When you base your vacation in Paradise Valley, Montana, you have access to an abundance of day trips that go well beyond the expected. Of course, Yellowstone National Park is a top choice, but you have a wealth of options to pick from for Treasure State excursions. Uncover a new adventure on these day trips around the valley beautiful enough to be called Paradise.
Obviously, the nation’s first national park has to make the list when you’re contemplating a day trip. You can experience geological wonders, wildlife viewing, epic hiking, and historic sites, all within a reasonable radius from your basecamp.
As one of the fastest-growing cities in Montana and one famed for its dining, breweries, and shopping, Bozeman makes an ideal city break from all the beautiful natural spaces of Montana. And, of course, its connection to the wilderness is still strong, with views of the Bridger Range taking the spotlight around town, and spots like Hyalite Canyon offering easy access to hiking and climbing.
Billings is an under-the-radar spot, but as Montana’s largest city, you can find a thing or two to explore. This is the home of ZooMontana, and sites like Pictograph Cave State Park, Pompey’s Pillar, and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument make a diverting stop as well. You can be here in under two hours from Paradise Valley if you hop on the interstate, but there are plenty of more off-the-beaten-path routes to experience, too.
The capital city merits a visit, if only to imbibe at some of the state’s favorite breweries, enjoy the walking mall, and take a Gates of the Mountains boat tour to travel in Lewis and Clark’s footsteps. The rugged limestone cliffs that rise above the river give the experience a dramatic feel, and the stories that experienced boat guides have to tell will set the scene for your Montana experience. It’s only two hours on scenic highways from Livingston to Helena.
Speaking of Lewis and Clark, fans of the expedition will want to take a walk around Missouri Headwaters State Park, where the Madison, Gallatin, and Jefferson converge to wind all the way east to the Mississippi. Stretch your legs and immerse yourself in history here, just a short drive out of the valley.
The famous Beartooth Highway will take you to new heights as this scenic road rises to over 10,000 feet in elevation. The serpentines and contorted turns of the winding road are not for the faint of heart—or those with a fear of heights. The drive itself takes about two hours from Cooke City-Silver Gate, but you’ll want to allow for a little more time to stop and enjoy the views. Expect your day to hold at least six-to-eight hours of driving to loop to and from Paradise Valley. But it’s well worth the mountainous experience.
Hot springs soaks, mansion tours, and ghost town fun awaits in the small town of White Sulphur Springs. A dip in the Spa Hot Springs will help ease your worries, as natural mineral waters seep into your pores and relax your muscles. Travel from Paradise Valley, depending on where you are, to this ultimate warm-water relaxation in just over an hour or two.
Fort Benton is a three-hour drive from Livingston, and the road takes you through grand country scapes with mountain views, forest feels, and the potential for plenty of wildlife. This pretty little town is steeped in history and charm as the oldest settlement in Montana. You can combine this jaunt with your White Sulphur Springs visit to round out your trip.
For more ideas on your next Montana adventure, check out the rest of the Highline Adventures blog.