The Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area straddles the border of Montana and Idaho on Interstate 90. Skiers of all ages and experience levels travel from all over the country to enjoy the immaculate terrain on offer at Lookout Pass, a facility that is one of the most popular ski areas in the Northwest and yet still spacious and uncrowded.
With a summit elevation of 5,650 feet on Runt Mountain and more than 20 ski runs, Lookout Pass receives more than 33 feet of snowfall on average every year. There are currently three terrain parks spanning across 540 acres in the area, which will be growing to 1,023 acres with the upcoming Eagle Peak Expansion. The upgrade will feature two new chairlifts on the mountain known as Eagle Peak.
Lookout Pass dates back to 1935, when the Idaho Ski Club was first established in the area. The historic lodge, the second-oldest ski lodge in the Northwest, was first constructed in 1941 and the first chairlift was installed in 1980. Since then, the area has evolved into a must-visit destination for ski enthusiasts.
Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area Stats
- Highest Elevation: 5,650 ft/1720 m
- Number of Trails: Approximately 22 (subject to change due to the Eagle Peak Expansion)
- Number of Lifts: 1 double chair and 2 triple chairs (and a new lift to be installed as part of the Eagle Peak expansion)
- December 17 through March 31: open 7 days a week (weather permitting)
- April: open 6 days a week (weather permitting)
- May through September: some facilities open (see the official website for more information)
- Trail Difficulty: 20% Easiest, 50% Intermediate, 20% Advanced, 10% Expert
Ticket and Passes at Lookout Pass Ski
There are several different ticketing options available at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, including one-time lift tickets, gift certificates, season passes, and a Lookout Advantage Card.
Adult single weekday passes start at $53 but there are concession tickets available for college students, active military personnel, seniors, and youth. Prices increase for weekend tickets and holiday period tickets.
Visitors can avoid these window rates by reserving their tickets ahead of time through this link, which guarantees slightly cheaper prices.
The season pass packages are great options for those who will be frequenting the slopes regularly and come at various price points. They begin at $35 for children under six years old and go up to $999 for a fully transferable season pass.
There is also a rewards incentive card available in the form of the Lookout Advantage Card. While this doesn’t guarantee tickets, it does allow visitors to accumulate points and earn savings with each ticket they purchase. Advantage Cards are $79 for adults and $59 for youth.
For the full list of rates, please see the official website.
Accommodation Options at Lookout Pass Ski
Being such a popular ski facility, Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area naturally offer a wide range of lodging options. The accommodation establishments that partner with Lookout Pass sometimes offer admission tickets as part of their packages.
To get the best access to Lookout Pass, guests usually elect to stay in Silver Valley, a culturally rich region in Idaho, or in Montana. Lookout Pass has accommodation partners in both areas to suit all tastes, whether you’re looking for cozy cottage lodgings or indulgent hotels and spas.
For a full list of the available hotels and inns in Silver Valley that are affiliated with Lookout Pass, please visit this link. In Montana, there are two accommodation options available that have partnered with Lookout Pass: Mangold’s General Store and Motel, and the Black Diamond Guest Ranch. See this link to read more about each.
Many of the hotels, motels, and inns provide facilities such as indoor pools and saunas, free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, fitness centers, and mountain views.
Trail Routes at Lookout Pass Ski
There are currently 22 active ski trails to explore across the 540 acres of Lookout Pass.
Huckleberry Ridge is a fairly easy downhill-only ski trail at Lookout Pass. It stretches for nearly one mile and is located near Mullan, Idaho, adjacent to the Black Bear trail. Only available in winter, this trail is one of the most popular in the area.
Hoot Owl is another popular trail at Lookout Pass, located on the opposite side of the mountain from Huckleberry Ridge. It runs for just over 1000 feet, making it one of the shorter trails on the grounds. This is considered an intermediate ski run as it’s more difficult than some of the easier ski trails.
One of the longer ski trails at Lookout Pass, Golden Eagle extends for nearly 2,900 feet. It’s one of the easier ski runs available and is suitable for all levels, including beginners. It winds down the Idaho side of the mountain close to the Last Chance Glades.
