One of the best ways to experience the winter wonderland outside of Big Sky is to spend a few hours walking across the land as wildlife does. Snowshoes allow unfettered access to the forest, meadows and river systems that make this one of the most exciting ecosystems in North America.
Our half-day snowshoe adventure starts with a journey to a beautiful and remote wilderness area, just outside of Big Sky. Although we will be snowshoeing within the Yellowstone National Park boundary, we will not enter through a National Park gate, and you will not be required to purchase a park pass.
The Gallatin River Canyon is the hallmark for this region, and includes the incredible topography of towering basalt cliffs which are wintering home to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, old growth forest which harbors nesting pairs of bald eagles, crimson willow stands which are wonderful habitat for moose and elk and riverside meadows where coyotes and foxes hunt voles under the snow. Our guides are natural enthusiasts who will take time to highlight and educate about every encounter with wildlife along the way.
This half day tour is offered as both a morning tour, departing at 8am, or an afternoon tour departing at 1pm.
Your exact route and itinerary will be determined by your interests, current wildlife sightings, and current weather and road conditions. Our guides are all highly experienced, with thousands of hours in the field, and will expertly tailor your safari to you and your group.
Once outside the comfort of the vehicle, the real adventure begins. The use of modern snowshoes, poles and equipment prepares us for any winter terrain we encounter. Snowshoes elevate our strengths and our capability to challenge snow-shrouded slopes, valleys and forests. The sights and sounds of the landscape will come alive as you move further away from the din of the road and the human bustle of daily life. Any point of interest the guest or guide might be drawn to is a valuable pursuit. Small details will become apparent; the scratch marks of a bear on the bark of an old fir, century old lichen hanging from the branches of a spruce tree, the flighty trail of a deer escaping a predator, or the loud “caw” of a raven as it flies, unconcerned, overhead.
On this excursion our guides will focus on the joy of outdoor adventure in a nutshell. Every fitness level is welcomed and encouraged. We spend approximately 2 hours on snowshoes for this tour and we provide safety equipment, comfort items such as hand and feet warmers and sitting pads, snacks, hot beverages, and an invaluable knowledge of the land. This excursion is exhilarating, but also peaceful and relaxing. The cool dry air of Montana tends to rejuvenate, and the body will thank you for an adventure well spent.
Pickup and drop off
Professional naturalist guide
Use of spotting scopes and binoculars
Use of snowshoeing equipment
This is a private safari.
All of our guests are picked up at a central meeting location in Big Sky. Please meet at the Soldier’s Chapel, just off US Highway 191, a few minutes ahead of your departure time. We’ll confirm your exact pickup time based on the season.
Please allow your guide an additional 5-10 minutes before and after the scheduled pickup time in case of weather delays or traffic conditions.
Approximate pickup times include:
- 8:00AM Big Sky
- 1:00PM Big Sky
My fiancé and I had an incredible day trip with our guide. While we were fortunate with the wildlife we saw on the day, had we not been with Yellowstone Wildlife Safari Company we would not have seen a fraction of the things we saw. Our guide was knowledgeable on all things wildlife and was tremendously enthusiastic on the topic. The snowshoeing was a superb addition to the day and overall it was a day we will never forget.
Safari Tour Gallery
What should we wear?
Proper clothing and gear is essential for staying comfortable while outside on a Montana winter day. We recommend layering synthetic or wool clothing for your base layers and waterproof and windproof shells for your outer layers. Wear snow pants or waterproof gaiters over warm insulated pants, a waterproof jacket over insulating layers, waterproof gloves and a warm fleece or wool hat. Sunglasses or goggles are great on a sunny or snowy day. We will bring hand and feet warmers for extra comfort.
Where will we go?
We start with with a drive through the Gallatin River Canyon heading south toward Yellowstone’s wild northwest boundary. We make stops at a little-known thermal feature as well as for any wildlife we see from the road. We stop and strap our snowshoes on at the trailhead where we can choose our adventure. We can either climb a nearby hill through mixed live and burnt forests for a fantastic bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountain ranges, or traverse the flats across frozen meadows and the riparian zone. We will spend about 2 hours in total on our snowshoes. There will be ample opportunities to learn about winter wildlife and ecology from your naturalist guide, play in the snow, take photos, and enjoy a trail snack with a view. We will snowshoe within Yellowstone National Park, but we will not enter the park through a gate and therefore, no park pass is necessary.
How difficult is this tour?
Snowshoeing is accessible for anyone capable of taking a walk in the woods. It is equally enjoyable for first-timers and seasoned enthusiasts. The learning curve requires getting used to the extra-large set of shoes on your feet! It can feel awkward at first, but after a few minutes you will feel the comfort and advantage they give you in deep snow. Your guide is there to help keep your gear tight and working properly. Poles will help you stay steady and upright. For those looking to get their heart rate up, we can climb several hundred feet in elevation up a fairly steep hillside. For those looking for a more relaxing pace, we can stay on flat ground the whole time. While snowshoeing we do not utilize a trail but make one ourselves. The joy is in the exploration.
What snacks are included?
We provide a variety of snacks for the morning and while we are out snowshoeing. We offer assorted breakfast bars, fig bars, protein bars, goldfish, nuts and fruit. We also offer coffee, tea, cocoa or cider for the car ride or a hot pick-me-up on the trail.