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  1. Default Advice for Trip Through Montana to Wyoming


    We are in need of advice from seasoned travelers for our upcoming 10-day road trip. We plan to fly into Kalispell and travel through Montana to Wyoming. We really don't want to miss a thing along the way and welcome your suggestions, etc.

    Another thing, we are not sure at this point whether we should explore the idea of renting a small RV for our family of three or rent a car. The hotels I've looked at seem to average around $200/night, so the RV may be the better option, but not sure where we find parking accomodations, etc. Another concern, will we be limited to where we can drive and what we can see in a RV?

    Thank you for your help!

    The Georgia Gang

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default My faves

    Of course there's Glacier National Park and Going-to-the-Sun highway (which you CANNOT do in a large vehicle, which may include a 'small RV', but you CAN take a tourist bus).

    I'm fond of Helena (including the Gates of the Mountains boat tour), Butte (mining museum, Berkeley pit) and Bannack (ghost town west of Dillon).

    Other options of interest might include Lewis and Clark Caverns and Headwaters of the Missouri State Park (where the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson join to form the Missouri; discovered and named by Lewis and Clark).

    Just a few of the many options in Big Sky Country.

  3. Default

    Thank you for the great tips.

  4. #4

    Default My Montana faves

    Hello dragonfly,

    What is your destination in Wyoming? It's a big state and where you're going impacts what's practical to see in Montana on the way there and back to Kalispell.

    I'm a big fan of Missoula, where the U of Montana is located. Cool downtown with the Clark Fork River dividing it from the University campus. Fun bars, good restaurants, long pedestrian/cycle pathways along the river.

    I also always recommend the Big Hole Valley. This "Land of 10,000 Haystacks" is unrivaled in terms of high alpine valleys in the Lower 48. Valley floor at 6,500', the snowcapped Bitterroots and Beaverheads to the west, and the forested Pioneers to the east. The valley is around 15 miles wide and 70 miles north to south. It's HUGE. And it's essentially devoid of tourists. Jackson Hot Springs resort on the southern end offers nice motel rooms, a good restaurant, and a great bar. Then there's the hot springs pool, which is very relaxing. The spring itself is around 1/2 mile from the resort, but the hot waters are piped in. Call ahead to determine "cleaning day" as the pool is drained once a week for cleaning, and it's closed for a full day to allow it to refill and then cool down enough for use.

    Near Wisdom is the Big Hole National Battlefield, an entirely sobering look at the conflict between the Nez Perce and the US cavalry which was part of their 1,300 mile flight from their Idaho homeland in an attempt to reach Canada.

    Nearby in the Pioneers, the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Parkway connects the village of Wise River with the "village" of Polaris. It's a spectacular alpine drive, but not overly curvy and practically no dropoffs, just loads of timbered and snowcapped mountains, streams, and meadows. The ghost town of Coolidge is a 10 minute walk from an easily reached parking area just a couple or three miles off of the Parkway.

    Below Polaris is Bannack, Montana's first territorial capital and a fully-preserved ghost town which is now a state park. July 17-18 is the annual Bannack Days, well worth the stop if you'll be in the area then.

    East of Bannack is Dillon, and passing through Dillon can take you to Virginia City, Montana's second capital and a more fully restored mining town (commercial tourist-type shops and restaurants. Not much farther is Ennis on the Madison River. From there you can go to West Yellowstone, MT and enter Wyoming in Yellowstone, or loop south and enter at Jackson.

    If you keep more or less to I-90 instead of looping south through the Big Hole, the Berkeley Pit in Butte and the mining museum there are must-sees, and farther east is Red Lodge, astride US 212, the Beartooth Highway. This enters the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone and is a simply surreal above-timberline drive.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


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