If you’re an avid skier, it’s likely that, by the time spring has sprung and the slopes shut down, you experience what many locals refer to as the “mud season blues”. However, this year, make a point of beating those muddy blues with some mad, muddy fun! Here’s three things to try during this year’s mud season that are also within convenient distance of 320 Guest Ranch. This equates to the opportunity for springtime fun, while also able to use the Ranch as a home base where you can de-mud-ify, kick-back, and relax at the end of the day.
Springtime is without a doubt thebesttime to go mountain biking in Yellowstone National Park. In the earliest months of spring – around late March and early April – the roads remain closed to vehicle traffic and open only to bikers. E-bikes are now allowed on Yellowstone Park roads right alongside good, ol’ fashioned bikes without batteries. So whichever suits your mountain biking fancy is fair game for use in the Park. Actually, if you’ve never tried mountain biking on an e-bike, we highly recommend you give it a go. Nearby outfitters in Big Sky’s meadow village will rent out mountain e-bikes and road e-bikes for half-day or sometimes even overnight rates. Since you can cover more distance more quickly on an e-bike, taking a test drive is a great way to experience more of the 49 miles of Park roads open to bikers this time of year. Maps and suggested rides and loops are available on the Spring & Fall bicycling page of the Park’s website.
When staying at the 320 Guest Ranch, fly fishing is a viable and convenient outdoor activity for every season. Fly fishing in the springtime presents some major benefits not as inherent to other seasons. First and foremost, the weather this time of year is mild and beautiful. This perfect weather, of course, only lasts for a couple of months; so, it’s prudent to take advantage after frozen winter days have passed, and before the humid days of summer are upon us. Moreover, there is the benefit of snowmelt reaching an apex in late spring. The Gallatin River swells causing flow to become higher and faster. Increase in height and speed of the water encourages the return of southwest Montana’s native wild trout species. In other words, this time of year brings LOTS of fish, meaning LOTS greater chance of catching a fish. Stay in one of 320 Ranch’s Riverfront Log Cabins, and literally all you’ll need to do to start off a day of fly fishing is walk out the Cabin door!
Big Sky’s Gallatin River offers the chance for whitewater rafting at every level. Depending on time of year or where on the river you choose to raft determines what level of rafting you’ll be experiencing. To give you a super clear idea, here’s a description of different sections excerpted from Visit Big Sky’s whitewater rafting page:
- LOWER GALLATIN RIVER: Scenic float trip;gentle cruise. Easy-peezy and gorgeous. Class I – II
- UPPER GALLATIN RIVER: Not as rough, but definitely wet! Class II – III.
- MID-GALLATIN RIVER: Most exciting. Class III – IV. For the wildest ride on this section of the river, and for an unforgettable experience, you can ask any Big Sky outfitter (or ask us!)about the “Mad, Mad Mile”. This is a mile-long strip along this middle section which local rafting enthusiasts love.
For the same reason that fly fishing is great mud-season fun – the higher, faster river flow – so too is whitewater rafting. Snowmelt doesn’t have to mean the end of all fun to be had. Yes, Big Sky is a “ski town”, but, as you’ve read, it’s also a fly fishing, rafting, and biking town. And these three activities are unbelievably wonderful to try on for size in springtime. Less crowds, magnificently mild weather, and those classic Big Sky blue bird days – well, it’s certainly a favorite season of ours, and we hope soon to be a favorite season of yours too.