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Izaak Walton Nordic Trails | Essex, Montana

Winter Recreation Area
Backcountry skier heads out to tour around Essex. – Sheena Pate

Izaak Walton Inn grooms a 33-kilometer network of nordic trails for skate and classic skiing along this narrow band of civilization between Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness. This is one of Montana's finest cross-country ski destinations, offering consistently good snow. A dream vacation for many is to take Amtrak to this lonely outpost in Essex, Montana.

The Lodge provides rental gear, a warm fire, and a hot toddy for weary skiiers. After a day in the snow, fine food awaits winter visitors in the main lodge, a mountain lodge constructed in 1939 by the Great Northern Railroad to house winter snow removal crews.

The Lodge hosts an annual ski festival and snow rodeo.

Best Access and Parking Area

Izaak Walton Inn and trails can be accessed from HWY 2 or Amtrak's Empire Builder.

Rules and Regulations

Trail Passes: Ski passes are included with room rentals. If you're visiting for the day purchase ski passes at Izaak Walton Inn.

Pet Friendly Notes: Dogs aren't permitted, except on the western edge on a shared-use trail, often ungroomed, that extends into Dickey Basin. Beware of avalanches in the upper basin.

Trail System

Trails wind through gently rolling forested terrain located mostly on National Forest land with views into Glacier National Park. 30% rated easiest, 50% more difficult, and 20% most difficult.


Approximate Operation Season

Year-round: Summer- Hiking Trails Winter- Nordic and Snowshoe Trails

Nearby Places