Lolo Pass

Missoula Winter Fun

Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is thankful for all the outdoor winter fun that Missoula, Montana and our surrounding area offers our guests.  From downhill skiing to cross-country skiing, from ice fishing to ice skating, and snowmobiling to snowshoeing.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly ski destination, check out Discovery Ski Area, or “Disco” to locals. It has a variety of terrain, with plenty of beginner and intermediate slopes, as well as some highly-technical runs on the backside. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Missoula in Philipsburg, Montana.  180 Discovery Basin Road   406-563-2184

Lookout Pass Ski Trails are open 6 days a week in January & February, Wednesdays through Mondays. Closed on Tuesdays. Lifts operate 9-4PM PST on weekdays and  8:30-4PM on weekends. There are nine un-groomed 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.

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

* Terrain: 540 acres with 34 named runs
and prime powder glades:
20% Easiest
50% Intermediate
20% Advanced
10% Expert
* Lifts: 3 double chairs and 1 triple chair
* Vertical Drop:  1,150’
* Base Elevation:  4,500
* Summit Elevation: 5,650
* Longest Run:  1.5 miles
Pattee Canyon Recreation Area, a 3,200-acre recreation area on the on the east side of Missoula, is a popular getaway for locals and visitors. The extensive, 27 miles of system trails is open year-round to non-motorized use and available to hikers, mountain bikers, joggers, and the trails are groomed for cross country skiers.   These recreation area trails and roads connect the University of Montana and the Clark Fork River areas.
Few communities enjoy a place quite like the 60,000-acre Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness just north of Missoula. Montana’s premier urban wilderness blends the best of both wilderness and civilization.  Rest assured that, despite its name, there have been no verified sightings of rattlesnakes in this area. You will, however, find ample opportunities to view many other wildlife species, including beaver, deer, elk, mountain goats and black bear.

A well-developed trail network in the Rattlesnake’s lower reaches gives you a variety of options for day trips – or you can pack overnight gear and venture farther into the high-country wilderness.  You can camp anywhere beyond a three-mile radius from the Rattlesnake’s main trailhead, known as the “South Zone” (off Sawmill Gulch Road just west of Rattlesnake Drive).

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.  Their trails consistently receive rave reviews and regular use from skiers living within a 150-mile radius, while their races and other events bring many users from greater distances. There is a trail or a loop for skiers of all levels and abilities, from hard-core racers to families looking to experience some healthy outdoor activity in the fresh winter air of western Montana.

 

Ice fishing is a great way to get outside during the cold winter months. Just make sure to bundle up to keep yourself warm while you’re out on the ice.

  • Half way between Kalispell and Missoula (roughly a 120 mile distance), Flathead Lake is the largest natural body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River. Although the lake seldom freezes over entirely, most of the bays will freeze thick enough to support ice fishing activity.  Expect to find lake & whitefish trout, yellow perch & cutthroat trout.
  • Georgetown Lake is a popular ice fishing location near Anaconda, MT (90 miles from Missoula, or an hour and 40 minutes by car) that has easy access, and only a short distance from the Discovery Basin Ski Area. The most common fish caught are salmon, rainbow & brook trout.
  • Seeley Swan Lake is among the many numerous lakes present in the Seeley Swan Valley are the highly popular Salmon, Holland Placid Lakes that are an easy day trip from Missoula. Expect to find bull trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon & northern pike.

 

Ice skating in Missoula is almost always accompanied by a roaring bonfire somewhere close to the ice rink. Warm your fingers and lift your spirit enough to get back into the cold gliding bliss of skating.

  • Located at the fairgrounds, Glacier Ice Rink has both an indoor and outdoor rink. With reasonable rates on rentals and public skating available daily from September through May, the whole family will have fun gliding around the large arena.
  • Another option for ice skating is in the Rattlesnake Area, at Pineview Park. Since 1975 the Rattlesnake Hockey Assocation has been flooding a portion of the park for winter skating. Hours vary due to the weather, and you’ll need to bring your own skates.

Missoula is at the epicenter of several great mountains for skiing and snowboarding. Did you know Missoula has its very own ski area? The Snowbowl is located just 20 minutes from downtown Missoula. The Snowbowl’s terrain is comprised of 2,600 vertical feet and just over 900 acres. The Snowbowl isn’t the only area that is just a short drive from Missoula. Discovery Ski Area, Blacktail Mountain, Lookout Pass and Lost Trail Powder Mountain are all trips that you can do in a day.

