By Ciara Wolfe BSCO Executive Director
Since I was born and raised in Oregon, when I hear the name “Tree Farm,” I immediately envision a place my family visited every December. Amidst rows of perfectly pruned evergreen trees lined in a grid across a piece of farmland, we would garner our full, beautifully manicured Christmas tree. Although that memory is far from the experience of cross-country skiing Tree Farm at Lone Mountain Ranch, they both invite fond memories of beautiful trees.
Starting from the Lone Mountain Ranch’s outdoor shop found on the northwest side of the parking lot, you’ll start your 3.5-kilometer cross-country ski by heading south for 1 kilometer on Creekside, a flat trail that meanders along the creek bed toward the entrance to the ranch.
As you approach Highway 64, you’ll ski underneath the road in a metal culvert tunnel, an interesting experience in and of itself. After crossing under the road, you’ll reach your first intersection, well signed with directions to various Nordic trails you can access.
Tree Farm, an intermediate 1.5-kilometer Nordic trail, can be skied either direction and ultimately ends back at this point. Knowing the area, I chose to take a left and tackle the steep hills first since I already had a nice 1-kilometer warm-up on Creekside. I skied up a hill and across the creek and around a large curve before reaching Moosewood Road.
At that point I took off my skis, crossed the road and stayed on the trail running west of Andesite Road, rather than crossing Andesite Road to continue on the longer and more difficult Andesite Loop. I continued to ski for 0.3 kilometer with one long downhill before coming to my next intersection.
This section of the trail is definitely where the name comes from. I skied through a small creekbed with trees of varying species and size. From wooded areas to wetlands filled with willows, the scenery is beautiful and peaceful throughout the entire loop. Once I reached the tunnel, I continued a nice 1-kilometer ski on Creekside back up to the outdoor shop and parking lot.
Skis stowed away, you can follow your excursion with a visit to LMR’s newly opened Horn and Cantle restaurant for a bite to eat, meal with friends or warm drink by the fire.
An annual season pass or day pass ($20/day) can be purchased at the Outdoor Shop. All proceeds from pass sales go toward the cost of grooming our winter Nordic trail system. For a complete map of Big Sky’s 85 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails, visit lonemountainranch.com/winter-things-to-do/nordic-skiing/.
For more information about Big Sky’s parks, trails and recreation programs, visit bscomt.org. The Big Sky Community Organization is a local nonprofit that connects people to recreational opportunities by acquiring, promoting and preserving sustainable places and programs for all.
Distance: 3.5 K
Elevation gain: 100 ft
Surface: classic track includes both skate and classic groomed trails
Uses: cross-country skiing
Directions: From the Canyon, take Highway 64 west from Highway 191. Turn left at the Lone Mountain Ranch sign approximately 4.5 miles up. The parking lot is located another half of a mile up the road.