Montana was made for road-tripping, with wide-open spaces and plenty of public lands to play in. The two national parks—complemented by a host of National Monuments, state parks, and other public lands in between—are the perfect bookends for this kind of drive. Here's what you have to see and do along the way.
As the first National Park in the United States, Yellowstone is the ideal start to a National Park road trip in Montana. Even though only a corner of the park sits in the state, you can still get your first taste of the Treasure State surrounded by wildlife and geothermal features.
In Gardiner, you can enjoy hot spring soaks, and whitewater floats at the Gateway to Yellowstone. This is the spot to grab a burger after a serious hike in the park, and it's a great home base for all your Yellowstone adventures since you have services and scenery all in one spot.
There's plenty to do in Bozeman as you're passing through. The Museum of the Rockies gives you a prehistoric look at the area, with dinosaur skeletons galore. And between restaurants, bars, breweries, and cafes, you had better be hungry for farm-to-table fare. As you head to your next waypoint, throw in a bonus stop at Missouri Headwaters State Park in Three Forks, where Lewis and Clark first visited over 200 years ago.
In Helena, you should be sure to make time for a boat tour at Gates of the Mountains. You can follow Lewis and Clark's footsteps while you float between scenic cliffs, traveling up the Missouri River. Enjoy colorful stories and extensive history from your guide as you relax and take in the beauty around you.
The east side of Glacier National Park pays tribute to the dramatic shift from prairie to peaks in the Rocky Mountain Front. Pick up a pastry and a bite in East Glacier to fuel your adventures as you venture into the Two Medicine area or explore the less-trafficked National Forest land around the southern border of the park. If you didn't have a chance to take the Gates of the Mountains boat tour (or even if you did), Two Medicine Lake is a great place to get one in. Then head north to start your park time.
Enter the park at St. Mary and follow the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road through the heart of the park, where you'll have the chance of spotting bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and plenty more. And you'll enjoy all the wildlife-viewing opportunities on a backdrop of rugged mountains and scenery straight out of postcards.
Once you make it to Bigfork, you have the whole of Flathead Lake and the expansive valley to wander. There are miles of river to fish or float, the lake to paddle, and trails to traverse. Then there's boutique shopping in town, and you can schedule a pack trip to get authentic Montana to feel from horseback. Polish off the day with a brew or a bite at local restaurants, and you're ready to relax and watch the sunset.
We know that a Yellowstone to Glacier adventure is the kind of one to fit in before the summer is over. As you go, there are lots of spots to stay along the way and we hope you feel welcomed at all Highline Adventure properties.
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