Discovery Basin and Georgetown Lake Trails

Anaconda, Montana

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High in the Anaconda Mountain Range of western Montana, skiers find a remote set of backcountry trails popular for the cold snow, sheltered terrain, and unique history. The area was first developed through silver and copper mining operations, thus the name of the nearby alpine ski area, Discovery Basin. The area was once the focus of a corrupt political battle between frontier towns vying to become Montana’s state cap- ital. Millionaire Marcus Daly pushed for his company town, Anaconda, at the foot of the mountains, while rival William Andrews Clark fought for Helena. Free drinks, cigars, and dollars flowed to voters and resulted in the 1894 decision for Helena. Anaconda’s landmark copper smelter and tailings became a Superfund cleanup site and today is capped by a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Several trails depart from the base of Discovery Basin Ski Area. Trails primarily follow old logging roads and begin at 6,850 feet elevation with a groomed loop where skate skiers do daily laps. Beginners find the gentle terrain, cold snow, and grooming suitable for learning. Surface quality: 4 kilometers of groomed skate and 36 kilometers of skier-groomed classic.
Winter Trails: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Winter Trails: Montana

by Jean Arthur (The Globe Pequot Press)

High in the Anaconda Mountain Range of western Montana, skiers find a remote set of backcountry trails popular for the cold snow, sheltered terrain, and unique history. The area was first developed through silver and copper mining operations, thus the name of the nearby alpine ski area, Discovery Basin.

The area was once the focus of a corrupt political battle between frontier towns vying to become Montana’s state cap- ital. Millionaire Marcus Daly pushed for his company town, Anaconda, at the foot of the mountains, while rival William Andrews Clark fought for Helena. Free drinks, cigars, and dollars flowed to voters and resulted in the 1894 decision for Helena. Anaconda’s landmark copper smelter and tailings became a Superfund cleanup site and today is capped by a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Several trails depart from the base of Discovery Basin Ski Area. Trails primarily follow old logging roads and begin at 6,850 feet elevation with a groomed loop where skate skiers do daily laps. Beginners find the gentle terrain, cold snow, and grooming suitable for learning. Surface quality: 4 kilometers of groomed skate and 36 kilometers of skier-groomed classic.

©  Jean Arthur/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Anaconda
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Duration: Day use
Trailhead Elevation: 6,400 feet
Top Elevation: 7,103 feet
Additional Use: Snowmobiling
Local Contacts: Deerlodge National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to Discovery Basin and Georgetown Lake Trails

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Apr 2018