The Scenic Gallatin Canyon, where scenes from the movie “A River Runs Through It” were filmed, is known as the Canyon Village section of the Big Sky area. Highway 191 makes its way from the Bozeman area to the north and West Yellowstone to the south, following the beautiful Gallatin River to the turnoff to Big Sky’s Meadow Village (1 mile up the road), Big Sky Town Center (2 miles up the road), and Big Sky Resort (9 miles up the road). Many people opt to live or stay in the Canyon area, which features a variety of dining and lodging options, along with riverfront homes, custom mountain homes, cabins, and home sites.
The history of the canyon mirrors much of the activity during the late 1800 and early 1900s in southwestern Montana. The canyon was first explored by Native American hunters, and later fur-trappers and gold prospectors. There was a significant amount of consideration given to the idea of running the railroad through the canyon to increase travel between Yellowstone National Park and Bozeman, Montana. Logging was conducted in the canyon at the turn of the 20th century, and loggers would ride the logs down river to prevent them from jamming.P ete Karst moved into the canyon in 1898 to homestead a ranch, and ran everything from an inn for travelers to serving liquor he made on the premise during prohibition days. His most successful endeavor in the canyon was a bus route he ran in 1924 from Salesville (now Gallatin Gateway) to Yellowstone National Park. "Karst Camp", as it came to be known, was home to the first tow rope ski hill in Montana, and held annual ski jumping competitions.
Meadow Village and Town Center residences:
Outdoor recreation is what Big Sky is all about. It’s what drew the first outdoor enthusiasts here in the early 1970s, and what still brings folks out today for vacations and well-rounded living. Although known for legendary skiing and easy access to Yellowstone National Park, today there are more ways than ever to truly enjoy the Big Sky area and immerse yourself into the great outdoors. Whether it’s escaping into the solitude of the backcountry wilderness on horseback or by foot or experiencing adventures in the front-country on area rivers, there are so many ways to spend your day in Big Sky in both summer and winter.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Located in Southwest Montana, Big Sky is lucky to be its own ski town. There are many activities right in town and at Big Sky Resort – hint skiing and snowboarding. Big Sky is home to THE BIGGEST SKIING IN AMERICA with 5,800 acres of skiable terrain and 4,350 feet of vertical spanning across four different mountains, plus we’re known for no-wait lift lines! You can take in the view of 3 states and 2 national parks from the top of Lone Peak at 11,166 feet. Take the mid-mountain tram up and either ski down or enjoy the scenic ride back down. Big Sky Resort has the best mix of terrain:
Big Sky is home to Lone Mountain Ranch, voted the #1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. With 85 kilometers of groomed trails and a trail system that encompasses 2,200 vertical feet, there is terrain for all abilities and enough space to feel a sense of quiet alpine solitude without having to bust your own trail. Lone Mountain Ranch has Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) certified instructors to teach all levels, guided tours and gear rentals. Both season passes and day tickets are available.
Along with Lone Mountain Ranch’s groomed trails, there are a number of backcountry trails to explore throughout the Gallatin National Forest, ranging from mellow gliding to more rigorous terrain. Some popular trails include Porcupine Creek, Teepee Creek, and Beehive Basin, among many others. Area outdoor shops can recommend trails with the best ski conditions.
Trek through the snow and experience the tranquility of the winter backcountry at your own pace, with snowshoe excursions on many miles of Big Sky trails. Explore on your own, or travel with a guide to learn more about the winter wildlife and the Big Sky environment. Lone Mountain Ranch has 18 km of trails for snowshoeing! Snowshoe rentals and trail info is available at many of the outdoor shops.
An ice skating excursion can top off a perfect winter day in Big Sky. Big Sky’s Town Center features a full-size hockey and ice-skating rink. Ice skate rentals are available at EAST SLOPE OUTDOORS and GRIZZLY OUTFITTERS in Town Center.
Big Sky, Montana is surrounded by blue ribbon trout fishing, with rivers, alpine lakes and mountain streams, making the area a fly-fishing paradise. The legendary Gallatin River, where scenes from “A River Runs Through It” were filmed, flows right through Big Sky’s Gallatin Canyon. Throughout the winding canyon are numerous fishing holes and walk/wade access for all experience levels, along with spectacular scenery.
There are a number of fly-fishing shops with guide services, offering trips on the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers and sometimes to more remote alpine lakes and spring creeks. For those new to fishing, experienced guides can teach you everything from how to tie knots to the perfect casting techniques and for those more experience, you can learn about the best fishing holes and which flies to throw during that time of year. Lucky for us, fly fishing isn’t just a summer activity. You can fish anytime of the year!
