Recent snowfall has allowed the Missoula Snowgoers to begin grooming the snowmobile trail system in the Lolo Pass area on the Missoula and Powell ranger districts.

"With the new snow, it's a great opportunity for folks to get out and enjoy the public lands," Lolo NF Public Information Officer Boyd Hartwig said. "It's generally near the visitor center right at Lolo Pass at the border between Montana and Idaho. Generally, the higher elevations get enough snow, they can start grooming early. As they get more snow during the season at lower elevations, they can start grooming there as well.."

Hartwig said this year, Montana Fish Widlife and Parks is requiring those using the groomed snowmobile trails must purchase a Groomed Snowmobile Trail Pass.

"Snowmobiles and any other folks that might use that system," Hartwig said. "For example, fat tire bikes might want to use that groomed trail system, there is that requirement for a pass."

Although some trails will not yet be groomed due to lack of snow at lower elevations, Hartwig said all gates providing access to the snowmobile trail system are closed to prevent vehicle access and ensure the roads and trails are available for snowmobiling.

Hartwig said maps will be updated as restrictions change.

To purchase a pass, click here.