Whether you are in Pattee Canyon or Lolo National Forest exploring the sites around Missoula on cross-country skis is an experience you will remember. The slower pace gives time to take in all that the views have to offer, and there are enough trails to keep a winter sports enthusiast busy for years to come.
Nordic skiers will find an impressive number of ski areas to choose from. Stay close to city limits at Pattee Canyon, (groomed on Fridays, ideal for both skate and traditional) or the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area (traditional and backcountry). Other cross-country options include Lolo Pass, an easy 40-minute drive west of the city on U.S. Highway 12 (skate and traditional). There is a nominal fee to park, but the scenic vistas and seemingly endless trails make it worth it. If you want to ski with your dog, Lubrecht Experimental Forest is your destination. There’s about 28 miles of trails with a variety of terrain. Pack a lunch and plan to eat at the covered picnic area. It truly is lovely. Lubrecht is about a 30-minute drive from Missoula.
Just off of Pattee Canyon Rod and FAS 533
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area: