Winter

Hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails, premier ice fishing, cross country skiing and snow shoeing are all available right from Grandma’s Cabin. Winter is a great time of year to visit Island Park with over 250 inches of light, fluffy snow on average every year. And after a long day out in the cold, a hot fire and warm meal are always minutes away at the cabin.

Winter Activities

Snowmobiling

This is one of the premier snowmobile areas in the West. Visitors will find over 600 miles of groomed trails in the Targhee National Forest and when you count in the Gallatin National Forest in Montana, there are 900 miles of groomed snowmobile trails at your disposal. The area offers a wide range trails to meet the demands of beginning, intermediate and experienced riders.

Island Park is consistently rated in the top three snowmobile destinations by SnoWest Magazine’s “Top 15 Trails In The West.” The Island Park Area Snowmobile Trail Map will show you how to get around and the Fremont County Grooming Report will give you updated trail conditions.

There is plenty of parking room for trailers at the cabin so visitors can bring their own sleds or rent from the local snowmobile rental operators right in Last Chance just minutes from Grandma’s Cabin. Give us a call or send an e-mail if you would like help with your arrangements.

Cross Country Skiing

Visitors can ski right out of the cabin or visit any of the many trail systems around Island Park

  • Harriman State Park 5 miles south of the cabin on Highway 20. There is a total of 24 miles of trails for skiing and snowshoeing, 19 miles are groomed with tracks, and 12 miles of these trails are groomed for skating or ski on one of the Park & Ski trails.
  • The Brimstone Trail/Buffalo River Trail ski area is located approximately 5 miles north from Grandma’s Cabin on Highway 20 near the Island Park Ranger Station. The terrain varies from gentle grades to downhill. The nine miles of trail offer scenic views of the Island Park Reservoir, Box Canyon and Buffalo River with opportunities for all levels of skiing ability. The Buffalo River trail is 2.6 miles long.
  • Fall River Ridge Park N’ Ski is located 10 miles east of Ashton on the Cave Falls Road. The various loops are suitable for beginner and intermediate use. Nearly seven miles of trails make up this area, which is groomed periodically when funding and weather conditions permit.
  • The Bear Gulch/Mesa Falls ski area is located seven miles northeast of Ashton on Mesa Falls Forest Highway 47. The trail parallels the snowmobile trail out to the spectacular Lower and Upper Mesa Falls. (You can also access this trail from Grandma’s Cabin in Island Park by snowmobile.) The trail then branches away from the snowmobile trail and travels along the canyon rim, then returns to the trailhead. This trail is recommended for intermediate and advanced skiers because of the steep climb in the first mile. The trail is nearly nine miles long and is groomed periodically when funding and weather conditions permit.
  • The Rendezvous Trail System in West Yellowstone, Montana is not to be missed. The area consists of over 35 kilometers of gently rolling, beautifully groomed trails that wind through tall stands of lodgepole pine and open meadows. The trail system is unique because of its location at a high altitude adjacent to the Continental Divide, which produces early and late season snows. The trail system is also super user-friendly. The initial flat terrain and gently rolling hill are great for beginners Subsequent loops and optional cut-offs mean the course is never boring or predictable. You create your own route by linking together different loops from 0.9 to 7.3 KM each. A children’s play hill and local tele hill are also incorporated into the system. Volunteer and Windy Ridge Loops are designed to challenge experienced skiers.

Backcountry Opportunities

Visitors can leave right from Grandma’s Cabin into the Targhee National Forest. Make sure to watch for wildlife and the occasional coyote or fox along Blue Creek!

Bring your own ski or snowshoes or rent from Henry’s Fork Anglers in Last Chance or at Free Heel and Wheel in West Yellowstone. Free Heel and Wheel also offers private, individual or group lessons as well as guided and custom ski trips. Pick up and drop off arrangements can be made if necessary so just ask us at Grandma’s Cabin.

Fishing

Year-round fishing keeps anglers busy around here, and winter is no exception. Island Park Reservoir, Henry’s Lake and Hebgen Lake provide excellent ice fishing, and fishing is also open year-round on the Upper Henry’s Fork or “Box Canyon” area, the Middle Henry’s Fork and the Madison River.

Yellowstone in Winter

Yellowstone is open in the winter through commercially guided snowcoach or snowmobile tours that travel over snow-covered roads and take visitors for a full day tour of Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Snowmobile travelers in Yellowstone National Park will be accompanied by an authorized guide and ride on the cleaner and quieter 4-stroke snowmobiles. A full day guided tour allows time to stop at the points of interest, catch the breath taking views, take some incredible Yellowstone photos, and do some wildlife watching along the way.

Snowcoach travelers will ride in an enclosed, “heated” vehicle much like a van or bus. Tours provide you with an experienced interpretive guide to enhance your Yellowstone experience as you view the abundant wildlife and thermal features. We’ve got plenty of information at the cabin to help you plan a Yellowstone snowmobile or snowcoach trip.

Don’t limit your self to just a Snowcoach ride. Take your cross country skis with you and ski the Biscuit Basin area to Old Faithful or ski the following trails right from the town of West Yellowstone. Yellowstone’s Riverside Ski Trail is located right from Boundary Street in West Yellowstone or through the West Entrance. This trail has a great view of the Madison River and Mt. Holmes.

A great Yellowstone National Park Ranger Led Program is available by calling (307) 344-2876.

Birdwatching

Start your own Great Backyard Bird Count Checklist right here at Grandma’s Cabin by looking for the Morning Doves, Ruffed Grouse, Sandhill Cranes, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, Downey Woodpecker, Steller’s Jays, Bald Eagles, Cassin’s Finch, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and more. The Backyard Birdcount is also for kids!

These nearby areas also provide excellent birdwatching opportunities:

Shopping in the Area

There are lots of unique gifts in Island Park, but the closest place for real shopping is West Yellowstone, Montana. You will find just about any gift you can imagine in the shops of West Yellowstone. There are several bookstores and countless souvenir shops. For some special gifts, check out the gift shops at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center or the Yellowstone Historic Museum at the Union Depot Building.

There are also many great espresso shops and plenty of places to eat in West Yellowstone, which is just 45 minutes northeast of Grandma’s Cabin.

For those folks looking for something a little less hectic, a drive to Ennis, Montana might be in order. Ennis is a small town on the Madison River and has several neat shops downtown. Check out the antique stores, fishing shops, and Restvedt’s for the best jerky in Montana!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is another great destination for those who want to some great shopping. Make sure to sit in the saddles at the Cowboy Bar before leaving town. It’s a great place to stop on your day trip to the Tetons.