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.
Road Trip Itinerary
Start: Yellowstone's West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont.
Stop 1: 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.
Stop 2: Southwest Montana's Boom Towns
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.
Stop 3: Philipsburg, Montana’s Big Rock Candy Mountain and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
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.
Stop 4: Ten Glacier-Country Sights and Tastes on the Way from Missoula to the Park
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.
Stop 5: Wild Horse Island State Park
Hiking trails abound on this 2,160-acre island in Flathead Lake. Take a boat tour to and from the island.
Stop 6: Glacier National Park
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.
Stop 7: First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park
See how ancient Native Americans hunted bison at one of the country’s largest bison cliff jump sites.
Stop 8: Great Falls' CM Russell Museum and Mermaids
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.
Stop 9: Hip Helena, Where Mountain Bikes and Mansions Reign
This vibrant capital city, which celebrates its rich Gold Rush history, caters to mountain bikers and wine tasters.
Last Chance Stampede & Fair
Vacationing in late July? Don't miss the parade and rodeo in Helena on July 26-29, 2017.
Stop 10: Bozeman's Dinosaurs and Vodka
Museum of the Rockies
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.
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.
Stop 11: Live it up in Livingston
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.
End: Yellowstone's North Entrance at Gardiner
Go Rafting, Fishing or Ziplining with Montana Whitewater
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!
Explore by Raft and Bike with Flying Pig Adventure Co.
Guided adventures like whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly fishing and park tours. Try our 5-day adventure package.