Just off of Highway 89 - about 65 miles southeast of Great Falls - are the Silvercrest Trails. While they may not get as much attention as nearby Showdown Montana a few minutes up the road, the Silvercrest Trails are solid gold for anyone interested in getting outside.
"We have really, really good snow at Silvercrest,” said Drew Marsh, Silvercrest Trails Association board member.
Marsh put that claim to the test on his skis on Wednesday morning: "It's groomed really well, about twice a week. We have about 12 miles of skate and classic track ski trail for cross country skiing,” said Marsh.
Skiing is not the only activity the trail offers. "Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding,” said Gerry Jenning, another board members.
Gerry and her husband Chuck have been board members since the association was created about 10 years ago.
"More people probably snowshoe than cross country ski, but it's, I think, pretty even. We try to keep numbers of people. We have a register where they're supposed to sign in. This is to help us secure federal grants,” Chuck said.
They say there's no reason not to come enjoy the trails, especially since they're free.
"It's well marked on the highway, 'Winter Recreation Area'. There's a good, safe parking area, trailhead signs, some shelters where people can take shelter and where they can build a fire,” Chuck explained.
“We're not far from the parking lot no matter where you are. They have toilets here and so forth. So I think it's an area that people feel safe in and also find others doing the same activity and make friends and so forth. It's a pretty friendly area,” said Gerry.
From the website:
The Silver Crest Trails are located on the Lewis and Clark National Forest in the Little Belt Mountains, just north of Kings Hill Pass, 6.5 miles south Neihart, MT. There are approximately 12 miles (20km) of groomed Nordic ski trails and 2 miles of separate ungroomed snowshoe trails. The turn-off to the parking lot is marked by a sign indicating “USFS Winter Recreation Area”. Turn there, then follow the nordic ski signs to the parking lot. The parking lot is equipped with a latrine.