Yellowstone to Glacier National Park Road Trip

Hot springs, high peaks and Montana's wide open spaces dominate this 962-mile tour from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park and back.
By Tori Peglar ,

Hiker at Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park

Thomas Haskett

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 and a vibrant ski town in the summer. Farther north, you’ll find boom-and-bust stories and charming historic towns in Virginia City, Nevada City and Butte.

Minutes from Butte, soak at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and then hit the road to stroll Philipsburg's quaint downtown and sample sweets in The Sweet Palace. Explore the fun university town of Missoula and other authentic towns en route to Glacier National Park. Head east from the park to Great Falls for a primer on renowned artist C.M. Russell. Then visit Helena, Bozeman and Livingston, the original Yellowstone gateway.

Download Trip PDF 18.5MB

Road Trip Itinerary

Start: Southwest Montana from Yellowstone's West Exit

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

Photo by Michel Tallichet courtesy of Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort's Big Five
An hour from Yellowstone's west entrance, head to Big Sky for Montana’s incredible summer activities including a high ride to peak views.
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A family rafting the Gallatin River north of Yellowstone

Photo courtesy of Montana Whitewater

Zipline, Raft or Float with Montana Whitewater Company
Float the river that appeared in A River Runs Through It or the iconic Yellowstone River.
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Virginia City, Montana.

Photo by Donnie Sexton courtesy of Glacier Country Tourism

7 Montana Boom Town Stops 
Southwest Montana offers everything from spirits to saloons. See our list of the top seven places to stop between two national parks.
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Berkeley Pit Open-pit Copper Mine

Courtesy Butte CVB

Butte, Montana, the Richest Hill on Earth
Visit a pit mine, a giant statue, and a distillery, then dance at a signature event at this melting pot of friendly people between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.
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A very pink candy shoppe in Philipsburg

Photo courtesy of The Sweet Palace

Philipsburg, Montana's Big Rock Candy Mountain
You’ll find sapphires, a palace of sorts and healing pools tucked into the gentle folding hillsides and valleys of this swath of southwestern Montana.
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The outdoor hot pool with waterslide at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Courtesy Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Soak it In at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
On your road trip between the two national parks, stop midway to stay in a luxury spa resort, golf, and swim in hot springs pools - one with a water slide.
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Glacier Country

National Bison Range

Photo by Jason Savage courtesy of Glacier Country Tourism

8 Stops on the Way from Missoula to Glacier National Park
Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park including smokejumpers and a bison habitat.
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View from the M in Missoula. 

Photo courtesy of Destination Missoula

Top 10 Things to Do in Missoula, Montana
Unique, cool, hip, and serene, Missoula has the unparalleled natural beauty and cultural vibrancy to make your experience unforgettable.
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Stay Close to Glacier National Park's West Entrance
Pine Lodge in Whitefish is known for its family-friendly nature and easy access to Glacier National Park. Located close to downtown with balcony views of the meandering Whitefish river, several rooms offer in-room fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and are pet-friendly.
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Glacier National Park

Red Bus Tour in Glacier National Park

NPS Tim Rains

48 Hours in Glacier National Park
Favorite things to do in Glacier from a peaceful boat ride and breathtaking hike to eating one of the best huckleberry pastries ever.
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Tour Glacier's Going to the Sun Road with the GyPSy Guide App
Download the tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.
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Mountain goats at Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park

Kim Higgins

Where to See Wildlife in Glacier National Park
You’ll see more than incredible views when you visit Glacier. Keep an eye out for these six fascinating animals.
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Gracie the bark ranger and her owner Mark Biel

Tori Peglar

The Four-Legged Ranger at Glacier National Park
Gracie the dog ranger works hard to keep Glacier National Park visitors and wildlife safe.
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Heading Back to Yellowstone

Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) The Jerk Line, 1912, oil on canvas, C.M. Russell Museum Collection, Gift of Fred Birch (cropped)

Courtesy of C.M. Russell Museum

Works of Art in Great Falls, Montana, home of C.M. Russell Museum
You’ll find one of the West’s most vibrant storytellers in Great Falls, Mont. with world-class paintings and an artsy river walk.
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Train tour in Helena, Montana's Last Chance Gulch. 

Courtesy Helena

Helena, Montana, Where Mountain Bikes and Mansions Reign
This vibrant capital city, which celebrates its rich Gold Rush history, caters to mountain bikers and wine tasters.
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Headliner Dustin Lynch

Townsquare Media via Flickr

Last Chance Stampede at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds
Get ready to wrangle some fun at the Last Chance Stampede and Fair the last week of July. Held July 25-28, 2018, this longtime Helena, Mont., tradition ropes in top-notch talent, including 2018 headliner Dustin Lynch with special guest Tyler Rich, for its four-day, family-oriented rodeo festival.
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One of the country’s largest bison cliff jump sites at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park. 

Courtesy of Montana State Parks

Montana State Parks between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park
See a Native American bison jump, ancient rock drawings, and wild horses on your road trip between two of America's most popular national parks.
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Yellowstone's Northern Doorstep

Arnold and Artisan Stills at Bozeman Spirits.

Jim Harris

Bozeman Spirits, Award-Winning Montana Distillery
Located in historic downtown Bozeman, the distillery produces whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum, distilled and bottled on site. Proud to support Montana farms.
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Fishermen in Paradise Valley near Livingston, Mont.

Courtesy Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce

The Quaint Town of Livingston, Montana
On any given day you could run into Earl Craig, Montana’s poet laureate who works as a farrier—someone who shoes horses—when not writing poetry; or John Bailey, the fly-fishing expert who coached Brad Pitt in casting for the movie A River Runs Through It.
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End: Yellowstone's North Entrance