Yellowstone to Glacier National Park Road Trip

40% of Yellowstone visitors also plan to spend time in Montana’s Glacier country, an outdoor and wildlife hotspot.
By Staff,
Kids playing in Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park

Road Trip Overview

There’s a magical evening light that sweeps across the broad shoulders of Montana’s sky. Its radiating pink and purple colors echo off windows of log-hewn cabins, patios of breweries and the sides of aging pickup trucks rattling down lonely roads. Montana artist C.M. Russell captured this magnificent light in his paintings, and it fills the landscape with a peace that seeps into its people like water spilling over a river bank.

Discover Montana’s spectacular culture via West Yellowstone, Mont., as you point your wheels north to Glacier National Park. In Big Sky, you’ll find adrenaline-filled activities. Farther north, you’ll find boom-and-bust stories in Virginia City, Nevada City and Butte.

Beyond take a dip at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and sample sweets in Philipsburg. Explore Missoula and other lively towns en route to Glacier National Park. Head east from the park to Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman and Livingston, the original Yellowstone gateway.

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Road Trip Itinerary

Start: Yellowstone's West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont.

Stop 1: Big Sky Resort

Summer at Big Sky Resort. Photo by Michel Tallichet courtesy of Big Sky Resort

While Big Sky Resort is known for the 400 inches of powder that falls on its ski slopes every year, its summer activities are giving winter a run for its money. Few places make it so easy to experience Montana’s incredible summer outdoor activities than Big Sky.
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Stop 2: Southwest Montana's Boom Towns

Virginia City, Montana. Photo by Donnie Sexton

Southwest Montana offers everything from gems to hot springs. See our list of the top seven places to stop between two national parks, Yellowstone and Glacier including Headframe Spirits and the Copper King Mansion in Butte, Montana.
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Stop 3: Philipsburg, Montana’s Big Rock Candy Mountain and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

The Sweet Palace in Philipsburg, Mont. Courtesy photo

This town is a version of the big rock candy mountain about which Burl Ives sang. It’s made of sapphires and sweets. On the way to Philipsburg, unwind after a day of sightseeing with a hot dip in a pool at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
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Stop 4: Ten Glacier-Country Sights and Tastes on the Way from Missoula to the Park

Donuts at the Windmill Village Bakery. Photo courtesy of Glacier Country

Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park including smokejumpers and an old mission.
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Stop 5: Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild horse at Wild Horse Island. Photo courtesy of Montana State Parks

Hiking trails abound on this 2,160-acre island in Flathead Lake. Take a boat tour to and from the island.
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Stop 6: Glacier National Park

Sunrise over Fishercap Lake in Glacier National Park. Photo by Adam Jewell

Nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park sits in the northwest corner of Montana. This national park is the most popular add-on to a Yellowstone vacation.
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Rest Stop: Shelby, Montana

Stay at the Comfort Inn Gateway to Glacier and get a free $25 Town Pump Gift Card.
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Stop 7: First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

One of the country’s largest bison cliff jump sites at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park. Photo courtesy of Montana State Parks

See how ancient Native Americans hunted bison at one of the country’s largest bison cliff jump sites.
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Stop 8: Great Falls' CM Russell Museum and Mermaids

Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), The Fireboat, 1918, oil on board, C.M. Russell Museum Collection, Gift of Mrs. Wade George in memory of Wade Hampton George (cropped)

Visit the C.M. Russell Museum featuring his log cabin art studio from 1903. Explore the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center. Then relax, sip a drink, and watch mermaids.
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Stop 9: Hip Helena, Where Mountain Bikes and Mansions Reign

Wine sign in Helena, Mont. Courtesy photo

This vibrant capital city, which celebrates its rich Gold Rush history, caters to mountain bikers and wine tasters.
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Last Chance Stampede & Fair

Vacationing in late July? Don't miss the parade and rodeo in Helena on July 26-29, 2017.
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Rest Stop: Helena, Montana

Stay at the Comfort Suites Helena and get a free $25 Town Pump Gift Card.
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Stop 10: Bozeman's Dinosaurs and Vodka

Museum of the Rockies

Dinosaur at the Museum of the Rockies. Courtesy photo

Explore jurassic discoveries at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Jack Horner grew a dinosaur collection into one of the biggest in the country, but few know the story of the pioneering woman who co-founded the museum.
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Bozeman Spirits

Arnold and Artisan Stills at Bozeman Spirits. Photo by Jim Harris

Visit Bozeman Spirits, an award-winning Montana distillery that is proud to support Montana farms. Located in historic downtown Bozeman, the distillery produces whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum, distilled and bottled on site.
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Stop 11: Live it up in Livingston

Downtown Livingston, Mont. Photo courtesy of Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce

This quaint town has attracted cowboys, ranchers, the rich and famous and artists enamored by the scenery for more than 100 years. Stop at these 3 places.
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End: Yellowstone's North Entrance at Gardiner

Go Rafting, Fishing or Ziplining with Montana Whitewater

Montana Whitewater Zipline Tour. Courtesy photo

Run all three of the best rivers near the North and West Entrances to Yellowstone National Park, with two convenient locations in Gardiner and Big Sky. Combine a zip line tour with a rafting trip for a full day of fun- the Zip ‘n Dip Package!
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Explore by Raft and Bike with Flying Pig Adventure Co.

Family rafting with Flying Pig Adventures Company out of Gardiner, Montana. Courtesy photo

Guided adventures like whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly fishing and park tours. Try our 5-day adventure package.
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