Updated: Feb 11, 2019
A vacation to Montana in the winter? Yes, friends, you heard it right! Along with beating all the crowds and tourists, Montana is an incredible place to visit in the winter time! My husband and I happen to love snow and we were overjoyed to spend time in the 40-degree weather when it was negative temps back home in MN. Mountains and snow and cattle oh my! We now know why this little gem of the earth is called "Paradise Valley" and today I'm sharing my winter guide to Livingston, MT with you! Get ready to pack your bags adventure awaits.
#1. Yellowstone National Park
This place is a given and don't be fooled it is still incredible during the winter time! We saw bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and endless bald eagles.
We visited Mammoth Hot Springs within the park and it was gorgeous landscape against all the white.
Our favorite part of all was the Boiling River! Just three miles into the park, this hidden gem offers a one of a kind "only in the movies" type of experience. It is a short half a mile hike from the parking lot and be sure to pack a change of warm clothes, towels, and water shoes! It is where the Gardiner River meets with the scalding hot springs creating a warm soak that you will never want to get out of. Mystical and magical we were feeling so relaxed and blessed here.
#2. Hiking Gallatin National Forest
What is a great adventure without some hiking? We had our two Border Collies who love exploring and running wild! (Pssst wondering what to pack for the pups? Click here: https://www.katieandhercanines.com/blog/road-trip-tips-with-dogs) There were so many wonderful hikes near the cabin one being Pine Creek Falls (this one we were unable to get to due to snow drifts) and the Gallatin National Forest. Don't forget your spikes!
With an easy drive from the cabin, you take Mill Creek Road all the way to roads end. There is an incredible winter trailhead for hiking, cross country skiing, and photo ops of course! We went during a beautiful snowfall and kept stopping to soak it all in.
#3. A Visit To Chico Hot Springs
Chico Hot Springs is a must do when visiting Paradise Valley! The resort and day spa offers horseback riding, dog sled rides, a full restaurant/bar, and of course a hot spring pool! We really enjoyed ourselves here and made some great friends with the locals.
The best part was horseback riding with our guide! We were the only ones and were shocked by how much more affordable it was then back at home. Jacob had a gentle giant named Tank and I got Sherman the little stinker who didn't listen. We can now cross off horseback riding in the mountains from our bucket list! This was another once in a lifetime experience I will forever cherish!
#4. Downtown Livingston
Just 30 minutes north of the cabin is downtown Livingston where you can find everything you may need. We were very impressed with the food scene here and truly enjoyed this quaint little mountain town! We enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Montana's Rib and Chop where I indulged in the largest lobster tail I've ever seen (and yes, totally forgot to snap the picture so you'll just have to believe me!)
We were especially shocked to have eaten some of the best sushi at a brewery (yep, so strange) called Neptunes! There is a local book shop, Murray's bar (always poppin') and many other great restaurants to choose from giving you lots of great options in town.
#5. A Day Trip To Bozeman
We took a day trip to Bozeman, Montana to visit some friends from back home! Home to Montana State University, this college town is full of mountain charm, delicious food, and fun breweries. We hiked Hyalite Canyon and enjoyed mountain views and frozen waterfalls. Visit MAP brewery for a fun atmosphere and yummy snacks after! Montana Ale Works was a fun restaraunt with ginormous portions. There is much to do in the city of Bozeman but the small town feel of Livingston rated #1 for us.
#6. The Old Saloon, Emigrant
We found one of our favorite spots in the town of Emigrant! The Old Saloon offers a small town vibe with friendly people and cowboy hats. The pot pie, country fried steak, and bison burger were delicious! And can't forget to mention their buffalo wings and runny ranch. (Yep, the GOOD stuff!) We came back here twice we loved it so much and the service was great!
#7. Cuddling in the Cabin
So after all this fun in Paradise Valley, you may be wondering where should we stay? Look no further friends I know of the perfect place! This cozy cabin has mountain views from every angle and was the most incredible part of our stay. We've always had such wonderful luck with Airbnb and love that some hosts allow our furry friends along. If you haven't joined the wonderful world of Airbnb be sure to sign up with my link here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/katiej609?currency=USD
And to learn more about Elk Ridge Cabin click here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4431287?s=51
This was honestly one of my favorite trips we have taken yet and exactly what I needed to feel refreshed and inspired! The beauty of Montana is unreal and the mountains made me so incredibly happy. "Memories made in the mountains stay in our hearts forever."
Some tips to keep in mind when traveling to Montana: They do not use salt on their roads so plan to have some great snow tires and chains handy. Always check for road conditions on Google (especially the Bozeman pass if going that way.) If traveling to Yellowstone note that wildlife is dangerous and to practice safety always. Flights here are very expensive so road tripping is usually the best bet from MN. Have a WONDERFUL time and soak in all the beauty of fresh air and nature.
I hope this helps in planning your next adventure to Livingston in the wintertime! I already cannot wait to go back and experience more of this beautiful state.
Wondering what to pack for a long roadtrip with your furry friends? Check out my previous post here: https://www.katieandhercanines.com/blog/road-trip-tips-with-dogs