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  1. #1

    Default Chicago -> Glacier National Park ( Colubia Falls area)

    Hello great masters of travel !
    I would like to request some recommendations for activities for our long overdue trip from Chicago to Glacier NAT Park that has been postoned for many years.
    We will travel from Aug 10-26 2012 staying in Columbia Falls, MT outside of Glacier for 10 days (Aug 13-24).

    1) Route preference : I-94 across WI, MN and ND, which sounds great, but where I am not sure is that Google shows to get off I-94 and take smaller roads after Glendive, MT that go through central MT, instead of following I-94 on a souther route via Billing, Butte, Missoula, Kalispell. Has anyone taken either route ? pros & cons ?

    2) We have been looking at some activity brochures and would like to ask for any recommendations of Must-See or Must-do activities in the Glacier/ Great Falls area? We are on a tight budget, but wish to plan on a rafting trip, several day trips and hikes within Glacier and plan on an evening horseback ride with cowboy dinner and possible flyfishing activity.

    3) any dog friendly activities would be helpful as we have two labs, that we will have to board during any hikes in Nat Parks and non-pet friendly areas.

    Many Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    Although longer in miles, the fastest route to Columbia Falls is I-94 to Missoula and US-93 to Kalispell. However, MT-200 from Glendive to Great Falls, then I-15 to US-2 is an excellent alternative and is 100 miles shorter. Do both - so you have different scenery on the way home.

  3. #3


    After driving across Minnesota and North Dakota, you're probably going to be ready for a little break. Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, North Dakota is a great stop and Medora is a nice little town to explore for a couple of hours. A little further on at Glendive, Montana, Maskoshika State Park is also a nice stop.

    I don't know what you are doing about lodging along the way but if you're budget-conscious, I'd suggest you look at Glendive if you need lodging in the Medora/Glendive region. Because of the popularity of the Medora Musical, lodging in Medora is on the expensive side when the show is in season which it will be in August.

    Not sure what route google is taking you but since you say it takes you off the Interstate at Glendive, I'm guessing it's taking you across US 2. If so, I would not be concerned about taking it if that's the route you choose. This is a very sparsely populated part of the country and traffic is very light.

    Have A Great Trip!!

  4. #4


    Great idea , Will do !! Go on Interstate, Maybe return via Smaller roads .
    We have pet friendly hotel reservations in Glendive, so a stop in Medora is feasable.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I've taken the MT-200 route and its quite nice. Very straightforward and rural, but a nice trip across Big Sky country. It is wide open, with few towns, so you can make pretty good time.

    Considering that taking I-94 adds well over 100 miles, I'd be fairly shocked if that is actually saves much, if any time. I would agree with taking 2 different routes, but if it was me, I'd actually use MT-200 one way and US-2 the other.

    I'd also highly recommend both Teddy Roosevelt and Maskoshika State Park as suggested by Charlie above.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default I've just come that way.

    Would have to agree with Michael. Both those roads will give you good time, and are most pleasant roads through bigsky country. When taking route 200, be sure to make a visit to the National Bison Ranch at Moise. Not to be missed. US2 is a fantastic road which will still see you at 65+ most of the time, and passes by or through some of the local state parks and lakes. As well, you will pass along the southern edge of Glacier NP, where a stop at Goat Lick is a must.

    Shelby is a lovely little town.

    On my way back from AK, last month, I cut through from Wolf Point to Glendive. That too, was a pleasant route through rolling countryside. I particularly enjoyed the serenity of these routes, which still allow one to maintain around 65 for most of the way with very little traffic!


  7. #7


    Thanks everyone, I'm taking notes and will use your advice.

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