Walking in a winter wonderland…

Winter came down like a hammer in northwest Montana. After an idyllic November with warm fall days, these last two weeks have been brutal. Multiple days with sub-zero temperatures have left even the most die-hard winter enthusiasts wondering if it’s too cold to ski. Whitefish Mountain Resort even closed the summit for two days in a row because of -40 degree wind chills!  The good news is that our favorite local trail has options for short winter outings, even when the temperatures are less than ideal.

Lion Mountain offers packed trails all the way to the Skyles Overlook (3 miles roundtrip). Skyles Connection has a really nice 1.5 mile lollipop-loop that stays packed most of the winter, the three-mile South Beaver Loop is a great secluded hike with some elevation gain, and the family loop at Swift creek meanders 1.3 miles through mature forest.

Lion Mountain, Skyles, Beaver Lakes, and Swift Creek parking lots are plowed throughout winter to maintain access on the Whitefish Trail.  Luckily, enough trail enthusiasts recreate at these locations that the trails rarely require snowshoes, even after the biggest storms. Micro-spikes are recommended but not required.  The latest storms have provided ample traction. Whether taking the dog for a walk, keeping your legs in shape, or exploring the winter wonderland of our local forests, the Whitefish Trail is a year-round destination.