Montana road trip! Here’s a Great Vacation Idea
Skip the cookie-cutter Interstate stuff with this perfect Montana road trip! Have a blast visiting little towns, meeting nice people, and crossing Big Sky Country on Montana’s U.S. Highway 89 between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Here’s what your trip looks like, starting in Yellowstone National Park.
Start your Montana Road Trip in Yellowstone National Park
If you’re starting your road trip in Yellowstone, you’ll find plenty to see and do: Yellowstone Falls, spotting wolves and grizzly bears in the Lamar Valley, fishing Slough Creek, visiting Old Faithful Geyser, and seeing Grand Prismatic Spring.
Hot tip: Check out the Boiling River. This is one of your few opportunities to soak in a hot springs in the Park.
Paradise Valley to Livingston, Montana
Paradise Valley is home of the Yellowstone River and Yankee Jim Canyon and its whitewater rafting (read our three tips here), 11,206 foot Mount Cowen, Chico Hot Springs (read about it and other Montana hot springs here), and one of the prettiest mountain valleys you’ll find. Follow the Valley north to Livingston, Montana
On the banks of the Yellowstone River, just west of Bozeman, Montana (and it’s possible to detour to the famous dinosaur exhibits at Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies), you’ll find Livingston, Montana nestled beneath the Crazy Mountains, Bridger Range, Gallatin Range, and Absarokee Range. Hold onto your cowboy hat because cool air tumbling out of Yellowstone Park, shoots through the canyon to the south, making Livingston a windy place. Maybe visit the Montana Watch Company. Maybe hit the Murray Bar for a belt if your thirsty.
White Sulphur Springs, Montana
On your way to White Sulphur Springs, stare at the Crazy Mountains to the east, stop in the Wilsall Bar and Cafe for a drink, then visit the Thunder Jack statue just up the road.
White Sulphur Springs, Montana hosts the Red Ants Pants Music Festival at the end of July, so grab your tickets. In 2018, you could have danced on the prairie with Dwight Yoakam, and 2019 featured Patty Griffin, Shakey Graves, Billy Joe Shaver, and Colter Wall.
Thirsty? Wet your whistle at Stockman’s Bar or Bar 47. They call White Sulphur Springs “a small drinking town with a big elk hunting problem.” We like the sound of that!
Kings Hill Scenic Byway
On your way to Great Falls, Montana, you’ll drive right through the Little Belt Mountains, passing over the Kings Hill Scenic Byway.
Great Falls, Montana
Next! No trip to Great Falls can be justified unless you stop at the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge to watch the mermaids and listen to Piano Pat do her thing.
The C.M. Russell Museum Complex https://cmrussell.org/
Choteau, Montana and the Rocky Mountain Front
Watch the Rocky Mountain Front appear as you drive from Great Falls to Choteau. The Front is home to Egg Mountain’s famous dinosaur eggs and plenty of wildlife: mule deer, antelope, and maybe even a grizzly bear. Drive the dirt roads and see for yourself.
Driving Highway 89 on the Fourth of July weekend? Well bring your cowboy hat to the Choteau American Legion Rodeo. Stop for ice cream at the Old Trail Ice Cream Parlour then walk next door to the Old Trail Museum.
If you have your “mountain legs,” the Ear Mountain Wildlife Management Area offers plenty of off-trail exploring.
Browning, Montana and the Blackfeet Nation
On your Montana road trip, journey north to Browning, Montana and watch those curves on Highway 89. It’s twisty and up and down.
Looking for a watering hole? Here you go … the Warbonnet Lodge, Ick’s, Kip’s Beer Garden, and Charlie’s Bar in Babb, Montana.
Wrap up your Montana Road Trip in Glacier National Park … You made it!
And speaking of Babb, Montana, you’ll definitely want to make it there on your way to Glacier Park’s Many Glacier region. It’s a little out of the way from the popular drive over Going-to-the-Sun Road, but it’s arguably one of the most stunning places in Glacier National Park — don’t miss it.
Have fun on Montana’s Highway 89!