B Bar Ranch Cross Country Ski Area
During the winter, the Tom Miner Basin and surrounding mountainsides receive a 2-to-6-foot blanket of snow. That's when the B Bar Ranch opens for lodging and guests. Among the many winter activities they offer, there's 30 kilometers of groomed trails for cross-country skiers, snowshoers and wildlife watchers to enjoy. They maintain classic tracks and skate-ski lanes daily. The climate ensures blue wax conditions for much of the winter. With advanced notice and an additional charge, B Bar Ranch even offers ski lessons on the ranch and guided ski and snowshoe tours.
Accommodations include 6 A-frame cabins that comfortably sleep 4 each while the main lodge offers 2 large rooms upstairs and a master suite downstairs, all with private baths and spectacular views. The healthful and eclectic gourmet meals served in the spacious and historic dining room (this was the original homestead house, the rest of the lodge was built around it) include ranch-raised organic vegetables and, sometimes, ranch-raised natural beef. With advanced notice and an additional charge, special diets and custom menus are available.
In winter, the ranch offers excellent retreat and workshop facilities, accommodating groups of 12 to 40. Contact B Bar Ranch for more information. The ranch also offers excellent opportunities to see and photograph wildlife like elk, moose, gray wolves, mule deer and wolverines.
There are three primary trail systems on the ranch:
- Willow Way, the easiest route, a 6.5-kilometer route through willows, open meadows and a distinctive grove of aspens to the Anderson Trail which heads slightly downhill and straight back to ranch headquarters
- Skully Trail System, the intermediate route, heads west from headquarters past a pond and between the aspens to connect with Tini's Revenge:, which offers a 400-foot climb over 0.3 kilometers to the Skully Tent. From there folks can either enjoy the fast descent back down that hill or continue further on either the Mountain Lion Run or the Skully Loop trails through timbered and rolling terrain
- Reed Sawmill Trail is the most challenging series of trails with up to 10-kilometers of trail in the round trip. The route ascends through summer pastures to the Middle Creek drainage, then continues climbing to the Sawmill Cabin at 7,400 feet. Along the way are beautiful views of Emigrant Peak, Paradise Valley and the lower portions of Tom Miner Basin.
The ranch has numerous pairs of snowshoes for kids and adults but no ski rentals. The nearest ski equipment rental shop is in Livingston or in Bozeman. The ranch shares a boundary line with Yellowstone National Park and many guests ski or snowshoe over there to check out the views and the wildlife. By road, it's 26 miles to the park entrance in Gardiner (and the road between Gardiner, Mammoth and Cooke City remains open in winter).
To get there: On US 89, 36 miles south of Livingston and 17 miles north of Gardiner, turn west on Tom Miner Creek Road (near mile marker 17). Cross the Yellowstone River and turn left at the "T." Go 7.5 miles to the B Bar Ranch entrance on the right side of the road. Turn in and go a mile to the ranch headquarters. You will probably want a 4WD vehicle in this area in the winter.
Tom Miner Basin
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!