Peak Trail south of Mammoth Hot Springs boasts 360-degree views of the Gallatin Mountains and Yellowstone River Valley. Safety first!
Local’s Tip: Be sure to carry bear spray at all times and know how to use it!
2. Autumn Fishing in Yellowstone
Fishing in Yellowstone during the autumn months offers some of the best fly fishing and the potential for the perfect catch. The brown trout spawn between late-October and mid-November, perfectly timed with Yellowstone’s fall foliage season. The Madison River near the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the Gardner River near Mammoth Hot Springs are prime spots for fall fishing in Yellowstone.
3. Check Out Yellowstone’s Geological Wonders
More than half the world’s hydrothermal features (more than 10,000!) are preserved at Yellowstone National Park from hot springs and mud pots to the world-famous geysers. “Geyser Gazers” flock to Yellowstone throughout the year to view these geological wonders. Top geysers easily accessible on a day trip to Yellowstone from Big Sky include the spectacular Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful to the south and Artists Paintpots, Norris Geyser and the terraces and thermal pools of Mammoth Hot Springs up north.
4. Wildlife Viewing
Fall is the best time to see the Iconic Yellowstone wildlife, with best viewing times at dawn and dusk. Herds of elk and humpbacked bison migrate from higher elevations to the valleys for winter grazing, bears forage for food in preparation for winter hibernation and the hawks and raptors begin their annual fall migration (best seen in the Hayden Valley). Mid-September to mid-June is prime time for wolf watching in Yellowstone and the musical bugle of the elk during rutting (breeding) season can be heard from September and often as late as mid-October (best seen at Mammoth Hot Springs). Safety first! Stay well away from wildlife as the park suggests 100 years from bears and wolves, 25 yards from all other animals.
5. Don’t Forget: Check the Weather & Road Closures
The autumn weather in Yellowstone can be highly unpredictable and snow can begin to accumulate as early as October in the higher elevations! Be prepared to experience a wide range of temperatures from cool lows of 20 F to highs in the 60’s.
Many of Yellowstone’s restaurants, services and lodging facilities close by mid-October, however the roads remain open until November 8th for guided and self-drive tours of Yellowstone. Always check for seasonal road closures when planning an autumn trip to Yellowstone.
A summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without a nice view and a firepit to cozy up around after a long day of adventuring. Whether you are looking for a rustic Montana cabin or like a more modern feel to your home, we have you covered. Here are the homes with our favorite outdoor firepits!
Riding high atop a ridgeline, this 5 bedroom Montana cabin has perhaps the best view in all of Big Sky, catching the sun’s first rays over the Gallatin Range and Yellowstone mountains from the back porch to sunsets over Lone Peak from the front porch.
Enjoy breathtaking Big Sky views and year-round outdoor living from the comfort of this cozy 4 bedroom log cabin tucked in the woods. An ideal Big Sky home base for guests seeking comfort and ample space for the whole crew, as well as your four-legged friends!
Escape the Crowds and Enjoy Yellowstone National Park as it Opens in the Spring
Spring is one of the most dynamic times of the year in the Yellowstone National Park. The landscape changes almost daily as the hillsides start turning green and the days grow longer. The rivers run higher and the waterfalls become more prominent from the snow melt while snow still lingers in higher elevations. As the temperatures increases, wildlife including grizzly and black bears will start coming out of hibernation and become more active in the meadows.
While most visitors don’t come to Yellowstone National Park until the months of July and August, there is a certain beauty to the park in the spring time making it worth a visit before the crowded summer months. Please check the National Park Service website for current weather and road conditions.
Dress Warm! While the weather is generally milder than in March, April still brings occasional snow storms with temperatures dropping below freezing on some days.
Rise Early! Before sunrise if possible as Yellowstone in the spring has some of the most exciting wildlife watching. Rising early is the best time to observe animals in their natural habitat.
Be Prepared! If you plan to hike make sure to bring bear spray, water, sunscreen and rain gear as Yellowstone is a mountain wilderness and being prepared will ensure you have an enjoyable trip.
Pack Your Lunch! Most restaurants and services in the park will still be closed for the season so make sure you bring enough food for an entire day’s explorations.
Biking in Yellowstone National Park
Every spring, biking, including e-bikes are allowed on Yellowstone National Park roads while they are still closed to motorized, public travel. Spring bicycling season usually starts by early April with no set date as designated routes are opened once they are cleared from snow. The closest route to Big Sky that is open to biking is from the West Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs.
