Rest-assured, despite being young, Big Sky isn’t commercial. In fact, the notion would send shivers into its inhabitants. The folks here pride themselves on their harmonious relationship with nature, and it’s stronger than ever. In this town, balancing consumption with usage is essential. It needs to be sustainable for it to be a good thing.
A place of nature: Big Sky’s hiking
Thanks to the Trails Master Plan implemented in Big Sky, but not only, the town is home to a lot of hiking paths. Unique to them, the trails weave seamlessly in and out of the destination, merging the stunning, local nature with the beating green heart of Big Sky. One example of all this is the Ousel Falls trail, that starts in the Town Center. It’s a 1.5-mile round trip up to some highly idyllic falls, and perfect to enjoy with the kids. For the more seasoned, the year-round Lava Lake Trail will tick boxes. Totaling 5.5 miles as a round trip, it ends up in some of Montana’s finest alpine scenery.
The Gallatin River: what it offers
Around Big Sky are several rivers that offer year-round quality fishing and hiking. Perhaps the most iconic of Big Sky’s locations is Gallatin River – a fly-fisher’s paradise (and setting for the movie, A River Runs Through It). When it comes to river/lakeside fishing expeditions, you’ll want to head to the Madison, Yellowstone, or Gallatin Rivers. If you need a license, you can acquire one from the numerous, well-equipped fishing stores around Big Sky. Many of them offer tours down the local rivers, as well as to more remote alpine lakes and rivers. For fishing-related queries, stop in with the Gallatin River Guides or East Slope. They’ll be happy to help.
Renowned for its scenic highways, Montana is the kind of place you can happily just drive around in. I’m not suggesting that’s all you should do, but at the very least, try highway 191. Connecting West Yellowstone with the city of Bozeman, highway 191 often makes the front page of esteemed mags like National Geographic Travel. No surprise.
Starting at Big Sky, you can weave your way down to the west Yellowstone National Park entrance, commonly remarked as the single best place to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. Cascading mountains coated by wild forests are everywhere, journeying along 191. Rivers snake their way about the alpine terrain and a fresh, pristine air relaxes one’s lungs. Without any doubt, it’s the most beautiful way to enter Yellowstone.
All in all
When it comes to Yellowstone expeditions and getting (properly) into nature, there’s not much Big Sky doesn’t offer. The town is an atypical travel experience in the US – in a very good way. With all that’s on offer, I started to doubt if I even needed to visit Yellowstone! Big Sky is impressive for so many reasons, and I particularly loved their affinity environmentalism. This especially, among everything else, makes Big Sky truly unique.
If you are planning a road trip in Montana, check out this road trip itinerary for some great ideas; National Parks & the Hidden West Coast Parks Route.