Big Sky, Montana
Originally a remote ranching town in southern Montana, Big Sky earned a spot on many bucket lists when NBC newscaster Chet Huntley opened Big Sky Resort in 1973. The rugged Montana wilderness of the Gallatin National Forest surrounds the town and offers spectacular recreational activities. Sitting in the shadow of Yellowstone National Park and Gallatin National Forest, this small community is enveloped by Montana's rugged wilderness and is a premiere destination for hiking, fishing and winter recreation.
Big Sky invites you and your buddies to go big or go home. The Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin interconnect is known as the “biggest skiing in America.” It dwarfs Aspen, Vail, Park City and all other ski destinations with more than 5,500 skiable acres, 220 designated runs covering 110 miles on three mountains. With an average snowfall of 400 inches per year, Big Sky is a winter theme park waiting to be explored.
If Big Sky rocks during the winter, it rolls in the summer. If you're accustomed to seeing Big Sky covered in white frosting, come in the summer and see why this is a year-round nirvana for adrenaline junkies. There are not one, but two ways to get high, literally. Start with the Big Sky Zipline and feel what it's like to be a bird of prey. From there, check out the Big Sky High Ropes Course where you'll be challenged by eight different routes suspended high in the air.
Hiking the mountain is a surefire way to break a sweat, and there's no shortage of options here. Get acclimated to the altitude on Ousel Falls, which is a popular, short uphill hike that ends at a large, scenic waterfall. North Fork Trail is a steady, often vigorous climb over alpine terrain to Bear Basin. Don't miss out on Reflector Trail, a classic Big Sky hike. Gain 1,066 feet in elevation on this 3.5-mile loop. With rewarding views of Meadow Village and Lone Mountain, be sure to bring along your camera.
Try your hand at climbing the Gallatin Tower, a high-class crag with various routes known to get the adrenaline pumping. Take on the Dagger, a sharp feature at the top of the Tower that'll push you to the limit. The Standard Route climbs 300 feet over various cracks and overhanging face for a hair-raising adventure you won't forget.
At this elevation, there's only one place to go"down"and the combination of gravity and 400 inches of snowmelt make for great whitewater rafting. Enjoy the pulse-pounding rush that comes with the particularly wild 20-mile stretch between Big Sky and the northern mouth of the Gallatin Canyon.
If you are looking for less of a rush on the water, you are in luck. Big Sky is the capital of fly-fishing. Conditions here are unparalleled: mountain streams, wide-open rivers and calm lakes teem with very obliging cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout which, due to their remote locations, don't face a lot of angling pressure. The accessible, insect-rich waterways and abundant hatches allow anglers of all skill levels to try dry fly, wet fly, nymph or streamer fly-fishing. Simply stated, a trip to Big Sky and neighboring Yellowstone wouldn't be complete if you didn't cast a line or two. The Salmon fly hatch occurs every year from late June to early July, typically during the peak of the spring run-off and is the most intense hatch on the river.
Cache Creek Outfitters will make you feel like you know Big Sky like the back of your hand. Their handpicked local guides have inside info about all the best places to find the trout on four rivers. If you are a beginner to fly-fishing, they'll totally get you hooked (pun completely intended).
After a long day in the field, check in to one of Moonlight Light Basin Resort's rustic cabins and suites. They boast large loft spaces with stone and log accents, expansive windows and a large deck. In the winter, you can ski-in and ski-out to Moonlight Basin and Big Sky Resort at this centrally located spot.
Prepare for your journey with the PRW2500-1. It's 200M water resistance means you don't have to worry about your watch while getting your hands in the water after that perfect trout. Equipped with Solar Atomic power, your watch is self-charging and self-setting for a long day's journey into night.