THE ARRIVAL OF AUTUMN is not only a final reminder that warm weather is on the way out and winter is right around the corner, but it's also another one of the many reasons Montanans proudly boast that Montana is the “Last Best Place.” In addition to fly fishing, day hikes, and all-around outdoor fun; here are a few other ideas to get you outside enjoying the Big Sky State.
Horseback Riding – Fall is an amazing time of year to saddle up a horse and explore some of Montana’s remote wilderness areas. With miles upon miles of trail to cover there is nearly no limit to the amount of country you can take in. Here in Big Sky there are quite a few quality outfitters and ranches that offer a wide array of trail ride options from short 2 hour rides to longer full day and overnight pack trips. A few notable ones in the area are 320 Ranch, Lone Mountain Ranch, and Jakes Horses. Using an outfitter like 320 Ranch is a great way to take advantage of Montana’s beauty since their guided rides take you to secluded destinations like Ramshorn Lake (picture below). Add a few cowboys/cowgirls as your guides and you’re sure to be thoroughly entertained.
Football – While beautiful fall foliage and autumn go hand in hand, autumn for many marks the beginning of football season, tailgating, and cool weather fun. With 2 major in-state rivals just 3 hours apart, you’re sure to find a great game most any Saturday during the fall. The Montana State Bobcats located in beautiful Bozeman, MT (currently ranked #2 in the country in FCS rankings), have the reputation of being ferocious competitors. Further west down I-90, the University of Montana Grizzlies call Missoula home. Touting recent conference titles, the Grizzlies are a perennial powerhouse which always adds a little something extra to the annual in-state rivalry game “Cat/Griz” at the end of every season. This year the Grizzlies are hosting the matchup on November 17th, so watch out if you’re in Missoula that weekend, it can get pretty crazy.
Mountain Biking – The arrival of cooler temps and morning frosts, autumn is a spectacular time of year to get out on your bike and explore some of Montana’s amazing trails. When hitting the trails in the fall you’ll benefit from the cool crisp air and tacky trails on the descent. Don’t worry if the uphill pedaling part is a slight deterrent; Big Sky Resort has you covered with miles of lift accessed downhill mountain biking to keep you occupied for days. But if cross-country riding is your cup of tea, check in with a local shop like Big Sky Sports for tips on what trails are riding well or for an assortment of great maps detailing different rides in the area. And if you’re looking to end your season on a strong note, there are quite a few longer rides in the area to meet your needs. 320 Ranch to Porcupine Creek is an amazing 16 mile shuttle ride that takes you deep into the backcountry and offers not only an amazing destination, Ramshorn Lake (as mentioned above), but over 7 miles of unbelievable downhill single track that will have you planning your return as soon as you finish.