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snowshoeing in makoshika

4 Day Snow and Ice Adventure in Southeast Montana

Total Distance

574 miles

Recommended Length

4 days


Snowshoeing Snowshoeing
Ice Fishing Ice Fishing
Scenic Drives Scenic Drives

Trip Details

Red Lodge > Miles City > Makoshika State Park > Hell Creek Recreation Area/Fort Peck

Discover the great outdoors in the quiet of an eastern Montana winter. From snowmobiling epic terrain to snowshoeing the badlands to ice fishing for trophy trout, your adventures awaits—and so does a warm and friendly place to lay your head at the end of a day well spent (four days, in fact).

Day 1

Red Lodge Snowmobiling

Gear up for a snowmobiling adventure from Red Lodge to Cooke City and back. U.S. Highway 212 is closed to cars from Chief Joseph Scenic Highway (WY 296) at the Pilot Creek parking lot and then it’s approximately 9 miles into Cooke City—a friendly little outpost turned snowmobile central come winter. Trip Tip: Grab lunch at the place where all the sleds are parked. Back in Red Lodge, warm up at Red Lodge Ales or Sam’s Tap Room. Come dinner, make your way to PREROGATIvE Kitchen, Piccola Cucina at Ox Pasture, Black Canyon Bistro, Red Lodge Pizza Co., Carbon County Steakhouse or Bogart’s. Overnight at the historic Pollard Hotel, and don’t miss their house-made donuts.

Day 2


Wake up early to a hearty breakfast at the Pollard or mosey on over to Prindy’s Place or Café Regis to fuel up before the 3-hour drive to Miles City. Set up for a day of ice fishing at Spotted Eagle Lake or embark on a snowshoe around the Terry Badlands—the most popular hike is the Natural Bridges Trail. Plan ahead: Badlands hiking in the winter can be a little tricky with snow drifts and impassable roads. Grab some grub back in Miles City on the Southeast Montana Burger Trail at Tubb’s Pub, Vintage & Rustics or Tilt Würks Brewhouse. Overnight in Miles City at Miles City Hotel & Suites or the Historic Olive Hotel.

Day 3

Makoshika State Park: Snowshoeing or Ice Fishing

Eat breakfast in Miles City at Main Street Grind, Café 600 or The Farmhouse Café and then drive to Glendive for snowshoeing on Makoshika State Park’s Cap Rock Trail. Come nightfall, look up—winter is the best time of year for viewing Montana’s night sky. Cold, dry nights make for clearer skies and excellent stargazing. Enjoy dinner in Glendive at The Gust Hauf or at the Yellowstone River Inn, where you can also book a room for the night. Other lodging options include the Astoria Hotel & Suites.

Day 4


Fuel up on breakfast in Glendive at GiGi’s Café, Penny’s Diner or Bloom Coffeehouse and head to Hell Creek Recreation Area (on Fort Peck Reservoir) for a day of ice fishing, where Clint, the owner of Hell Creek Marina, will get you on the fish if you book a guided session with him. Hello, trophy lake trout, walleye, and northern pike.

Come Visit Montana This Winter

Winter Defined: Discover each of Montana's ski areas and winter road trip inspiration. From epic resorts to family-owned hills, find your ultimate ski trip and get ready for unforgetabble experiences. 

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