This is a wonderful way to explore the vastness and wildlife of the park in all tranquility while getting some exercising in as well!
Yellowstone Wildlife in the Spring
Spring is the best season to view wildlife in Yellowstone. Baby animals start appearing all over the park, including grizzly and black bear cubs starting mid March, bison calves in April and elk calves later on from May to June. While bears and bison are incredibly exciting to observe, please be sure to respect wildlife, follow all park safety guidelines and keep your distance for your safety and theirs.
Bison calves tend to be born from late March through May and have a fuzzy, orange-reddish fur, earning them the nickname “red dogs”. The bison calves are able to keep up with their mothers just a couple hours after they are born and they are protected from danger by the rest of the herd surrounding them at all times. You will be able to see the herds with the red dogs in the meadows, make sure to watch from a distance as bison can get aggressive if too close.
The Finest Big Sky Homes
After each full day of exploring Yellowstone National Park, hiking or biking around Big Sky, retreat to your luxurious, comfortable vacation home for an evening to remember. We proudly boast one of Big Sky’s largest selections of vacation rentals, so you’re bound to find one that perfectly suits your group’s size, style, and budget. Luxuries include private hot tubs, lavish outdoor patios and incredible mountain views. Please give us a call today at +1-888-915-2787 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire, or simply browse through our available properties.
Big Sky is known for its world class skiing and snowboarding, with some of the best snow in the country. But what if you’re not here to ski but still want to enjoy the snow and have some winter fun?
Not to worry! The fun in Big Sky doesn’t start at the top of the mountain and end at the base area. Montana provides a variety of activities for all ages and there is always something new and somewhere new to explore. For guests who’ve never stepped foot on skis, family members who want additional options, or skiers and riders who just want to take a day to enjoy something new, Big Sky has something for everyone.
Here are some of our top choices for fun activities in Big Sky when you’re not hitting the slopes….
Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful views of Montana. If you get lucky, you might even see some wildlife! Big Sky is tucked in the middle of the Madison Range and with the Gallatin Range and Yellowstone National Park close by, the opportunities to explore are endless. Just grab you pair of snowshoes or rent one at Grizzly Outfitters and go explore the wintery scenery.
Explore the beautiful scenery on over 85 kilometers and 2,200 vertical feet of groomed cross country ski trails right out of Big Sky. Lone Mountain Ranch was voted #1 Nordic ski destination in North America in Cross Country Skier magazine and certified instructors available, they invite skiers of all abilities to venture out on the trails. If you are looking for a more backcountry feel, Big Sky has a large trail network that is suitable for cross country skiing as well, with rentals available through Grizzly Outfitters.
Conquer the snow in style! Take a snowmobile tour for a couple hours or a full day and enjoy slicing your way through the snowy mountains while taking in the beauty of Montana’s finest. With options around Big Sky and West Yellowstone, expert guides and top-notch equipment, snowmobile companies ensure a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your whole group.
The free ice skating rink in the heart of the Big Sky Town Center is opening back up on December 1st for the winter, come enjoy an afternoon of the ice with your family and friends! Ice skate rentals are available at Grizzly Outfitters and East Slope Outdoors in Town Center.
Big Sky offers some of the best dog sledding in Montana! This is truly a unique way to experience the wintry beauty of Big Sky and learn more about the art of dog sledding. Sit back and get ready for an exhilarating adventure that the entire family will enjoy. If you would like to get more involved and learn to mush, Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures offers half day experiences where you get to drive your own sled and team of dogs.
Offered from December to March, sleigh ride dinners at Lone Mountain Sports provides a relaxing and magical evening activity for the entire family. Guests load up in a sleigh and are taken on an enjoyable moonlight ride through the snowy landscape of Big Sky to the North Fork cabin for a family-style prime rib dinner, one of the most delicious meals you’ll ever have!
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only ways to fly down the hillsides around Big Sky. Grab a sled at Grizzly Outfitters or Ace Hardware, and enjoy some fast runs down on sleds behind Town Center with the entire family!
8. Winter Tours in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone receives millions of visitors every year, but only a small percentage visit the park in the winter. Without the traffic and the crows, Yellowstone National Park is a magical winter wonderland. Yellowstone snow coach tours are available to several park destinations including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. If you are lucky you might see a herd of bison, elk and even some wolves!
