Big Sky is a beautiful part of Montana that is chock full of all kinds of great outdoor and healthy activities that can be enjoyed all year. And today I have a list of some of the absolute best activities you can find in the area for any of those planning a visit or vacation to Big Sky in the future. But I’ll let you know in advance that the best activities you can find are going to be around Yellowstone and the Big Sky Resort.
I’ll link you to a website for each activity when I can, and I’ll also try to provide customer reviews so you can see what other people have to say as well. And I’ll also provide you with a link anytime you can get a digital GiftYa gift card for anywhere on the list. I find that paying for some of the trip in the form of a digital gift card (that you can’t possibly forget at home) can really help you budget your trip, and stick to your budget.
But that’s enough of an introduction for now. Here’s that list of great things to do in Big Sky Montana that you came here for!
Grand Loop Rd | Yellowstone National Park | nps.gov
Yellowstone National Park is not only our most famous national park, it was also the country’s first national park at all. On March 1, 1872, president Ulysses S. Grant signed the The Act of Dedication and preserved over 2 MILLION ACRES of our nation’s natural beauty and landscape. And they did this because after the second expedition from the area brought back paintings and maps of the area, it was considered to be too breathtaking to be left up for public auction. And it’s easy to see how it earned this reputation. In fact Yellowstone National Park features half of the world’s hydrothermal features (Old Faithful, geysers, etc.) and even features its own Grand Canyon.
You can enjoy all kinds of camping, hiking, rafting, animal watching, and other great things you can find at most of our national parks. But if you are an American it’s not just the activities that are what makes it worth visiting. It was the first time in our nation’s history that the government decided to preserve our environment. So there is no other way to explain how truly special and majestic Yellowstone really is. It changed government policy forever. And because of the awe-inspiring beauty of Yellowstone, there are now over 85 million acres of land in our national parks that are being preserved so that the tapestry of our country's natural beauty can be enjoyed for generations to come.
And it all started with Yellowstone over 150 years ago. It’s an integral part of our nation’s history and identity, and if you’re an American, you really owe it to yourself to see it at least once in your lifetime.
“The geysers, Fall colors, mountains, valleys, rivers are all awe inspiring. It was amazing. If you are thinking Yellowstone, go in the Fall, very few cars, people and it's a life changing experience for sure!!” - Yelp Review
Grab yourself a Montana White Water gift card by following the link!
63960 Gallatin Rd | Gallatin Gateway | montanawhitewater.com
Montana Whitewater is one of the staples of fun and adventure in Big Sky. And they specifically specialize in providing adventures right near Yellowstone National Park. They have been providing all kinds of great summertime activities in Big Sky for over 30 seasons now and it’s easy to see how they have lasted so long. They can help you set up a whole myriad of different summer time fun activities.
You can enjoy whitewater rafting (as you might expect) and enjoy your adventure right in the park itself. But if whitewater rafting isn’t your first choice of vacation activity, they also have plenty of other options as well. They have zip lining courses, river tubing, and plenty of fishing as well.
Montana Whitewater is one of the activities you can only enjoy in Big Sky in the summertime. They are open from late spring to early fall which makes sense. But given their popularity, you should book for the summer season well in advance if you have the time. The earlier you are, the less other people will have made reservations and they will be able to get you set up with the perfect vacation adventure!
“Great late afternoon on the rapids with our knowledgeable guide Wyatt. Expert instructions before and during the trip down the Gallatin. Superb experience - everyone in the boat was ready to do it all over again!” - Yelp Review
You can get a Montana White Water gift card for you or a loved one by clicking the link!
50 Big Sky Resort Rd | Big Sky | bigskyresort.com
If you are in the area and you aren’t visiting Yellowstone, then I’m guessing you will probably be stopping in at Big Sky Resort. And if you do, you will find that it is filled with all kinds of fun activities that can be enjoyed all year long. Sure it’s one of America’s most famous ski resorts, but they have plenty of summertime fun as well.
In the summertime Big Sky Resort really has a staggering amount of great outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by everyone. For those of you who love to golf, they have a whole 18-Hole Golf Course. For those who crave adventure they have miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, horseback riding, and rock climbing. For those seeking thrills there are zipline tours. Adventure Mountain features tons of activities that are great for kids of all ages. They have both an archery course, and a disc golf course that you can enjoy at your leisure. And if you are hoping to get on the river they also have fly fishing and white water rafting. And they even have an escape room called The Search For Creature X.
On top of all the recreational activities, you can also enjoy a scenic lift ride during the summer to get a stunning bird’s eye view of the mountains and landscape that surround the area. They run the life from 10 AM - 4:40 PM everyday during the summer season.
If you are visiting Big Sky Resort in the winter, what can I say? It’s called “America’s Biggest Skiing” for a reason. They have nearly 6,000 acres of great skiing terrain that features almost 4500 feet of vertical drops. So if you are hoping to get some great skiing or snowboarding in on your trip, then Big Sky Resort is going to disappoint. Be sure to get a day pass for the lift up the mountain because you are going to want to go over and over again once you’ve felt that first rush of wind in your face!
