These are my favorite views of the Lolo Pass visitors' center and cross country area. These are U.S. Forest Service photos.
Above: Visitor's Center. Below: Warming hut.
There are several cross-country skiing areas not far from Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley, but Lolo Pass is our favorite. The courses are for beginners and intermediate skiers and there is a choice of several routes to follow, of various lengths, from 1.2 miles to 14 miles (longer routes may be ungroomed). We got lost on our first trip here several years ago and ended up skiing in the dark over terrain that we had never seen before. I would advise you to take precautions, use one of the course maps provided at the visitor center, take along water, energy bars and a headlamp or flashlight. Allow yourself plenty of time. If you have a friend who is familiar with the course, it might be a good idea to have company on your first visit.
Photo of the skiers trailhead.There is a daily fee of five dollars, payable at the visitor center. You can also buy a season pass for twenty dollars. Don't park on the highway; that's illegal.
I must also mention that the area, at least the longer trails, are also used by snow machines, which can ruin an otherwise beautiful and peaceful experience. Snow machines are not allowed on the 1.2 mile route and it is quite exhilarating. Go around twice!!