 

Starting at either Lolo Hot Springs or at Lolo Pass 7 miles west, snowmobilers can conduct their own modern-day explorations, crossing 250 miles of groomed, connecting trails in the Lolo and Clearwater National Forest.  Snowmobiling in Missoula is fast, fun and addictive.  Snowmobile rentals are available at Lolo Hot Springs. A full range of visitor services, including snowmobile rentals, sales, and service are available in Missoula.

Snowshoeing in Missoula is truly an adventure. With the ability to set out in any direction and find unmistakable views and a winter wonderland, is what makes snowshoeing here great.  After a day of fun in the snow and ice, Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast guests can relax at a local restaurant and retreat to their rooms for more togetherness.  Each morning Innkeepers Brady and Elaine prepare a fabulous gourmet breakfast for their guests.  Are you ready for some Missoula winter fun?

Written by Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging

A Visit to Lolo Pass

The next time you stay at our Missoula Bed and Breakfast, we hope you’ll have time to visit Lolo Pass. This ancient trail along the crest of the Bitterrroot Mountains has been traveled for hundreds of years. The Nez Pierce and the Salish used it to travel to hunting and fishing grounds. Lewis and Clark followed the trail on their way to the Pacific. Today, many hikers walk it to experience the beauty of the Bitterroot Mountains.

Bitterroot Mountains Early AM

The beautiful Bitterroot Mountains.

Hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, and even scenic drives can create a strong appetite. Not far from Lolo Pass is the Lumberjack Saloon, a place that has been serving great food, drinks, and music for more than 30 years. The saloon is built from enormous logs, and is located on a beautiful piece of ground. It’s a great spot to refresh oneself after a day on the trails around Lolo.

It’s also a fun place to listen to music. This month, see the Country Boogie Boys on April 14, Blue Collar on April 21, and Sho Down on April 28. The line-up for next month isn’t yet posted, but there will surely be live music every Saturday night at 9 p.m. There is also sure to be a bonfire.

Lolo Pass Montana

Lovely Lolo Pass.

Of course, you could just return to our Missoula Bed and Breakfast and curl up with a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine. If you’re in the mood for live music, turn on the old player piano or see if Elaine will pull out her guitar.

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Snow, Missoula B&B

The snowy view from our Missoula Bed and Breakfast.

There is snow on the mountains, and there is more snow on the way. Snow may have been late to arrive this winter, but it seems like it’s here to stay, now. That’s good news for skiers, snow boarders, and snowshoers. Grab your board, skies, or shoes, and head for our Missoula Bed and Breakfast as soon as you can.

The Montana Snowbowl Ski Area is 100% open and boasts 100 inches of snowpack at the summit.

The trails at Lolo Pass are covered in powder. A marked, 3-mile long snowshoe trail begins and ends at the Visitor Center, which doubles as a warming hut in the winter. Several other trails depart from nearby, including but not limited to: the fairly difficult 6-mile long Packer Meadows loop, the easy 2.1-mile Glade Creek loop, and the very difficult 14-mile Moose Ridge loop.

Trails through Blue Mountain Recreation Area, adjacent to our Missoula Bed and Breakfast, are also great for snowshoeing.

These are the salad days for folks who love snow. Don’t let them pass you by without spending as much time in it as you can.

Missoula Eats

No matter what brings you to Missoula–school, work, skiing or hiking–you will want to eat.

Our Missoula Bed and Breakfast is a good place to start a culinary tour of Missoula. Each morning during your stay, we’ll prepare an abundance of fresh food for you; perhaps delicate crab crepes or fresh, hot, sweet cinnamon rolls (homemade, of course). We’ll drown you in coffee, if that’s how you like to wake up, or wow you with fresh fruit juices. You may not need to eat again until dinner time.

Yet eat again you eventually will. Fortunately, Missoula has several good restaurants.

Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern has a casually elegant atmosphere and offers a fresh twist on many old favorites. Diners may bask in the warmth of the fireplace or sit at the counter and watch what’s happening in the kitchen. The daring are invited to sit at the Chef’s Table, where they work with the culinary team to craft a unique four- or five-course meals with wine pairings.

The Shack Cafe has been feeding Missoulans since 1949. Today, much of the menu is built around locally grown and raised food. This is a good spot for lunch (if you’re still hungry after the breakfast at Blue Mountain Inn). Their dinner specials are very good, too.

