A Guide to Visiting Big Sky, Montana

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Big Sky Montana attracts people for a variety of reasons, primarily for its stunning natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities. The area is home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, making it a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Additionally, the surrounding landscape offers countless opportunities for hiking, fishing, rafting, and other outdoor activities, with breathtaking views of the mountains and wildlife. For those seeking relaxation and retreat, the area’s quiet and peaceful surroundings make it an ideal destination to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A brief history of Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky Montana’s history dates back to the early 1900s, when the area was primarily used for ranching and mining. In the 1940s, a group of businessmen, including Chet Huntley of NBC, recognized the potential of the area as a ski resort and began developing the land. The first ski lift was installed in 1973, and since then, Big Sky Resort has grown to become one of the largest ski resorts in North America. In the 1990s, the area saw a boom in real estate development, with the construction of luxury homes, condos, and hotels. Despite this growth, the community has maintained a commitment to preserving the natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Today, Big Sky Montana continues to be a popular destination for skiing, outdoor recreation, and relaxation, while also serving as a year-round home to a vibrant and growing community.

The impact of the Yellowstone TV show on Big Sky tourism

The television show Yellowstone, which premiered in 2018, has had a significant impact on travel to Big Sky and the surrounding areas. The show, which is set in Montana and focuses on a family who owns and operates a ranch, has brought attention to the state’s natural beauty, wildlife, and outdoor activities. Many fans of the show have been inspired to visit Montana and explore the same areas that are featured on the show. Big Sky, in particular, has seen a surge in visitors since the show’s debut, with fans seeking out filming locations and experiences similar to those depicted on the show. Additionally, the show has generated interest in Montana’s ranching and agricultural communities, which play an important role in the state’s economy and way of life. Overall, Yellowstone has had a positive impact on travel to Big Sky and the surrounding areas, showcasing the natural beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities that Montana has to offer.

Where to Stay in Big Sky?

Big Sky has a variety of hotel options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the main hotel options in Big Sky:

    1. Big Sky Resort – This is the largest resort in Big Sky and offers a range of accommodation options, from hotel rooms to condos and private homes. It is located at the base of the ski slopes and offers ski-in/ski-out access, as well as a range of amenities, including restaurants, bars, a spa, and a fitness center.
    2. The Summit at Big Sky – This luxury hotel is located at the top of the ski slopes and offers ski-in/ski-out access. It features spacious rooms and suites, a restaurant, a bar, a spa, and a fitness center.
    3. Lone Mountain Ranch – This historic ranch offers a unique experience in a secluded setting. It features cozy cabins with wood-burning stoves, as well as a restaurant, a bar, a spa, and a range of outdoor activities, including horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and fly fishing.
    4. The Wilson Hotel – This hotel is located in the heart of Big Sky’s Town Center and offers easy access to shops, restaurants, and galleries. It features modern rooms and suites, a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, and a rooftop hot tub.
    5. The Whitewater Inn – This budget-friendly hotel is located near the Gallatin River and offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and a hot tub. It is a great option for those who want to be close to outdoor activities, such as whitewater rafting and fly fishing.
    6. The Montage Big Sky – The Montage Big Sky is a luxury hotel that opened in 2021 in the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club area of Big Sky, Montana. The hotel is located in a secluded setting with stunning mountain views and offers ski-in/ski-out access to Big Sky Resort.

There are many hotel options in Big Sky to suit different preferences and budgets, whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations or a more rustic experience.

What to do in Big Sky?

Big Sky, Montana is a year-round outdoor paradise with a wide range of activities to offer. Here are the top 5 activities to do in Big Sky and the best places to do them:

Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone National Park.
  1. Skiing and Snowboarding – Big Sky Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in the United States, with over 5,800 skiable acres, 4,350 vertical feet, and 300 runs. It offers terrain for all levels, from beginners to experts, and has a variety of lifts, including high-speed quads and an eight-passenger gondola.
  2. Hiking – Big Sky is surrounded by stunning mountains and forests, and there are many hiking trails to choose from. One of the most popular is the Beehive Basin Trail, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and a beautiful alpine lake. Yellowstone National Park is also just down the road.
  3. Whitewater Rafting – The Gallatin River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Montana, with rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV. There are several rafting companies in the area that offer guided trips, including Montana Whitewater and Geyser Whitewater.
  4. Mountain Biking – Big Sky has a vast network of mountain biking trails, ranging from easy, scenic rides to challenging, technical routes. The Big Sky Resort Bike Park offers lift-served downhill biking and features over 50 miles of trails.
  5. Fishing – The Gallatin River is also a popular spot for fly fishing, with rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. Other nearby rivers and streams, such as the Madison River and the Yellowstone River, offer additional fishing opportunities.

Where to eat in Big Sky?

For being a mountain town, Big Sky has many great food offerings. Restaurant reservations can be a challenge, but we’ve compiled a few of our favorites and can recommend a few traveler favorites based on online reviews and rankings:

  1. The Cabin Bar & Grill – Known for its hearty Montana cuisine and warm atmosphere, The Cabin Bar & Grill is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Menu highlights include bison meatloaf, elk chili, and house-made mac and cheese.
  2. Ousel & Spur Pizza Co. – This casual pizza joint is a favorite among families and groups. With creative toppings like wild boar sausage and balsamic glaze, as well as classic options like pepperoni and cheese, Ousel & Spur offers something for everyone.
  3. Lotus Pad – For a taste of Southeast Asia in Montana, head to Lotus Pad. This cozy restaurant serves up Thai and Vietnamese dishes, such as pad thai, green curry, and banh mi sandwiches.
  4. Olive B’s Big Sky Bistro – With a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, Olive B’s Big Sky Bistro offers a diverse menu of contemporary American cuisine. Menu items range from wood-fired pizzas to seafood pasta to elk tenderloin.
  5. Horn & Cantle – Located inside the Lone Mountain Ranch, Horn & Cantle is a refined dining experience that highlights regional ingredients and flavors. The menu changes frequently based on what’s in season, but past dishes have included Montana wagyu beef and bison short ribs.
  6. Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge – Another popular restaurant in Big Sky, Montana, that specializes in sushi and Asian-inspired dishes. Their menu includes a wide range of sushi rolls, sashimi, tempura, and noodle dishes. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and a full bar with a variety of cocktails, wine, and sake. It’s worth noting that Blue Buddha is closed during the off-season, so it’s best to check their hours before visiting.
  7. Michaelangelo’s – This well-regarded Italian restaurant is located in the Meadow Village of Big Sky. It is known for its classic Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and seafood, as well as its extensive wine list. The restaurant has a warm and inviting atmosphere with a cozy fireplace and rustic decor.

A Montana vacation is one you won’t forget

In conclusion, Big Sky Montana offers an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to escape into nature, enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors, and indulge in a range of activities and experiences. Whether you come for skiing, snowboarding, or to enjoy the summer months with hiking, biking, or fishing, Big Sky offers something for everyone. In addition to its natural beauty, the town offers a selection of world-class restaurants, accommodations, and local businesses. With its friendly locals, rich history, and stunning scenery, Big Sky is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an adventure in the great outdoors.

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