MacDonald Pass

Helena, Montana

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1 Review
3 out of 5
MacDonald Pass is one of a few places where a major winter road crosses the Continental Divide, offering easy access to ski trails. The Forest Service maintains a trail system just east of the pass in a sheltered forest area that is actually below the Continental Divide itself. Yet views east to the Big Belt Mountains are no less stunning from the four loop trails than from the divide itself. The valley below holds Helena, Montana’s state capital, famous for its main street, Last Chance Gulch. Much of this area boomed during the gold rush that began in 1864. There is very little mining in the area today; the major industries are tourism and government services. Helena was named the seat of the territorial government in 1875 and became the state capital when Montana was granted statehood in 1889. MacDonald Pass trails are groomed as needed by the Last Chance Nordic Ski Club. Surface quality: Machine-groomed intermittently.
Winter Trails: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Winter Trails: Montana

by Jean Arthur (The Globe Pequot Press)

MacDonald Pass is one of a few places where a major winter road crosses the Continental Divide, offering easy access to ski trails. The Forest Service maintains a trail system just east of the pass in a sheltered forest area that is actually below the Continental Divide itself. Yet views east to the Big Belt Mountains are no less stunning from the four loop trails than from the divide itself.

The valley below holds Helena, Montana’s state capital, famous for its main street, Last Chance Gulch. Much of this area boomed during the gold rush that began in 1864. There is very little mining in the area today; the major industries are tourism and government services. Helena was named the seat of the territorial government in 1875 and became the state capital when Montana was granted statehood in 1889. MacDonald Pass trails are groomed as needed by the Last Chance Nordic Ski Club. Surface quality: Machine-groomed intermittently.

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

Activity Type: Snowshoeing
Nearby City: Helena
Distance: 10.2
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: Day use
Trailhead Elevation: 5,900 feet
Top Elevation: 6,200 feet
Local Contacts: Helena Ranger District
Driving Directions: Directions to MacDonald Pass

Recent Trail Reviews

12/19/2009
0

This review is for snowshoeing. These trails are maintained and groomed by a local x-county ski club. They prefer that snowshoers stay on the USFS service road trails - try to stay on one side. Dogs are not permitted on any of the trails. There are routes for all levels of snowshoers and terrain that varies from open meadows to close timber. Most of the year, the wind blows non-stop across the Continental Divide, however, many of the trails keep you in the timber and sheltered, but dress for harsh winter weather.



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