MacDonald Pass

Helena, Montana 59620

MacDonald Pass

MacDonald Pass Professional Review and Guide

"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."

MacDonald Pass Reviews

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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.

MacDonald Pass Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Day use
5,900 feet
Trailhead Elevation
6,200 feet
Top Elevation
Helena Ranger District
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Jul 2018