Tipus offers a taste of East India. When you’re in the mood to feast on samosas and drink buckets of chai, this is the place for you.

Lolo Creek Steakhouse is a wonderful spot to dine, especially after a day spent out-of-doors. The amazing indoor grill, made from stone and iron, is a wonder to behold. The steaks prepared on it are delicious.

 

The Lolo to Lochsa Ski Tour

Nordic skiers take note! The Lolo to Lochsa Ski Tour is scheduled for Saturday, March 10, 2012. Book your rooms at Blue Mountain Missoula Bed and Breakfast soon.

Lolo Pass to Lochsa Lodge Ski Tour

Skiers will be rewarded with beautiful scenery on the ski tour to Lochsa Lodge.

Some skiers who complete the Lolo to Lochsa Tour will win door prizes after the race, but the biggest reward is simply how good it feels to successfully ski 35 km (22 miles) in one day.

The trail from Lolo Pass to Lochsa Lodge is groomed for classic and skate skiing. Much of the terrain is relatively flat or gently rolling, though there is one good climb and one fun descent. One thing is certain, the after race refreshments and snacks will be much appreciated!

Pamper yourself before and after the race. Stay at Blue Mountain Missoula Bed and Breakfast.

Additional details about the Lolo Pass to Lochsa Lodge Ski Tour may be found at Missoula Nordic.

Love Lolo Hot Springs

We love Lolo Pass winter, spring, summer and fall, but there is something extra special about Lolo in the winter. Perhaps it’s the high elevation, which means there is usually snow at Lolo even when it isn’t elsewhere. Perhaps it’s the miles of cross country and snowmobile trails. Then again, it could be the fact that after spending a day out in the snow, we can warm ourselves in the Lolo Hot Springs.

Solitude

Spend a day snowshoeing at Lolo Pass, then sink into a deliciously warm Mineral Hot Spring.

Sitting in a pool of hot water on a cold day, with snow piled all around, is wonderful. It evokes deep sighs of contentment. It’s one of those experiences, like floating in a warm ocean or standing atop a tall mountain on a clear day, that reminds us just how beautiful life can be.

Our Missoula Bed and Breakfast is about 30 minutes from Lolo Hot Springs. During a weekend stay, guests may enjoy nights on the town in Missoula, gourmet breakfasts at the inn, days in the snow at Lolo Pass, and soaks in the Lolo Hot Springs. Which is the pinnacle experience? We’ll let you decide.

Lolo Hot Springs are open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m to midnight, and Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Indulge in a soak during your stay in our Montana Bed and Breakfast, even if you’re in Missoula for business. It’s worth it.

Celebrate Special Occasions at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast

packer-meadows-camas-bloom-june-2010-by-joni-packard-usfs-image

Camas blooming in Packer Meadows.

A few nights at our Missoula Bed and Breakfast is the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion. Plan to bring your father (or the father of your children) here over Father’s Day, which takes place June 19, 2011. Treat your spouse to a romantic getaway here on your anniversary. Bring your mother, your spouse, your child or your best friend to our Montana Bed and Breakfast on their birthdays.

The best gift you can give a person is the gift of time. This is especially true for people who don’t get to spend enough quality time together. If you live far from your parents, what a treat to spend a few days here, away from all routines. If you haven’t had a date with your spouse since 2008, what better way to say “I love you” than to whisk him or her away for a romantic getaway in Missoula? You get the picture.

Folks who enjoy outdoor recreation will find the area in and around Missoula full of possibilities. Nearby Pattee Canyon Recreation Area has picnic sites and miles of trails suitable for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There is whitewater rafting on the Blackfoot River, the Clark Fork River, and the Bitterroot River. Nearby Lolo Pass is an ancient trail long used by Native Americans and later used by Lewis and Clark; there is a wonderful 8-mile hike from Lolo Pass to Packer Meadows that is particularly lovely in late June and early July, when wildflowers are blooming.

Downtown Missoula has many eclectic shops and art galleries. Guests of our Missoula Bed and Breakfast who find urban hikes more compelling than mountain hikes will find Missoula fun to explore. Carousel Park hosts a Sunday Market  and Festival each week during the summer, where vendors sell fresh produce and a variety of home-spun products.

