Cross country skiers will find an impressive number of nordic ski areas near Missoula to choose from.
Lookout Pass Ski Trails are next to and part of the snowmobile trail system. There are 9 ungroomed trails that make a total of 7.3 miles down into the basin. The Lookout Pass Alpine Skiing Area is right next to the cross-country ski trails and snowmobiling opportunities. These trails are not groomed.Length: 3.6 km of easiest, 3.5 km of more difficult and 4.5 of most difficult trail. Trail Begins: Lookout Pass Ski AreaTrail Ends: LoopArea Map: Superior Area Snowmobile Trails
Set in a wooded canyon near Missoula at 4,100 feet, Pattee Canyon Recreation Area has individual family picnic sites available for free. There are 3 group sites available by reservation. The picnic area sits in a grove of big Ponderosa pines. The loop roads are paved and there is a host at the site in the summer. It's open from 9:00 am to sunset while the host is there and closed the rest of the year. It's a popular spot for day hikes and mountain biking. There are handicapped access toilets, no water and no electricity. When the area is closed, people are welcome to park outside and walk in to use the area.
With the major trailhead only 4.5 miles north of Missoula, the 61,000 acres of glaciated topography in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness form Montana's premier urban wilderness, blending the best of both wilderness and civilization. The U-shaped Rattlesnake basin is fed by more than fifty small creeks that begin as seeps from springs and melting snowbanks in the upper Wilderness portion of the reacreation area. When snow conditions permit, the main Rattlesnake and side drainages are readily accessible to cross-country skiers. Missoula Nordic Ski Club offers some grooming of the Rattlesnake Recreation Area from the main trailhead to Franklin Bridge.
Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trails are a series of linked ski trails. You can select a short, medium or long route. These trails are groomed for skating. No dogs are allowed on groomed trails. Snowmobiles prohibited. Parking available for 12 vehicles. Maps available at the District Office. These trails are groomed intermittently.
For additional information on area trails and up-to-date grooming information, check out the Trails and Grooming report from the Missoula Nordic Ski Club.