Downing Mountain Lodge
Trip Planning

We are excited to welcome you to the Lodge and the Bitterroot Valley! The information below is designed to help you plan your trip and get the most out of every day. We are available to answer any additional questions and are happy to help you with your travel planning!


Lodge self-check in winter is after 3 p.m. and checkout is before 11 a.m. Check in in summer is after 4 p.m. and check out is before 11 a.m. With good, dirt-road access, getting to Downing Mountain Lodge, at 5,550 feet, requires a three-mile drive on a scenic, forested, mountain road with numerous switchbacks. In the winter, from the end of the plowed road at switchback 11, it is a mile and a half and 700’ vertical ski continuing along the roadway to the lodge. In the winter season, please arrive no earlier at parking than 12:30 p.m. to allow safe departure for outbound group and to reduce cross traffic hazard on mountain roadway. Please be clear of roadway on departure by 12:30 p.m. There is plenty of time with regular check in to make a ski run on the afternoon of arrival or a morning lap before departure. Early or late access to the mountain to increase your skiing time may be arranged at Downing Mountain Lodge for $35 per person or $70 for both early and late access. This requires another level of communication between guests and the lodgekeeper to ensure that plowing is complete, parking is available, and that guests are in a safe position for ingress or egress and to reduce cross traffic hazard on the mountain road. Early arrival can be arranged as early as 8 a.m. and late departure can be as late as 5 p.m. Please contact John for possibilities and to arrange parking and reduce cross traffic hazard. 406-531-1486


Missoula Airport (MSO) is an hour and a half from Downing Mountain Lodge. MSO is served by direct flights from Denver, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Spokane, and Las Vegas with more flights added regularly.

Driving Directions

The Lodge is located twenty minutes from Hamilton, MT. Hamilton is a four-hour drive from Spokane and Bozeman and an eight-hour drive from Salt Lake City and Seattle. 1017 Grubstake rd. Hamilton. Mt. 59840 is the physical address found on mapping programs.

Nearby Towns

Hamilton and Missoula are both full-service communities, filled with Montana character and charisma.



It's a rule of the mountains - always be prepared. Make sure you come ready to experience all Downing Mountain Lodge has to offer. Prior to your trip, we encourage you check your boot fit, binding fit, skin trim, and ski tune. We've provided a suggested winter gear list below and are available to answer any questions as you are planning your trip.


Base Layers | tops, tights, socks, underwear

Head + Neck | hat, buffs, sunglasses

Outer Layers | weather proof jacket, fleece/down jacket, hard/soft shell pants

Gloves | lightweight and heavyweight gloves/mittens

Avalanche Beacon | beacon with fresh batteries


We recommend a 25-40L backpack

Emergency + Safety Gear | avalanche shovel, probe, personal first aid kit, PLB/cellphone, radio, lightweight bivy sak

Ski Equipment | helmet, goggles, ski straps

Additonal Items | water bottles, sunscreen, multi tool

Pre-Departure Checklist
  • Check Weather Condition + Forecast
  • Check Avalanche Forecast
  • Communicate Ski Action Plan
  • Perform Beacon Test
  • Create Group Plan
  • Prepare skis, skins, boots, poles, and pack
It is recommended that all participants during the winter ski season have avalanche forecasting experience and formal training and that there are members of the group with relevant wilderness first aid training and experience.