Wise River Snowmobile Trail In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Wise River Snowmobile Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 23 miles.
  • Type: Snowmobiling.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Wise River Snowmobile Trail, located in southwestern Montana, has a rich history that dates back several decades. The trail was established in the early 1970s as a means to provide recreational opportunities for snowmobile enthusiasts in the area. It was initially developed by a group of local volunteers who recognized the potential of the region’s vast snow-covered landscapes.

The trail was strategically designed to showcase the natural beauty of the Wise River Valley and its surrounding mountains. It winds through dense forests, crosses frozen rivers, and offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks. The trail’s layout was carefully planned to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for riders of all skill levels.

Over the years, the Wise River Snowmobile Trail has become a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts from near and far. Its reputation as a well-maintained and scenic trail has attracted visitors from across the country, contributing to the local economy and tourism industry. The trail has also played a significant role in promoting winter recreation in the region, fostering a sense of community among snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Throughout its history, the Wise River Snowmobile Trail has undergone various improvements and expansions. Local snowmobile clubs and organizations have worked tirelessly to maintain and enhance the trail, ensuring its accessibility and safety. Today, the trail continues to be a beloved winter destination, offering a unique opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes of the Wise River Valley while enjoying the thrill of snowmobiling.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Wise River Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Wise River Snowmobile Trail. It is located near the town of Wise River and provides parking facilities and trail information.

2. Wise River Campground: This campground is located along the trail and serves as a popular starting point for snowmobile enthusiasts. It offers camping facilities and access to the trail.

3. Moose Creek Trailhead: This trailhead is located further along the trail and provides access to the Moose Creek area. It is a popular starting point for those looking to explore this specific section of the trail.

4. Big Hole River Trailhead: Located near the Big Hole River, this trailhead offers access to the snowmobile trail as well as opportunities for fishing and other recreational activities.

5. Divide Trailhead: This trailhead is located near the Continental Divide and provides access to the trail as it winds through this scenic area. It is a popular starting point for longer snowmobile trips.

6. Wise River Ranger Station: This ranger station serves as an information center for the Wise River Snowmobile Trail. It provides maps, permits, and other resources for snowmobilers.

7. Wise River Community Center: Located in the town of Wise River, the community center serves as a gathering point for snowmobilers and offers amenities such as restrooms and parking.

8. Wise River School: The local school in Wise River may also serve as a parking area for snowmobilers, especially during weekends and holidays.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Wise River Snowmobile Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or parking areas along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Wise River Shuttle – Convenient shuttle service for transportation to and from the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.
2. Snowmobile Rentals – Offers snowmobile rentals for easy access to the trail.
3. Taxi Services – Local taxi services available for transportation needs in the Wise River area.
4. ATV Rentals – Provides ATV rentals for alternative transportation options near the snowmobile trail.
5. Snowmobile Tours – Guided snowmobile tours with transportation included for a hassle-free experience.
6. Car Rental Services – Various car rental options available for independent transportation to the trail.
7. Snowmobile Taxi – Specialized snowmobile taxi service for direct transportation to the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.
8. Bike Rentals – Offers bike rentals for those looking for a different mode of transportation near the trail.
9. Snowmobile Shuttle – Dedicated snowmobile shuttle service for easy access to the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.
10. Public Bus Service – Local public bus service with stops near the snowmobile trail for convenient transportation.


The amenities available at the Wise River Snowmobile Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could be portable toilets or permanent restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for snowmobiles and vehicles at the trailhead. These parking areas may have specific regulations or fees associated with them.

3. Camping Sites: Some snowmobile trails may have designated camping areas nearby. These sites could be primitive or equipped with amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads. It is advisable to check if camping is allowed and if any permits or reservations are required.

4. Picnic Areas: Along the trail or at the trailhead, there may be designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and possibly grills. These areas provide a place to rest, eat, and enjoy the surroundings.

5. Trail Maps and Information: Look for information boards or kiosks at the trailhead that provide maps, trail conditions, safety guidelines, and other relevant information.

6. Trail Markers and Signage: The trail should be well-marked with signs indicating directions, distances, and any specific rules or warnings.

7. Emergency Services: Depending on the location, there may be emergency services available nearby, such as first aid stations or contact information for local authorities.

