Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky is a census-designated place situated in the Gallatin and Madison counties in the southwestern part of the US State of Montana. This census-designated place is located on the U.S. Route 191 highway, approximately halfway between the town of West Yellowstone and the city of Bozeman, about 24km from the northwestern boundary of the Yellowstone National Park and 72km southwest of the city of Bozeman. Tourism serves as the primary industry in the Big Sky area.

Geography Of Big Sky

Big Sky, Montana
Big Sky, Montana. 

Big Sky covers a total area of 311.4 sq. km, of which 0.6 sq. km is occupied by water, and 310.8 sq. km is occupied by land. A significant portion of this census-designated place is drained to the east into the Gallatin River, whereas the westernmost parts drain westwards through the Jack and the Cedar Creeks into the Madison River. The Gallatin and Madison Rivers flow northwards to drain into the Missouri River.

White water rafting on the Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana
White-water rafting on the Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana. Editorial credit: Rob Crandall /

The scenic Gallatin River contains several fishes like brown trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, etc., and serves as an extremely popular fly-fishing destination attracting fly-fishers from all over the world. The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department have designated some parts of the Gallatin River as Blue-Ribbon Trout stream, while the remaining parts as Red Ribbon Trout stream. Located along the Gallatin River is the Gallatin Canyon, which serves as a favorite destination for kayakers and white-water rafters. There are several guest ranches, including Elkhorn Ranch, 320 Guest Ranch, Cinnamon Lodge, etc., in the Gallatin Canyon.

Skiing at Big Sky ski resort, Montana
Skiers and snowboarders are going over the edge at Big Sky Ski Resort, Montana. 

Located in an alpine valley that is believed to have formed during the Cretaceous period, the Meadow area of Big Sky is crisscrossed by many small rivers. Two large ski resorts, namely the Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, are situated in the Mountain area of Big Sky. Both these alpine ski and golf resorts have recently merged, and the combined terrain of these resorts covers more than 23.47 sq. km of area. The two resorts are presently considered the “Biggest Skiing in America.” In collaboration with the Yellowstone Club – a private residential ski resort, the Big Sky Resort also manages the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, an exclusive ski and golf resort containing more than 13 ski runs. The Lone Mountain Ranch has more than 75km of cross-country ski trails.

Climate Of Big Sky

Big Sky experiences warm summers and frigid winters, and the climate here is characterized by significant seasonal temperature differences. The warm season lasts from June to September, with July being the hottest month, with an average high temperature of 21.6°C and a low temperature of 4.4°C. The cold season lasts from November to March, with December being the coolest month, having an average low temperature of -15.5°C and a high temperature of -6.1°C. Big Sky receives an average of 20 inches of rainfall and 46 inches of snowfall per year.

Population Of Big Sky

Slope side lodging in Big Sky, Montana
Slope Side Lodging in Big Sky, Montana. 

In 2019, Big Sky had a population of 3,058 people with a median age of 33.3. As of 2019, about 228 people (7.46% of the residents) of Big Sky were born outside the country. The most common birthplace of the foreign-born residents of Montana was Canada, followed by Mexico and the Philippines. The largest ethnic groups in Montana are the non-Hispanic White representing 88.8% of Big Sky’s population, followed by the Hispanic group at 8.34%, two or more groups at 1.7%, American Indians and Asians at 0.55%. As of 2019, the median household income in Big Sky was $75,586, and the median property value was $564,000. The average car ownership in Big Sky was two cars per household.

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