Quicksilver is also an easy ski trail at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, suitable for those just learning how to ski. It runs for approximately .8 of a mile, with a vertical drop of about 423 feet, and meets Golden Eagle at the base of the mountain.
Grub Stake tends to be less crowded than some of the other ski trails at Lookout Pass. It is considered appropriate for beginners and quite a bit easier than many of the other nearby runs. Only accessible in the winter, Grub Stake is around 1840 feet long.
The Copper trail is quite a difficult ski trail and should only be attempted by advanced skiers. A winter-only trail, this ski run stretches for 1,109 feet between the Grub Stake and Silver trails on the Idaho side of the mountain and is one of the more popular trails at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area.
Perhaps the most popular ski trail at Lookout Pass, Black Bear is found on Runt Mountain near the Idaho side of the ski area. It has a medium difficulty rating, making it ideal for intermediate skiers. It runs for 1,345 feet.
Situated on the north side of Lookout Pass, Big Dipper is one of the harder trails available. Guests should only attempt it if they are advanced and confident skiers. The trail runs for around 2352 feet with a steep vertical drop of 892 feet.
Spanning for over 1715 feet, Red Dog is a ski run that’s best suited to intermediate skiers. It’s not the easiest trail at Lookout Pass, but it’s not the most difficult either. This trail has a fairly steep vertical drop of around 702 feet and runs beside Marmot, on the mountain’s north side.
Marmot is located near the Idaho side of Lookout Pass, close to Mullan. It’s one of the hidden gems of the area and isn’t as crowded as some of the more popular trails. Open in the winter only, Marmot runs for a distance of 2,172 feet and is suitable for intermediate skiers.
Found on the Montana side of Lookout Pass, Buffalo Gulch is a difficult ski trail that should only be attempted by advanced experts. It’s significantly less popular than some of the other trails and extends for 1,834 feet.
A popular intermediate ski run, Rainbow Ridge is found on the Montana side of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area and runs beside the Tamarack trail. The trail features a distance of 1,348 feet and a vertical drop of 219 feet.
Located near the ski area boundary on the Montana side of Lookout Pass, Tamarack runs for nearly 2,523 feet. With a vertical drop of 472 feet, it has a medium difficulty rating and is considered safe for intermediate skiers.
Cloud Nine is a ski trail found on the Idaho side of the area. With a distance of 3,127 feet, it is one of the longer and less popular trails. Available in the winter season only, Cloud Nine is an intermediate trail with medium difficulty.
Keystone extends for a distance of approximately 2,742 feet. Located between Cloud Nine and Whitetail on the Montana side of Lookout Pass, it is an intermediate trail with a vertical drop of 784 feet.
Also located near the Montana boundary, Whitetail is one of the more difficult trails at Lookout Pass. It should only be used by experienced skiers. It extends for 3,103 feet and has a steep vertical drop of 882 feet.
The Bonanza ski trail is a winter-only ski run that is located near the Golden Eagle trail on the Idaho side of Lookout Pass. It is considered safe for intermediate skiers and above and is one of the most popular trails in the area.
One of the more difficult trails at Lookout Pass, Niagra is a short ski run suitable for experts only. It features a distance of 1,175 feet and is quite popular among visitors. It can be found on the Idaho side near Black Bear and Moose Lips
Also located on the Idaho side is the Moose Lips trail. This short and curved ski run comes off the Black Bear trail and runs into the Gold trail. It is best suited to intermediate skiers and runs for around 702 feet.
A moderately difficult, winter-only trail, Gold is found near the Idaho boundary and runs off the Black Bear trail. It is one of the most popular trails at Lookout Pass and extends for 1,667 feet.
With a distance of 1,391 feet, Silver is another intermediate trail found on the Idaho side of Lookout Pass. It is accessed off the Huckleberry Ridge trail and is located closer to the base of the mountain than the Gold trail. This trail is only accessible in the winter and is usually very popular with visitors.