There are several restaurants in Missoula appropriate for celebratory dinners. The Silk Road bills itself as “Missoula’s newest adventure in global cuisine and old-world hospitality”. It features an impressive number of wines by the glass and tasty, creative dishes from all over the world. The Pearl Cafe features hearty Montana cuisine made with the freshest local and organic ingredients. Menus change with the seasons. The menu also changes frequently at The Red Bird, which serves sustainably grown fresh foods. Live music accompanies diners most Monday evenings.

One of the most delightful aspects of our work is helping guests of our Missoula Bed and Breakfast celebrate their special occasions.

There’s Still Snow at Lolo Pass

While some folks are looking forward to spring and summer, others celebrate the continuance of winter at higher elevations. Ardent snow-sporters should spend a few days at our Missoula MT Bed and Breakfast, which is less than an hour’s drive from Lolo Pass.

Bread loaf in the Bitterroot Mountains

There is still snow in the Bitteroot Mountains

The Visitor Center at Lolo Pass is currently open on weekends, but trails are open seven days a week. These trails are no longer groomed so they may be a bit challenging on skis; on the other hand, dogs are now allowed on the trails (as they are at our pet-friendly Missoula Bed and Breakfast).

A great activity at this time of year is snowshoeing. It doesn’t require groomed trails and it’s fun. Take advantage of the snow and the free parking (another perk after grooming ends) until the snow melts. This could take a while; as of a few days ago, Lolo Pass had a base of 88 inches of snow.

We promise to feed you well at our Bed and Breakfast Montana before you embark on a day of romping in the snow. Tuck into a steaming cup of coffee, a generous serving of Swedish pancakes, or a hearty plate of steak and eggs. If you don’t feel like a nap after that, you’ll be ready to burn some calories up at Lolo Pass.

Mountain road conditions are updated twice a day, or in response to major changes. Call 1.800.226.7623.

Montana Trails and Tales Tour

Montana

The Bitterroot Valley from a distance.

Travelers staying at our Montana bed and breakfast for the first time may be interested in our Trails and Tales Tour. This is a wonderful way to become acquainted with the area. After you’ve made yourself comfortable either in our Missoula Lodge or under trees in our forested picnic area, we’ll regale you with an oral history of the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula. We tell the tales through stories and songs.

The Missoula Valley has long been a natural travel corridor. Native Americans from the mountain ranges, the Columbia Plateau and the Pacific Slope all passed through here on their way to hunt buffalo on the plains. Indeed, the Bitterroot Valley takes its name from the bitterroot that grew so abundantly here and was harvested each year by the Salish, who used the roots both for medicine and food seasoning.

Lewis and Clark followed the trails long traveled by Native Americans. They passed through this area twice, stopping in what is now Traveler’s Rest State Park in September of 1805 and June/July, 1806. Lolo  Hot Springs, Lolo Pass, and Packer Meadows were all explored by the expedition.

French trappers, explorers, and Catholic missionaries traveled the region widely from about 1815 on, and in the 1860s, European settlers began coming here to stay.

The history of Montana is rich and wonderful, and we can only scratch the surface of it with our Trails and Tales Tour. Our hope is to orient you to the region in a unique and pleasant way. After an hour learning about the region in comfort at our Missoula bed and breakfast, head out to explore, either on your own, with us, or with a locally established historian (advanced reservations are required).

Missoula’s Nordic Skiing

There is fantastic Nordic Skiing very close to Missoula. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Missoula Nordic Ski Club is a great source of information about trail conditions, races, classes and more. So bring your cross-country, back-country or skate skis the next time you visit our bed and breakfast Missoula, and hit the trails.

Just five miles north of Missoula is the Rattlesnake recreation area, where the Spring Gulch Trail offers a relaxing seven-mile loop. Five miles south of Missoula, Pattee Canyon Recreation Area offers 10 km (6 miles) of trails.

Lolo Pass is a favorite spot to hike during the warmer months, and it is an equally cherished spot to ski and snowshoe once snow covers the ground. Expect to find a good 15 km (8 miles) of groomed trails here.

Another good spot are the trails at Lubrect Experimental Forest, 30 miles east of Missoula on Highway 200. If you are traveling with your dog, this is the place for you, for furry friends are welcome to trot along beside you. The 32 km (20 miles) of trails here range from short and easy to fairly long and difficult.

Although soaring afternoon temperatures have slowed the skiing a bit recently, most trails are still in good condition early and late in the day. We have many more weeks of winter ahead of us, but why wait? Plan your trip to our Missoula inn today, where you can enjoy a cozy cup of cocoa after a day sailing over the snow.

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