The town of Wise River features about 150 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, and is truly a winter wonderland. This town touches the northern edge of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the largest national forest in Montana. Surrounded by seemingly endless nature, the Wise River Snowmobile Trail, also known as the Elkhorn Hot Springs Snowmobile Trail, is a great way to enjoy some peaceful solitude and pristine snow with your canine companion. Throughout this forest, you’ll find backcountry lakes, high plateaus, and plenty of open meadows your pup will love to romp around in.
The northern trailhead to the Wise River Snowmobile Trail can be found on the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, just 7 miles south of Wise River. Free roadside parking can also be found here. The trail then follows the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway to the top of the Price Creek divide. From here, it skirts the old Wise River Polaris Road to Elkhorn Hot Springs. As the name implies, this trail is great for snowmobiling, but is also pawpular for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The trail is mostly groomed, but you may want to call the National Forest Office to confirm the trail conditions. Dogs are welcome to join in on the fun, as long as they stay under voice control and are picked up after.
There are very few amenities on this backcountry trail, so be sure to bring your own supplies, and pack out what you packed in, including water and clean up bags. You’ll be able to find more amenities in the town of Elkhorn Hot Springs, at the end of the trail. This town is a rustic getaway off the beaten path, where you can find lodging, indoor hot springs, amenities, and great mountain views. Dogs are not allowed in the hot springs, but if you can arrange doggy day care, it may be a great way to thaw your bones and relax your tired muscles.
The Wise River Snowmobile Trail is gorgeous in any season! If you and your pup are looking for some heart-pumping exercise in the fresh, Montana mountain air, this is the place to go!