Situated in southwestern Montana, in the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains, the Moonlight Basin Ski Area lies within the mega-popular ski resort of Big Sky. Once a separate entity, Moonlight Basin became part of the Big Sky resort in 2013. Together, the merged ski areas have created one of the largest and trendiest single ski resorts in the country.
Moonlight Basin is open both in winter and summer, offering a range of activities for guests of all skill levels. In the snow season, activities such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, fat biking, snow tubing, and ice skating make the grounds a perfect winter getaway for families.
Similarly, the summer months give visitors access to golf, hiking, mountain biking, archery, horseback riding, and fly fishing, among other activities.
The ski area receives more than 400 inches of annual snowfall and spans across 5,800 skiable acres. Featuring on-site accommodation and dining options, Moonlight Basin is famous for its stunning scenery and is a popular location for weddings and other private events.
The idyllic landscape stretches from Lone Peak to the Madison River Valley and is home to several species of local wildlife.
- Highest Elevation: 11,166 feet/3,403 meters
- Trails: 101
- Lifts: 36
- Summer: Late November – Mid-April
- Winter: Late May – September
- Restaurant and lodge: Open year-round
- Beginner: 25%
- Intermediate: 40%
- Advanced/Expert: 35%
Tickets and Passes
As Moonlight Basin merged with the Big Sky resort in 2013, lift tickets grant visitors entry to both areas. The prices for tickets vary by day, with more popular time slots attracting higher prices. Adult tickets begin at $207, and there are discounts available for juniors, seniors, and children under six years old.
For more information about individual lift tickets, please see the official website.
Access to the Lone Peak Tram is not included in most tickets and costs an extra $20 to $80 per day, depending on a variety of factors including holidays and busy periods. Visitors can purchase flat-rate Tram Access Packs to use throughout the season.
For more information about tram access, please see the official website.
Accommodation at Moonlight Basin Ski Area
Moonlight Basin is an ideal place to stay when skiing at Big Sky, boasting several on-site lodging options. Whether you’re looking for accommodation with the bare essentials or an indulgent escape, there is something for everyone.
All the properties at Moonlight Basin ski area provide guests access to the ski trails at the resort, with many operating on a ski-in/ski-out basis. Guests will also have access to the private Moonlight Lodge, dining at the Moonlight Tavern, and shuttle and concierge services.
One of the most popular lodgings at Moonlight Basin is the rental home known as 20 Peaks View, located in the ski area’s Cowboy Heaven subdivision. The home comes with four bedrooms (and sleeping capacity for 12 people), and has a kitchen, laundry, patio, and hot tub.
Another popular option is Saddle Ridge B5, which is located only seconds away from the Moonlight Lodge. The home boasts sublime views of the surrounding area and also has a kitchen, laundry, and hot tub.
For more information about the accommodation options at Moonlight Basin ski area, please see the official website.
Trail Routes at Moonlight Basin Ski Area
Guests at Moonlight Basin have access to over 100 ski runs. The area is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, but there are still a few trails for beginners or nervous skiers to use. The below list features some of the most popular.
Liberty Bowl is a long and difficult trail at Moonlight Basin ski area, on the mountain’s South Face. It starts near Yeti Traverse and runs for 2,103 feet with a vertical drop of 1,148 feet.
Yeti Traverse begins near the summit of the mountain, close to the Liberty Bowl, Lenin and Otter Slide trails. It is only suitable for expert skiers as it features quite a difficult terrain. The trail extends for 1,299 feet and has a vertical drop of 196 feet.
A difficult yet short trail at Moonlight Basin, Castro’s is found near the top of the mountain, close to The Wave and Dictator Chutes. It runs for only 718 feet with a vertical drop of 521 feet.
Visitors can access the Duck Walk trail near the top of the Shedhorn Liftline. It is a trail of medium difficulty that travels horizontally across the mountain for 3,608 feet. The trail has a gentle vertical drop of 400 feet.