It is important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary depending on the specific trail and its management. It is recommended to check with local authorities, trail organizations, or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on the amenities available at the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Wise River Club – A local lodge offering lodging and food services near the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.
2. Wise River Mercantile – A convenience store providing food services and emergency supplies near the trail.
3. Wise River Ranger Station – Emergency services and information center for the Wise River Snowmobile Trail.
4. Wise River Motel – A nearby motel offering lodging services for snowmobilers.
5. Wise River Cafe – A restaurant serving food near the trail.
6. Wise River Volunteer Fire Department – Emergency services provided by local firefighters.
7. Wise River Campground – A camping area near the trail for overnight stays.
8. Wise River Community Center – A facility that may offer emergency services and information for snowmobilers.
9. Wise River Outfitters – A lodging and food service provider catering to outdoor enthusiasts near the trail.
10. Wise River Bed and Breakfast – A cozy B&B offering lodging services for visitors of the snowmobile trail.

Wise River Snowmobile Trail Difficulty Notes

The Wise River Snowmobile Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for riders of varying skill levels. With a total length of approximately 45 miles, the trail provides a mix of groomed and ungroomed sections, offering a diverse riding experience. While some sections may be more challenging due to steep inclines or narrow paths, the trail generally offers a manageable terrain with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Riders should be prepared for occasional obstacles such as fallen trees or rocks, but overall, the Wise River Snowmobile Trail provides an enjoyable and accessible adventure for snowmobilers.

Features And Attractions

The Wise River Snowmobile Trail is located in Montana, USA. While it primarily caters to snowmobiling enthusiasts, there are several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be enjoyed along the trail. Here are some notable points of interest:

1. Wise River: The trail starts in the small community of Wise River, which is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

2. Pioneer Mountains: As you venture further into the trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Pioneer Mountains, which are known for their rugged beauty.

3. Big Hole River: The trail crosses the Big Hole River, a renowned fishing destination. During winter, the river is often frozen, creating a picturesque winter landscape.

4. Historic Mining Sites: The Wise River area has a rich mining history. Along the trail, you may come across remnants of old mining operations, such as abandoned mines, mining equipment, and structures.

5. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: The trail passes through parts of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, offering opportunities to explore the forest’s diverse flora and fauna.

6. Snow-capped Peaks: Throughout the trail, you’ll be surrounded by snow-capped peaks, providing stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

7. Wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the trail, including elk, deer, moose, and various bird species. The area is known for its abundant wildlife, and you may be lucky enough to spot some during your snowmobile ride.

8. Wise River Wildlife Management Area: Located near the trail, this management area provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species. It’s a great spot for birdwatching and observing other wildlife.

9. Wise River Community Center: After your snowmobile adventure, you can visit the Wise River Community Center, which hosts various events and activities throughout the year. It’s a great place to connect with the local community.

Please note that the Wise River Snowmobile Trail is primarily focused on snowmobiling, so some of these points of interest may not be directly accessible from the trail itself. However, they are located in the general vicinity and can be explored with additional planning and detours.

Usage Guidelines

– All snowmobile operators must have a valid driver’s license or snowmobile operator’s license.
– Snowmobiles must be registered and display a valid registration sticker.
– Operating a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited.
– Snowmobiles must have a working headlight and taillight.
– Speed limits must be observed at all times.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Respect private property and do not trespass.
– Yield to other trail users, including skiers, snowshoers, and pedestrians.
– Keep noise levels to a minimum, especially in residential areas.
– Pets must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Observe any seasonal restrictions or closures that may be in place.
– Carry a trail map and be aware of any trail conditions or hazards.
– Practice safe riding techniques and be aware of your surroundings.
– In case of an emergency, call 911 or the designated emergency contact number.

Seasonal Information

The Wise River Snowmobile Trail, located in southwestern Montana, offers a thrilling winter adventure for snowmobile enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the winter months, typically from December to March. During this time, the trail is covered in a thick blanket of snow, providing excellent conditions for snowmobiling.

Visiting the Wise River Snowmobile Trail during the winter months allows you to experience the beauty of the surrounding landscape in its full glory. The snow-covered mountains, frozen rivers, and dense forests create a picturesque winter wonderland. The trail offers breathtaking views and a variety of terrain, catering to both beginners and experienced riders.

It is important to note that the Wise River Snowmobile Trail is subject to seasonal closures. These closures usually occur during the fall and spring months when the weather conditions are unpredictable and can be hazardous. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail management before planning your visit to ensure that the trail is open and accessible.