The Copper Spur trail is a short trail that comes off the longer and more difficult Copper run, again located on the Idaho boundary. It travels to the Silver trail and extends for 387 feet. It is one of the least frequented trails at Lookout Pass.
Summer Hiking Trails at Lookout Pass
In addition to the ski trails at Lookout Pass, there are also some hiking trails nearby that are perfect for the summer season. They include:
Lone Lake Trail
Situated near Mullan, Idaho, the Lone Lake Trail is considered a moderate trail, best for intermediate hikers, and is mostly used for hiking, walking, or bird-watching.
It is most popular in the summer months from May through October, and visitors are able to bring their dogs on the trail. The trail is mostly uphill and stretches for approximately 4.5 miles.
One of the more difficult trail routes in Lookout Pass, Stevens Lakes extends for nearly 5 miles. Stevens Peak is the highest point in Shoshone County, Idaho, and the trail features an elevation gain of approximately 1824 feet. As the trail includes a scenic lake, it is often used by visitors for fishing and camping in the summer months. While dogs are permitted on the trail, they must be kept on a lead.
St. Regis Lakes
Also featuring a lake perfect for fishing and other water sports, the St. Regis Lakes trail is considered to be a moderate climb, with an elevation gain of approximately 882 feet.It is located near Mullan, Idaho, and can still be covered in snow well into May. The trail boasts pristine views of the surrounding landscape and the path itself is often carpeted with overgrown wildflowers.
The Copper Lake trail route, located near Saltese in Montana, is very steep at first, but eventually flattens out to easy climbing. The overall route is shorter at just over 2.5 miles, so it’s a good option for those looking for a quick walk. The official Lookout Pass website warns visitors to be wary of moose in the area.
Events at Lookout Pass Ski
Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Competition
One of the most highly anticipated events at Lookout Pass is the Pacific Northwest National Wife Carrying Competition. Originally a tradition coming from Finland, this event takes place in February. Anyone with a season pass or lift ticket for that day is welcome to participate, although this event is also lots of fun to just watch.
The best part? The winner of the competition will receive their spouse’s weight in cash. Competitors are also allowed to carry their husbands, though the website makes it clear that this strategy has not seen much success in the past! For more details, please visit the official event page.
Annual Boyd Hill Snowskate
The Annual Boyd Hill Snowskate is another yearly event that brings a sense of fun and atmosphere to the area. Taking place in March, the event is held in Rolling Thunder, one of the natural terrain parks at Lookout Pass.
Those taking part in snow skating, which refers to the use of binding-free skateboards for the snow, may get their lift tickets for a reduced price, although it costs $20 to register for the race.
Each athlete gets two timed runs from the top of the mountain and the winner is the competitor with the best time in the end. For more details, please visit the official event page.
Cardboard Box Derby And Hawaiian Luau BBQ
Lookout Pass feels a million miles from the luaus of Hawaii, but this event brings the tropics to the snow! Held toward the end of the winter season in April, the Cardboard Box Derby challenges competitors to create a makeshift sled out of only cardboard and duct tape and then slide down a short section of trail. The most creative and unique sled will win.
The event will take place against a backdrop of music and a Hawaiian BBQ on the deck. For more details, please visit the official event page.
Mountain Archery Fest
The summer Mountain Archery Fest is held in July. Running over a few days, the festival features several courses where visitors can practice shooting. In addition to archery, the event also boasts a movie night and prize drawings, fun for the whole family.
For more details, please visit the official event page.
It wouldn’t be the festive season at Lookout Pass without the remarkable Torchlight Parade. Held on New Years Eve, the parade is made up of skiers carrying torches and performing wide swooping turns down the slopes. All skiers who are able to follow the pattern and consider themselves intermediate or above are welcome to participate.
For those not participating, there is specialty food available in the food court and the Loft Pub & Grub is open to anyone over 21 years of age. There are numerous points throughout Lookout Pass to get the best view of the magnificent parade. For more details, please visit the official event page.