The Upper Sunlight trail extends into Sunlight once it passes the Sheldon Grill. This intermediate trail ends at the Hippy Highway trail closer to the base of the mountain. With a length of 4,921 feet, it is one of the longest trails in the area.
Dakota Road is a medium trail at Moonlight Basin best suited to intermediate skiers. It is located close to the Hippy Highway trail and extends for 2,755 feet with a vertical drop of 400 feet.
Found close to the base of the mountain, Hippy Highway eventually forks into a meeting with Dakota Road. It is of medium difficulty and one of the longer trails in the area at 5,249 feet in length. The trail also has a vertical drop of 652 feet.
Bitterroot is one of the harder trails at Moonlight Basin. It extends from the Middle Road trail and travels towards the Jock Strap trail for 1,414 feet. It has a vertical drop of 383 feet.
Another difficult trail at Moonlight Basin with a vertical drop of 465 feet, White Pine should only be attempted by seasoned skiers. It stretches between the Bitterroot and Jock Strap trails for 1,594 feet.
A long and intermediate-level trail of 12,795 feet, Middle Road extends horizontally across the South Face and passes many other trails. Its vertical drop is 1,286 feet.
Turkey Traverse is a long and difficult trail characterized by its many kinks. It is found on the Bowl side of the mountain and begins near the Powder Seeker tram. It runs for 2,575 feet and features a vertical drop of 252 feet.
Ski Time is best suited to skiers of intermediate skill level. The short trail forks out from the Morning Star trail and then curves back towards it again, extending for only 820 feet. Its vertical drop is 318 feet.
One of the few easy ski runs at Moonlight Basin, Jay Walk is a long and windy trail on the Bowl. It has a vertical drop of 396 feet and runs for 2,870 feet.
Upper Morning Star
Upper Morning Star is a medium trail at Moonlight Basin, ideal for skiers with intermediate skill levels. It is a fairly long trail with a length of 4,265 feet and has a vertical drop of 820 feet.
The Big Couloir
Only expert skiers should use The Big Couloir, which is one of the most difficult ski runs in the area. It is found near the Lone Peak tram and extends for 1,585 feet.
Mr. K is another one of the few easy ski runs at Moonlight Basin ski area. With a vertical drop of 1,400 feet, it stretches for 8,202 feet and is found between the Tango Trees and Lower Morning Star trails.
Another hard ski run, Never Sweat is found on the Bowl and is located close to Steep and Deep. It travels for 3,608 feet and features a vertical drop of 810 feet.
Extending for 1043 feet, Little Tree is a hard trail found on the far side of the Bowl. It is situated between the Onslow’s and Third Little Gully trails and has a vertical drop of 669 feet.
Zucchini Patch is a ski run for advanced skiers. It lies near the far boundary of the mountain and is one of the shortest ski runs, at only 426 feet in length.
Another difficult trail at Moonlight Basin ski area, Highway is located near Zucchini Patch and High Clearing on the far side of the Bowl. It runs for 2,109 feet and has a vertical drop of 967 feet.
Throughout the year, a range of fun and exciting events are held at Moonlight Basin ski area. Along with the summer and winter activities on offer, there are also several annual parties, competitions, and social gatherings held in the ski area.
In February, Moonlight Basin plays host to the Special Olympics Montana. The games give participants the chance to compete in a variety of winter sports, including alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing.
Auctions, music festivals, and other community events also take place at Moonlight Basin and are announced during the year. Check-in regularly at the resort’s official Facebook page to stay up-to-date with any upcoming events.
There are also many events that take place at the nearby Big Sky Resort, which has merged with Moonlight Basin. The annual Big Sky Big Grass Festival is one of the most popular events on the calendar and features performances by several notable musical acts. The festival is held at the end of March and carries on into early April.
Some of the other events taking place at Big Sky include community ski races and other athletic competitions. For more information, please visit the official Big Sky website.