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Getting to Big Sky, Montana - BE SAFE, PLEASE!

No! This is not the only way to get to Big Sky! 

The info on this page that you need:
**Flights and links for travel deals and sites so you can book right here
**Rental Car or Taxi with links so you can book right here
**AFTER landing and BEFORE getting to Big Sky
**Driving Directions and suggestions
**What to watch for
**An important suggestion for a cool trip from Bozeman to Big Sky

*Pay attention to the make up of Big Sky - 3 sections: Canyon, Meadow Village and Town Center, and the Mountain Village.

As a side note here: new meaning of "deer in the headlights".  This drive at dawn, dusk, or at night is fraught with wildlife on the road.  Be aware of one steadfast rule the deer and elk heed:  they do NOT check for traffic before crossing.  Before you know it "deer in the headlights" can be "deer all over your headlights"!  Trust me I know this personally.  If this happens to you call 911 and inform them immediately that you are or are not hurt.  They will dispatch the State Patrol and a tow service, if you need it.  They are incredibly kind and professional - all of them, 911, State Patrol and the Tow Truck Driver.

These are the baby buffalo born in May in Yellowstone Park.  No, this is not how you are getting to Big Sky...

First suggestion is to arrive early: noonish if you can!       


There are limited options for flying to Big Sky and I don't see these changing or needing updating anytime soon...Bozeman, West Yellowstone and Billings.  Bozeman Airport is located in Belgrade and it is actually called Gallatin Field but the important thing is the airport code for booking your flight: BZN.  West Yellowstone is located about 40 miles south of Big Sky and the code is WYS but only open in summer.  Billings airport code is BIL.  Bozeman is about a zillion miles closer to Big Sky than Billings, but sometimes Billings can be cheaper.  Bozeman is a little over an hour drive to Big Sky and Billings is about 2 hours from Bozeman (due East).  You do the math.
I have no experience and, hence, very little information about flying to West Yellowstone, but it looks like it is only Delta that does it.  And upon doing a little more research, WYS closes from Nov through May but has 3 commercial (Delta) flights daily during the summer. 

With all the changes in airlines this year, I need to update who does and does not fly into Bozeman and I will, but not tonight - we have dinner plans at THE CABIN and I am not missing that!!  I certainly know that Delta and Frontier and United fly in here, but I am going to have to check on everyone else...  So give me a day or two - I'm on it!

Delta has a new flight that is direct from Atlanta to Bozeman on Saturdays (but this is changing so check it out).  I would rather have a limb removed without anesthesia than stay in a coach class seat (which is where I sit - you know, between the two lumberjacks with 52 inch chests) for 6 hours.  I'm just sayin'...  I usually fly from the East or the Southeast.   AND one of the newest discoveries of the past year was Frontier Airlines.  From Nashville - it's cheap and easy and I love cheap and easy.  Frontier is starting to show up on the following "cheap fare brokers" and they are always worth checking before you book thru the airlines.  And from personal experience, the Nashville Airport Frontier people can work magic!

To book online, just click below to be directed straight to  whichever is your favorite melting pots of tickets and deals available!

www.travelocity.com  or www.priceline.com or www.hotwire.com or www.expedia.com or CheapO Air or OneTravel.com 

These are the baby buffs born in the spring  - surly adolescents wondering how long it's going to take to get to Big Sky...can't you just hear them moaning and groaning?


                                       TRANSPORT  OR  TAXI?

All of the usual suspects in rental car agencies (Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Enterprise) are represented at the airport so going online to rent your car ahead of time, as usual, is a really good idea.  If you aren't renting a car but don't have any friends who can pick you up at the airport, there are a couple of options for a ride up the mountain.  At this juncture, I would like to add my two cents for consideration and good old southern manners:  if you have a flight out at 6 in the morning, your host or your friend giving you a ride will have to get up at 3am to get your ass to the airport.  If you are getting in at 11:08pm, the last flight of the day, your ride/host will not be getting home until about 12:30 or 1am!!!  How 'bout catching a ride with the taxi?

You will need to call ahead (the link is below) to reserve a seat and you will meet them right outside of the airport bag claim door on the 2nd lane out.  They will deliver you to your door or pick you up at your door - whatever you need.  The service has been good and dependable.  It can be very worrisome when you are waiting for them to pick you up at 3:00 in the morning - but they are reputable and they have alot of experience.

