Come Ride Our Trails!
We are truly blessed with some incredible terrain and trails here in northwest Montana. The FSA maintains and grooms three trail systems in the Flathead Valley. Over 200 miles of trails are groomed regularly.
New this year, we have partnered with Trail Treker to provide our maps electronically on your Smartphone. The GPS-enabled map is loaded into the Trail Treker app (one-time $2 purchase) and you will get all three maps free of charge with your paid membership to the FSA. Normally each map is $2, so you are getting a $6 value! By using Trail Treker, you can always see exactly where you are on the map (without cell phone coverage); the entire map is cached on your phone and there is no need for phone or data service while on the trail. You can also record your ride paths, distances, speeds, and points of interest while on the trail. Trail Treker and the electronic maps will be available October 1st.
If you want to check out the maps now, just download the PDFs below for any of our maps.
REMEMBER! You need a Trail Pass to ride Montana Trails. Every dollar collected for trail passes goes into trail maintenance. Scroll down for more info!
Notice: Fitzsimmons Trailhead
The Fitzsimmons Trailhead and road up to the Trailhead is extremely icy and dangerous. In the past, a number of rigs have slid off the road and caused blockages--therefore, we strongly advise using chains. The Trailhead parking lot is also one of the smallest and as such cannot easily handle large trailers. We recommend that rigs with large trailers use the other Trailheads.
Riding the back of Big Mountain, this trail system has some of the best on and off trail riding available in the area. A spur trail will also take you to the top of Big Mountain where you can have lunch at the Summit House run by Whitefish Resort.
Desert Mountain is a fun day or half day ride. When clear, you can see all the way to Big Mountain and down to Flathead Lake from the top of the mountain. A second trail loops through wilderness terrain with some spectacular vistas. There are no services/restrooms on this trail.
The Crane Mountain Trail is an often overlooked gem of a trail that connects Ferndale to the lower end of Swan Lake. A separate spur trail goes up to Mission Well that can offer some incredible powder riding after a fresh snow. There are no services/restrooms on this trail.
Other Info and Links
Avalanche Beacon / Transceiver Reviews - Good unbiased information. We recommend that all persons riding our trails wear a beacon--you may not ride off trail, but there are slide areas on/around our trails. Click Here to View Site
SPOT Groomer Tracking - Check out which trails have been groomed and when!
Canyon Creek: Click Here to View Recent Tracks
Big Mtn - Olney Groomer: Click Here to View Recent Tracks (has not gone out as of Dec 27--scheduling in progress--check back)
Crane/Porcupine Mountain: Porcupine and Crane were groomed in three different outings because our groomer had an equipment failure on the first two tries. But all of the trails have been groomed and will be groomed again in February. The Porcupine section saw new snow almost immediately after grooming.
Desert Mountain was groomed in early January and the section going to the top by the radio towers was groomed the last week of Jan. All sections will be groomed again in Feb.
NOTE: Crane/Porcupine and Desert Mtn get groomed once per month via contract groomer as funding permits.
The Official FSA Facebook Site - Check out the latest musings and happenings on Facebook and be sure to Like our page!!! We will frequently post last minute updates on the Facebook site. Click Here to View Facebook Page
Snowmobile Registration and Trail Pass Info
Snowmobiles operating on public land must be registered and display decals placed in a conspicuous space on the left side of the cowling. Registration is different for Montana residents and nonresidents.
See details below.
Montana residents must register their snowmobiles at the County Treasurer's office in the county where the owner resides. This is a one-time registration and valid until the current owner sells the snowmobile.
Resident Trail Pass
Residents must also purchase a Trail Pass to ride on any of the 4000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Trail Passes are valid for three seasons and are $18. Trail Passes apply to all “mechanized equipment” including; snowmobiles, motorized snow bikes, and bicycles.
Resident Trail Pass FAQs
We ask that anyone using groomed snowmobile trails for recreation—please contribute and purchase the Trail Pass. The revenues go directly to grooming the trails. PDF link to FAQ
Nonresidents who plan to ride their snowmobiles and motorized snow bikes in Montana must purchase a Snowmobile Nonresident Temporary Use Permit for $25 per machine.
Where to Purchase a Permit or Trail Pass
Purchase Locally - You can purchase a Nonresident Temporary Use Permit or a Resident Trail Pass at any of the vendors in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming. Click Here for Vendor List
Apply Online - You may apply for your Resident Trail Pass or Nonresident Snowmobile Permit through the Montana Online Licensing System.
Note: A separate company administrates this system for the state and collects a convenience fee. We recommend you simply visit a local vendor and purchase your pass(es) from them.
Tip for visitors from out of state:
Unlike many other states, it is unlawful to ride snowmobiles on many regularly plowed roads in Montana!
MCA 23-2-631 states that snowmobiles may operate on maintained streets, roads, or highways only if:
Montana Snowmobile Handbook
provides great information on all the rules and tips for safe snowmobiling.