And if you aren’t looking to ski, they also have other great winter activities like dog sledding, a horse drawn sled ride, an enchanted forest that is decorated with lights in the snow. And they also have great snowmobiling and zipline tours if you are looking for another kind of thrill!
“Big Sky Resort is a wonderful destination in the winter and the summer - I do both - July and February. famous for spectacular terrain, dry powder, and beautiful scenery. It's a very affordable location with a lot of different lodging options for couples and families.” - Yelp Review
You can grab a Gallatin Alpine Sports digital gift card in just seconds by following the link!
169 Snowy Mountain Cir | Big Sky | gallatinalpinesports.com
Gallatin Alpine Sports is a great spot to know about whenever you are planning a trip to Big Sky. With all the incredible trails and paths for bike riding, as well as being right next to one of America’s most famous ski slopes, they are perfectly positioned as a sports equipment store. They have options for rental, delivery, and in store purchase so you can spend only what you need to for your adventure in Big Sky. They specialize in providing their customers with skis, snowboards, bikes, and outdoor apparel. So whether you want to know there will be a pair for skis with you when you get there, or you don’t want to have to travel with your bike, they are the perfect stop for vacationers and adventures in Big Sky for all your active outdoor needs!
“The trails are easily accessible from the shop, the bikes were well maintained, and an employees met me at the trailhead in under 15 minutes when I got a flat. The eBIKE rentals were great since there are some climbs, we were not accustomed to the elevation, and we had riders of different ages and ability levels.” - Yelp Review
If you want to budget your trip in advance you can always grab a Gallatin Alpine Sports digital gift card and know that you're covered in case you forget to pack anything.
If you are planning a trip to Big Sky and are hoping to really soak in the natural beauty then you are definitely going to want to try out some of the incredible hiking trails that there are in the area. There are plenty of great trails in the area, but for the sake of space, I will just list some of the most popular ones of varying difficulty levels.
The Ousel Falls Trail is one that is quite a bit easier than the other two. What makes it perfect is that it’s only around 1.5 miles round trip. So it’s pretty accessible for anybody, and you can even take your kids on this one with you since it’s only about 45 minutes round trip and you don’t have to worry about them getting bored and cranky on an all day hike.
Not to mention, since the hike isn’t very long, you can plan it as part of your day and not spend your whole day hiking one trail. And as you might have guessed, you do get to see a beautiful and natural flowing waterfall on this hike which is always a great natural feature to get to experience.
The Beehive Basin Trail is a more difficult trail than the Ousel Falls Trail, but it is so popular that it’s in the top ten hiking trails in the entire country. There’s an elevation gain of 1,630 ft over the course of the 7 mile trail. So it’s not incredibly steep, but it’s certainly enough to be noticeable. You will have uninterrupted views of the scenic beauty and plenty of gorgeous lakes. Even though this is a longer trail that takes around 4 hours to complete round trip, it’s national popularity is going to mean that it will probably be pretty busy no matter what time of year you visit, but it might get a little obnoxious in the summer.
The Summit Lake Trail is another incredible trail that is in the Big Sky area. However, this trail is much more difficult. This is one that you will really want to prepare for because it’s almost 16 hours round trip. This trail is very popular for hiking, backpacking, and even camping. Which makes it really perfect if you are hoping to really disconnect from the modern world and get back to nature. If you plan it right you can have two wonderful days of hiking with a great night of camping in between. And since this trail is so much more difficult than the other two, this one won’t have nearly the foot traffic of the others so you can expect a more serene and uninterrupted experience.
Grab a digital 320 Guest Ranch gift card by following the link!
205 Buffalo Horn Creek Rd | Gallatin Gateway | 320ranch.com
320 Guest Ranch has been a staple of the Big Sky area for over a century. It originally operated as a ranch and homestead. But these days it really functions as an all on one vacation experience. They have tons of modern log cabins that you can rent out for lodging. And they can be a really great place to stay since they are kind of in between Yellowstone and Big Sky. And 320 has its own on-site restaurant that provides incredible food from breakfast through dinner.
And once you’ve had a hot breakfast you can enjoy all sorts of great outdoor adventures. They have trail rides, fly fishing, square dancing, hiking, and bike trails. If you are hoping to have a bit of a throwback style vacation, then this is probably going to be the spot in Big Sky for you!
“Everything about this place is a 10 Star experience. From its natural beauty to its kind , helpful & generous staff. This was our first visit to the Ranch but it won't be our last. We were a family of 15 from 6 to 72 years young. And each one of us had a Great Time. As I said before
This Ranch won't disappoint! ” - Yelp Review
It only takes a second to get a digital 320 Guest Ranch gift card for you or a loved one at GiftYa!
And that concludes my list of some of the great things you can get into around Big Sky Montana. And if you are planning a vacation to Big Sky you might be thinking “hey are there no restaurants in the area? Why aren’t there any listed?” Well there’s no need for you to worry, here at GiftYa we like to be able to help you plan every part of your next adventure or vacation and we have whole separate articles on where to find the best restaurants in Big Sky, and even articles on where to find the best lodging for your stay!