Mountain Taxi - 800.423.4742  They are $140 for the first person and $5 for every person after that.  For groups of 5 - 14 it is $40 per person.  You can find their website at www.bigskytaxi.com.
Skyline does the Bozeman to Big Sky run but also has a regular run through town.  All of their info is on their website www.skylinebus.com.
Karst Stage - They are based in Bozeman and can do 1 - 400 people.  Their website is www.karststage.com.

We'd like to introduce Gracie - she's the boss and we work when it suits her agenda.

       Driving Directions

Now this is actually QUITE simple.  Turn right out of the Bozeman Airport/Gallatin Field, go through the four way stop to the light and turn left.  Stay on that road for about 42 miles and then turn right on the Big Sky Spur Road/64 and you are there.  Cool, huh?

Be aware that the road you are traveling on after you turn at the light 84/85 and then Highway 191 is quite scenic and well maintained in the winter but is not an autobahn.  It is curvy and usually under construction.  If you are inclined to drive slowly, are unfamiliar with the road or take photos while driving on this road, please USE THE PULL OUTS!

As a side note, I was informed today - by a MAN - that men need to know that the road 84/85 where you turn left at the light is the same as Hwy 191; you don't make any turns, just stay on that road!  Happy, Andy?

BEFORE GETTING TO BIG SKY AND THIS IS AN IMPORTANT NOTE:  It actually IS that easy but you may want to stop for groceries and some necessities for your stay.  Here are the important points to remember:  So, when you are leaving the airport, you will find Albertson's grocery store on your right after you turn at the first light.  They usually have it all and are open 24 hours if you had a late arrival or just in a hurry to get to Big Sky.  They recently had a facelift and are keeping up nicely with the Joneses.  Good prices on wine and a pretty good selection.  They are your everything-under-one-roof sort of grocery.  There is a liquor store around the corner in the same strip center complex.  Other than wine and liquor, I can't imagine what else you would need.  
If you arrive earlier in the day and have the time to actually shop - you can go to Rosauer's in Bozeman.  It has a higher end variety of fresh produce, cheeses, wines, etc.  It's on Huffine or Main Street - I'm not sure where the road changes names but across from the mall if you need to stop and ask directions.  It's easy enough to get to but about 5 miles out of the way.  When you are traveling straight from the airport to Big Sky you will travel through a busy intersection that has gas stations and stores on the corners (known, quaintly, as "4 Corners"- don't get confused here, it's the ONLY intersection with a light.  Turn left there and it's 5 miles down that road on the right.

ANOTHER very important note:  Before you turn on the Big Sky Spur Road (aka Spur Road, aka 64, aka Lone Mountain Trail) you have traveled on "the canyon road" (the first part of Big Sky, aka Gallatin Gateway) and when you turn onto the Spur Road, you will see the second part of Big Sky known as  THE MEADOW VILLAGE CENTER on your right.     Next, and on your left, is BIG SKY TOWN CENTER, also considered THE MEADOW VILLAGE and the next left is WESTFORK MEADOWS also considered THE MEADOW VILLAGE.   All three of these areas make up the Meadow Village and there are lots of really cool shops, restaurants, groceries and other services throughout there but it can be confusing if people refer to all of that area as The Meadow Village.  If you are going to the Big Sky Ski Resort or Moonlight Basin, you will continue up the Spur Road another 8 miles.  More info on this in the Getting Around Big Sky page.  Just keep an eye out so you will know how to get back here after you get settled into your humble abode.

This is the first right turn after turning on the Big Sky Spur Road.  It goes into THE MEADOW VILLAGE CENTER.

This is the sign at the turn off to Town Center.  Check the Where it is page to find out what is located here.

This is where you turn to go to Westfork Meadow.

Okay, tiny little suggestion here for your trip from Bozeman to Big Sky if you arrive in Bozeman during the day and are not in  hurry to get to Big Sky...when you are leaving Bozeman, there is the big, busy intersection (4 corners) with the gas stations and other stores and shops around there.  Hungry?  GREAT sandwiches at Mama Mac's next to the Exxon.  They are only open until 3pm so timing is essential.  The next cool stop to make is at the Pottery/Espresso Cafe.  Sure, those two are always found together under one roof.  This time it is worth the stop.  Incredible pottery - made on site and incredible cappucino - Dave makes the best dry cappucino - and all the baked goods are baked there and fresh.  This really is a stop worth making!