Are you looking to get to your home without having to go through the hassle of picking up groceries? Have Alisa deliver them straight to you! Place your online order with any grocery store in Bozeman or Big Sky that offers curbside pickup and Alisa will pick it up and bring it to your home before you arrive. Bozeman Grocery Stores: Safeway, Smith’s and Albertson’s. Big Sky Grocery Stores: Roxy’s and Hungry Moose.
Family Meal By Phil
Whether ordering tailor-made dinners ready to eat, pantry staples to have on hand, or if you require Chef Phil on site for large parties, intimate dinners or individual cooking classes in your rental property, we provide custom menus using local & seasonal ingredients. With a well-trained eye for the freshest in-season produce, & utilizing his long-standing relationships with farmers, growers, cheesemongers, fishermen, & large & small purveyors of the finest ingredients, Phil combines his Michelin star hospitality and dining experience with the comfort of dining in your own home, into each of his dishes.
Forage & Fire provides elevated Montana cuisine with fresh local ingredients. Hire one of our chefs for private in-home services, maybe enjoy a delicious meal with the family, or make your special day remarkable with our upscale dining menu. Contact us to discuss menu selections and availability.
The Dinner Biz personal chef service offers premium service at an affordable price. Our offered services range from in-home dinner parties and brunches, to grocery delivery and leave behind meals ready for you at your convenience. The Dinner Biz is prepared to meet and exceed your expectations, on your schedule, and at your convenience.
A trusted reputation throughout Montana, J. Lake Chef brings a simple but sophisticated touch to any event from small intimate gatherings in your home to larger events such as weddings, social and corporate events.
Chef’s Table serves gourmet meals in your home, prepared with fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Bringing a fine-dining experience to your home for all occasions: dinner parties, luncheons, corporate gatherings, showers, and family meals.
Whether it’s a formal dinner, a luncheon or child’s birthday party, Montana Chef is happy to create a customized menu for you and are available on an as-needed basis. The Montana Chef`s culinary background provides a broad array of food styles and cuisines to pull from, handling everything from Superbowl parties to family get-together and holiday gatherings.
Sweet Buns Catering is committed to providing the best quality of food for any occasion . Our goal is provide delicious, natural options. That’s why we prepare all of our meals with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Creating a personalized menu for any night of the week. Ask about our GLUTEN FREE, VEGETARIAN, and VEGAN options!
Enjoy an experience created just for you by two chefs from Napa Valley. With over 20 years of combined professional experience in Michelin-level kitchens, we can design a meal for any occasion. Our food philosophy is to keep things simple, with great flavors, proper cooking techniques and using the best, locally-sourced ingredients through family owned purveyors.
Cinnamon and Sage Catering and Events provides world-class catering for weddings, private and corporate events, and parties in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston, Three Forks and Helena We create customized menus with fresh vision befitting the expansiveness of Big Sky Country.
Food For Thought specializes in exquisitely presented, modern farm to table seasonal menus, utilizing the freshest, organic and local ingredients available. Our professionally trained culinary and hospitality teams provide unforgettable food experiences for occasions of all kinds, including freshly prepared foods and meal packages. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been voted Bozeman’s choice caterer for the last six years in a row!
Totally Tasty Offers Totally Awesome Sliders that will fill you up and give you the energy you need to keep your Montana lifestyle going strong! We also cook up some delicious Grilled Cheeses, Kurobuta Bratwursts, Catfish Hoagies, and tasty vegetarian sliders! We use mostly local, organic, and non-gmo ingredients and make everything from scratch. Totally Tasty not only dishes out awesome sliders, brats, and grilled cheeses, we also offer custom catering for any size event!
Seasonal Montana is a celebration of food and life in Southwest Montana. We are committed to providing a high-end, local, farm-to-table experience every time. We provide 100% customizable in-person and drop-off catering, and we love working with clients to create Montana magic for every occasion.
The Country Market is a full-service grocery store, offering the widest selection of groceries, deli items, produce, beer and wine. Delivery service and gift baskets available, what could be better than having your favorite snacks await your arrival!
Chef Austin Brown is delighted to offer his clients his experience and belief in using fresh and locally sourced ingredients to create unforgettable, and from scratch, experiences. Proudly offering all services from catered events, private dinners, rustic outdoor dining, and group cooking lessons to pre-prepared meals to maximize your time outdoors.