Off the Beaten Path | Montana
Montana is an amazing state, and is truly deserving of its nickname the "Big Sky State." Here you will find many interesting places to visit and explore. From east to west the state changes drastically in natural features. Visitors will find lakes, mountains, forests, prairies, stunning national parks and much more. Below are a few of the interesting places visitors can stop to explore while visiting the state of Montana.
National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge
For visitors looking to see some of the amazing wildlife in Montana, the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge is a great spot to stop. Visitors can see a variety of different natural habitats including forests, wetlands and prairie. In addition, the Range is home to over 300 bison, as well as deer, black bears, elk, eagles, hawks and many more. The National Bison Range also has a visitor center, and is a great place to enjoy auto tours.
Continuing on your journey, follow US-93 south along the western shore of Flathead Lake. Before you reach the lake you will pass through Kalispell, the largest city in the area. You can stop and take a trip out to the state park on Wild Horse Island, where you will find plenty of recreation and the wild horses the island is named for. After you pass through Polson, on the southern end of Flathead Lake, get on to Route 35 and head north following the eastern shore of Flathead Lake. You will find plenty of opportunities to camp, fish, hike and recreate on Flathead Lake. If you brought your boat on your road trip you can boat up to the Raven Restaurant and Bar for a Caribbean style dinner and cocktails. If you are a connoisseur of beer visit the Flathead Lake Brewing Company in Woods Bay. At the northern end of Flathead Lake you will find the city of Bigfork, stop and walk along its quaint streets, stroll through its galleries and grab a bite at El Topo for great Mexican food and margaritas.
Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road
Visitors to Montana should all take a trip on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. This trip is a great way to enjoy some of the most stunning beauty in Western Montana. The Going-to-the-Sun Road travels through the interior of Glacier National Park. Drivers wind around mountains on this 50 mile drive. Throughout the drive there are many locations to stop and enjoy the points of interest. From the road visitors can see Jackson Glacier and wind around the tight curves and look over the edges of cliffs and much more.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
At this National Monument visitors can learn all about the history of the Battle of Little Bighorn. This park is a memorial to the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne and the battle that took place during June of 1876. At this spot on June 25 and 26, 1876, Lt. Col. George Custer and the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry fought a group of Lakota and Cheyenne in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Visitors to the the Little Bighorn Battlefield can learn all about the history through the Cell Phone Audio Tour, which has walking and auto options. Throughout the National Monument there are many points of interest for visitors to learn about this point in history.
This byway is a great way to explore some of the mountainous region of the state. The Beartooth Highway stretches between Montana and Wyoming and provides access to Yellowstone National Park. Visitors to Montana can enjoy this scenic trip on the Beartooth Highway between Cooke City and Red Lodge. During this tip visitors can enjoy hikes, overlooks, creeks and more. During the winter this byway gets heavy snowfall and provides great opportunities for snowmobiling and more.
The Montana Dinosaur Trail
Those travelers interested in dinosaurs will have a great time in Montana. Throughout the state there are museums with excellent examples of fossils and dinosaur species. There are digs all over Montana, and specimens from these digs are displayed in museums all over the state. The Montana Dinosaur Trail will lead visitors to museums with amazing examples of dinosaur fossils in Montana. Along this trail visitors can stop at the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum in Glendive, participate in a "Junior Paleontologist" program at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum and Field Station in Malta, or see the first baby dinosaur bones found in North America at the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum.
Visitors to south east Montana can take some time to stop in the nice little town of Roundup. Roundup is known as the trailhead for the Great 1989 Centennial Cattle Drive. The unique name of the town could come from its unique geological features that make it an ideal location for the cattle roundups from Montana's past. During a visit to the town visitor can enjoy fishing, skiing, hiking, hunting, wildlife viewing and much more. In addition, visitors can stop at the Musselshell Valley Historical Museum.