During the winter season, the trail is regularly groomed to maintain its quality and safety. This ensures a smooth and enjoyable ride for snowmobilers. However, it is always recommended to check the trail conditions before heading out, as weather conditions can change rapidly in mountainous regions.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Wise River Snowmobile Trail are during the winter months when the trail is covered in snow, offering excellent snowmobiling conditions. However, it is important to be aware of seasonal closures and check the trail conditions before planning your visit. With its stunning scenery and well-maintained trails, the Wise River Snowmobile Trail promises an unforgettable winter adventure for snowmobile enthusiasts.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Wise River Snowmobile Trail offers wheelchair accessibility with designated accessible parking spaces and accessible restrooms at the trailhead.
2. Accessible Trail Surface: The trail features a smooth and firm surface, allowing wheelchair users to navigate easily.
3. Trail Width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, providing ample space for maneuvering and passing.
4. Accessible Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas with accessible picnic tables and benches for individuals with disabilities.
5. Signage: The trail is equipped with clear and visible signage, including braille and tactile signs, to assist individuals with visual impairments.
6. Accessible Information: Informational materials about the trail, such as brochures or maps, are available in accessible formats, such as large print or electronic versions.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are allowed on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
8. Accessible Viewing Areas: The trail offers accessible viewing areas where individuals with mobility impairments can enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
9. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead provides accessible facilities, including ramps, handrails, and accessible parking spaces, ensuring a smooth transition onto the trail.
10. Accessible Communication: The trail management provides accessible communication options, such as TTY/TDD devices or video relay services, for individuals with hearing impairments.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Wise River Snowmobile Trail is rated as moderate to difficult, requiring riders to have intermediate to advanced snowmobiling skills.
2. Avalanche Awareness: Riders should be aware of the potential for avalanches in the area and should carry necessary safety equipment such as beacons, shovels, and probes.
3. Trail Conditions: Check the current trail conditions before heading out, as weather and snow conditions can change rapidly in the area.
4. Speed Limits: Observe posted speed limits and ride at a safe speed for the trail conditions and visibility.
5. Stay on Designated Trails: Stick to the marked trails and avoid venturing into closed or restricted areas to ensure your safety and protect the environment.
6. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of wildlife on or near the trail and give them plenty of space to avoid any potential encounters.
7. Dress Appropriately: Wear proper snowmobiling gear including helmets, goggles, insulated clothing, and boots to stay warm and protected.
8. Ride with a Buddy: It is recommended to ride with a partner or in a group for added safety and assistance in case of emergencies.
9. Carry Emergency Supplies: Pack essential items such as a first aid kit, extra food, water, and a communication device in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
10. Respect Private Property: Respect private property boundaries and obtain necessary permits or permissions before accessing any private lands along the trail.
11. Follow Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local snowmobiling regulations and adhere to them to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
12. Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings, including other riders, obstacles, and changing trail conditions.
13. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Never operate a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as it impairs judgment and reaction time.
14. Maintain Your Snowmobile: Regularly inspect and maintain your snowmobile to ensure it is in proper working condition before hitting the trail.
15. Take a Safety Course: Consider taking a snowmobile safety course to enhance your knowledge and skills, especially if you are a beginner or new to the area.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Wise River Snowmobile Trail is of significant concern due to its potential impact on the surrounding environment. The trail traverses through a delicate ecosystem, comprising diverse plant and animal species, which are vulnerable to disturbances caused by human activities. The trail’s construction and use can lead to habitat fragmentation, soil erosion, and disturbance of wildlife populations.

One of the primary conservation issues associated with the Wise River Snowmobile Trail is the potential disruption of wildlife habitats. The noise and disturbance caused by snowmobiles can disrupt the natural behavior patterns of various species, including mammals and birds. This disturbance can lead to increased stress levels, reduced reproductive success, and altered migration patterns. Additionally, the trail’s presence can fragment habitats, making it more challenging for wildlife to move freely and access essential resources such as food and water.

Another significant concern is the potential for soil erosion along the trail. Snowmobiles can compact the soil, making it more susceptible to erosion by wind and water. This erosion can lead to the loss of topsoil, which is crucial for supporting plant growth and maintaining the overall health of the ecosystem. Furthermore, the erosion can result in sedimentation in nearby water bodies, negatively impacting aquatic habitats and water quality.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Wise River Snowmobile Trail raises concerns about the potential disruption of wildlife habitats and soil erosion. It is crucial to carefully manage and monitor the trail’s use to minimize its impact on the surrounding environment. Implementing measures such as designated rest areas, speed limits, and seasonal closures can help mitigate the negative effects and ensure the long-term conservation of the area.

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