Outdoors

Plenty of places to cross-country ski in Montana

Montana has no shortage of cross-country skiing opportunities.

With the state's millions of acres of public lands, the options are practically endless, and access to much of it is free.

If you prefer cross-country skiing on established or groomed trails, here's a list of some of the possibilities in Montana, many of which are easily reached from the South Sound:

STEMPLE PASS: Stemple Pass offers about 15 miles of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. The trails aren't groomed, but usually there are ski tracks to follow. Stemple Pass is located on the Continental Divide, about 15 miles southeast of Lincoln and about 35 miles northwest of Helena. Use of the trails is free. 1.usa.gov/13uuUXG.

MACDONALD PASS: Last Chance Nordic Ski Club grooms MacDonald Pass Nordic Trails. About 10 miles of trails are groomed almost daily. Find the trailhead on Highway 12, about 12 miles west of Helena. Free. lcnsc.blogspot.com.

SEELEY LAKE: Seeley Creek Nordic Trail System offers more than 11 miles of trails groomed almost daily. The trailhead is located on Cottonwood Lakes Road on the north end of town. Free. seeleylakenordic.org. The Double Arrow Lodge in Seeley Lake also offers groomed ski trails. The trails are open to the public and free to use. doublearrowresort.com.

MISSOULA AREA: The Missoula Nordic Ski Club grooms the cross-country ski trails at the Pattee Canyon picnic area, Lubrecht Forest and the Rattlesnake Recreation Area. missoulanordic.org.

CHIEF JOSEPH TRAIL SYSTEM: Located at the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley, the Chief Joseph Trail System offers 13 miles of groomed trails. bitterrootxcskiclub.net.

HOMESTAKE LODGE: Homestack Lodge offers 37 kilometers of groomed trails. Day passes are $15 for adults and $8 for children. A yurt, cabins and bunkrooms are available for rent. homestakelodge.com.

IZAAK WALTON INN: Izaak Walton Inn at the southern edge of Glacier National Park has more than 20 miles of ski trails. Day passes are $10 for adults and $5 for children. A great way to reach the inn from the Puget Sound region is by Amtrak. Trains stop at the inn twice a day, once eastbound and once westbound. Izaakwaltoninn.com and amtrak.com.

FLATHEAD VALLEY: The North Shore Nordic Club grooms trails at the Bigfork Community Nordic Center and Blacktail Nordic Trails. northshorenordic.org. Glacier Nordic Club grooms and maintains 8 milesof ski trails at the Whitefish Lake Golf Course and about 6 miles on Whitefish Mountain. Daily trail fees or memberships are required. glaciernordicclub.com.

BOHART RANCH CROSS COUNTRY SKI CENTER: Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center, 16 miles northeast of Bozeman, grooms more than 18 miles of trails. Daily trail fees are $15 for adults and $8 for youth. bohartranchxcski.com.

LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH: Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky boasts nearly 53 milesof trails. Ski lessons are available from certified instructors. Lodging is also available. lonemountainranch.com.

BUTTE/ANACONDA AREA: The Mile High Nordic Ski Education Foundation maintains trails at Mount Haggin near Anaconda and Moulton Reservoir near Butte. milehighnordic.org.

WEST YELLOWSONE: The Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone have more than nearly 22 miles of groomed trails. There is also a biathlon course. Trail passes are required. There also is plenty of cross-country skiing inside Yellowstone National Park. rendezvousskitrails.com and nps.gov/yell.

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