Road trips are going to be some of the most popular types of vacations this year, and you’re not going to be missing out on any sights if you visit Montana. Driving through the vast state is breathtaking. There are gorgeous mountain ranges, beautiful valleys and rivers, and plenty of activities to enjoy. Here are some of the things we think you should do when you road trip through Montana.
1. Soak in Montana’s Hot Springs
Geothermal pools can do wonders for your aches and pains, and at the very least, they’ll put you in a relaxing state of mind. Montana is home to dozens of amazing natural hot springs, here are a few we think you should visit on your road trip:
-Norris Hot Springs
-Yellowstone Hot Springs
-Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort
-Alameda’s Hot Springs Retreat
Be sure to stop in at Boiling River, which unlike the other hot springs on this list, features no resorts – it’s completely natural.
2. Explore Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the world’s most stunning parks, with over 1 million acres and 130 lakes to discover. You’ll find hundreds of animals throughout the park, including bears, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, and more. If you’re camping, be on the lookout for predators, and be sure to store your food away tightly. As great as it looks in the picture, Glacier National Park is just one of those places that look even more amazing in real life.
3. Take a Dip in Saint Mary Lake
You probably won’t want to make it a long swim, as the lake’s waters are frigid. The cold temperatures make sense, given that the lake sits at an altitude of 4,484 feet. Saint Mary Lake is the second largest lake in Glacier National Park, and in the winter months, it freezes with up to four feet of ice.
4. Hike the Highline Trail
Stretching 7.6 miles from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet, and then continuing 11.9 miles from there to Fifty Mountain Campground, the Highline Trail is one of the most famous hikes in Montana. The views are stunning, as you can see.
5. Drive the Skalkaho Highway
One of the more intense drives you can take in the state, the Skalkaho Highway is a mostly gravel road that runs through the Sapphire Mountains. The hairpin turns will keep you wide awake, as will the many animals you’ll likely encounter on your way through Glacier Country. Seeing Skalkaho Falls is a highlight of the drive.
6. Have a Drink With a Mermaid
The Sip ‘N Dip Lounge is a legendary bar at the O’Haire Motor Inn in Great Falls, Montana. It’s tacky, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and it’s pretty unforgettable.
7. Take in the Night Sky
One of the best parts of any road trip through Montana is the night sky. The state is so free of pollution and people, and it makes for beautiful stargazing. You’ll see more stars in one week than you’ve seen all year in the city. Travel photographers will love the time-lapse shots.
8. Visit Big Sky
A premier ski resort, Big Sky is a great place to visit even out of season. The outdoor recreationist’s playground is home to blue-ribbon trout streams, whitewater rafting experiences, backcountry hiking, wildflowers, and some exhilarating downhill mountain biking in the summertime.
9. Take in the Grandest Canyon
Nicknamed “the grandest canyon in the Northern Rockies”, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is another place you’ll want to visit on your road trip in Montana. You can hike, fish, boat, and take in the wildlife from this fantastic area South of Billings.
10. Enter the Gateway to Yellowstone
You shouldn’t limit yourself to only Montana when you visit, as Yellowstone National Park is located just to the south in Wyoming. West Yellowstone is a town that sits in Montana, so we felt comfortable adding the park to our list. Head through West Yellowstone and finish your Montana road trip in Wyoming at America’s first national park.
Ready for an international road trip? Check out this road trip itinerary through Scotland.