There are many opportunities for road biking, mountain biking, or just cruising around town in Big Sky. A well-maintained bike path travels from the popular Ousel Falls trailhead passed the Big Sky Town Center through the Meadow Village, down to the Canyon and south along Highway 191 to Ophir School. Big Sky area bike shops can provide trail maps and all the gear you’ll need, to rent or for purchase.
Road bikers can travel the scenic mountain roads and highways, choosing routes through the twists and turns of the Gallatin Canyon/Highway 191 from the Bozeman area into the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and on to West Yellowstone. Some pedal right from their door to the Big Sky Spur Road, for a 10-plus mile journey that heads up from Big Sky’s Meadow Village to the Big Sky Mountain Village and on to Moonlight Basin.
Slay the singletrack and pedal your way to some mountain peaks and great views with numerous well-maintained trails and mountain bike friendly dirt roads around the Big Sky area. The mountain bike terrain ranges from mild to rigorous with most trails leading to some of the best views in the Rockies. Some popular trails include: Porcupine, Garnet Mountain, Ramshorn Lake, Mica Creek and many more. Some of the best single track and downhill mountain biking can also be found on Lone Mountain at Big Sky Resort, with lift access and a well kept trail system with terrain for all levels.
Tee-off right in the heart of Big Sky’s Meadow Village, with a backdrop of the towering Lone Peak at the Arnold Palmer-designed BIG SKY RESORT GOLF COURSE. This scenic 18-hole, par-72 course is at an elevation of 6,500 feet, with sweeping views, long drives, and the occasional deer, moose, or elk crossing the greens.
The Big Sky Golf Course has a full-service pro shop with gear sales and rentals along with golf lessons, clinics and tournaments throughout the summer.
There’s nothing like exploring Big Sky Country on the back of a horse. Not only is it the quintessential Western way to travel, but it’s also an exciting way to get further into the backcountry. Hop into the saddle with one of the area’s outfitters, and head out for half or full-day journey into the wilderness in both summer and winter. With trails for all skill levels, experienced wranglers can explain the basics to beginners and explore more exciting terrain with advanced riders.
Imagine standing on a peak, looking out over the sprawling Rocky Mountains at many more peaks looming in the distance as far as the eye can see. Big Sky, Montana is cradled between the Spanish Peaks and the Gallatin Mountain Ranges, with the Madison Range in the distance. The abundant hiking opportunities in Big Sky include trails for all levels, from meandering wildflower walks to more rugged climbs, and everything in between. No matter your ability or location, you should always carry bear spray with you!
Many of the more popular hikes lead to amazing destinations, making each journey well worth the effort, with high mountain lakes – Lava Lake, Hidden Lakes, Beehive Basin and Ramshorn Lake – and towering lookouts at Cinnamon, Garnet, and Storm Castle. Many outdoor shops in the area have trail maps, hiking books and experienced hikers on staff to lead you towards a trail that’s perfect for your skill level.
The boundary of Yellowstone National Park is just 15 miles south of Big Sky. There are many options for day hikes or overnights within the Park.
The mission of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is to establish and maintain a clear and stable artistic infrastructure to grow a community of confident performers and inspired audiences. The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (WMPAC), is located in Big Sky’s Gallatin Canyon, at Big Sky’s Ophir School campus. The Center’s namesake, ski movie icon Warren Miller, and his wife Laurie spend half of their time in Big Sky. The Arts Center was named in honor of Miller in part due to his involvement in the community, and also because his legacy demonstrates a bridge between skiing and the arts. Along with national acts, the WMPAC hosts art events and education within the local community, including The Big Sky Community Theatre program for all area adults with a passion to perform and the Big Sky Community Chorus for those who enjoy singing. Ophir School students also benefit; during the school day, students fill the center with their ideas and talents under the supervision of a faculty of drama, visual arts and music professionals.
Big Sky Arts Council
Wants Big Sky to remain a beautiful place where the expression, enjoyment and education of the Arts will inspire and sustain a healthy and vibrant community. The Arts Council of Big Sky provides residents and visitors and artists with premier events, education and creative opportunities in the Arts. EVENTS INCLUDE: Music in the Mountains free summer concert series; Big Sky Classical Music Festival; Shakespeare in the Parks; Madrigal Dinner; annual ‘Nutcracker’ performance; Auction for the Arts Fundraiser Gala; Telluride MountainFilm on Tour; and many more! Public Art: Utility/power box wrapping project; sculpture installation at local trailheads; Deborah Butterfield Project (2018); working with developers on Public Art Plan for Big Sky Town Center. Education/Outreach: Artist classes/workshops; event outreach within local school district; Discover Dance program for school second graders; Big Sky ARTventure program for high school students.