cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Northern Montana

The Izaak Walton Inn (406-888-5700, www.izaakwaltoninn.com), 62 miles east on Highway 2 (also an Amtrak flag stop), this inn is on the historic register of inns and is a rail fan's haven. It is in Essex, MT right and on the original Northern Railroad line, which is serviced by Amtrak twice per day. For a full page of info click Izaak Walton Inn. The inn has 35 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing and is nestled between Glacier National Park and Great Bear Wilderness. Lodge rooms, family rooms and turn-of-the-century caboose cottages are available. Guided park tours, lessons, rentals and snowshoes are available. CCSAA member

Swan Mountain Ranch has panoramic views and great outdoor activities in northwest Montana glacier country with an abundance of wilderness and wildlife. (406-886-3900, www.swanmountainranch.com). With 30 km of groomed trails and many miles of backcountry skiing, there are 1.5 million acres of playground in the area. A separate cabin that accommodates 16 people and pack trips, llama treks, photo safaris, float trips, hunting, fishing, also.

Glacier National Park provides a natural cross-country skiing and snowshoeing paradise. Here the unplowed park roads and trails provide kilometer after kilometer of ungroomed passages. Check with the communications center (406-888-5441, www.nps.gov/glac) or the park rangers for weather and snow conditions.

Glaciers' Mountain Resort (406-387-5712; 877-213-8001, www.glaciersmountainresort.com) in West Glacier, MT has furnished log cabin accommodations only five minutes from the entrance to Glacier National Park. The views are spectacular and winter recreation abounds.

Stillwater Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, MT (888-205-7786, www.stillwatermtnlodge.com) provides seclusion, groomed trails on ridge tops and lakeshores for classic and skate xc skiing, in the Stillwater State Forest and Murray Lake. It has 20 km of groomed xc skiing and 3.5 that are dog friendly. Near Glacier National Park and Big Mountain Alpine Ski Resort. CCSAA

Big Mountain Nordic Center (406-862-2900, www.bigmtn.com) is adjacent to the Outpost Lodge (bottom of Chair 6) and has 15 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing. There is no trail fee for children 6 and younger. Downhill ski pass holders can use the cross-country trails for free. Trail passes, maps and rentals are available at the Outpost Lodge or the Big Mountain Sports in the base village.

Grouse Mountain Lodge (406-862-9498, www.montanasfinest.com ) in Whitefish has 15 km of groomed cross-country trails at the local golf course and night skiing with 2.4 km lighted . Contact Outback Ski Shack.