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Must see places in Montana

Blackpool
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Must see places in Montana

We are spending our 2012 vacation in Montana and have 2-3 weeks to explore the area

There is obviously lots to see and do and I have a travel guide but am struggling to plough my way through it

Can anyone tell me of the places, sights, routes not to be missed on our trip please

We fly in and out of Billings so will be drawing up our own circular route but any hints and tips would be really appreciated

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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1. Re: Must see places in Montana

CHime in others, please............Tell us WHEN you are coming, as that has some influence on our recommendations. That said, look at Beartooth hwy to Yellowstone, then up through Glacier national Park and then out. Give us more about what you want to see, do and your activiety level and we can expand.

Blackpool
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2. Re: Must see places in Montana

Ooop sorry - our trip is in July

We are not particularly energetic and don't do any hiking on these trips

We mostly enjoy driving round enjoying the scenery and love seeing the wildlife. I'm not overly fond of heights so on the scary roads I prefer to be on the safer side. I have seen a couple of forum discussions on whether its best to travel north to south or east to west on some of the Montana highways

We are not fond of big cities but prefer smaller places as they are always more friendly. A nice play to stay in a neat little old town with a nice meal and a few beers in the evening is always high on our list

Thanks for your help

chilliwack
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3. Re: Must see places in Montana

hi..i live in b.c. canada and drive back east often.my most fav stop is miles city montana,i stay at the motel 6 right off the I 90...senior discount, check in and walk down to eat at the Boardwalk restaurant(best steaks i n the USA),go downtown and check out the saloon with the stuffed animal in the window.take camera! i like the theatre also ,just like the shows of the fifties..enjoy

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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4. Re: Must see places in Montana

I don't know where your route is taking you, but you might consider looping down through Ennis - a nice small town - good places to eat and lots going on during the summer. From there you could drive through Virginia City/Nevada City - then up through Philipsburg and Anaconda - all interesting places off the Interstate.

North Carolina
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5. Re: Must see places in Montana

We enjoyed Deer Lodge - small town, a few interesting museums (antique cars, old prison), Grant Kohr's Ranch (not much walking and very interesting). Great steaks. Very friendly people.

Ennis was also beautiful. Virginia City was fun.

Edited: 12:16 am, March 15, 2012
North Carolina
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6. Re: Must see places in Montana

Some of our favorite places from our two trips to Montana:

Yellowstone National Park - unbeatable wildlife viewing, especially near dusk in the Lamar Valley

Drive from Gardiner north through Paradise Valley. Chico Hot Springs along the way for mineral swimming pool and horseback riding

Drive through Ennis/Virginia City

Scenery near Pipestem (between Polson and St Ignacious) on the way to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park (you can take a 'jammer' to drive you on the Going to the Sun Road) - highly recommended

Gates of the Mountains (just north of Helena) - boat tour along the Missouri River - Lewis and Clark territory

Cody, Wyoming - 'Wild West' feel to it. Buffalo Bill Museum is awesome. Also liked the drive to Yellowstone from Cody.

My husband is a 'small town' type of guy. He felt that Bozeman, Missoula and Great Falls felt 'too busy'.

National Parks don't have that 'small town' feel and lack some amenities, but they do offer great scenery and lack of billboards. They are also filled with relaxed, happy people from all over the world who are enjoying the same thing along with you. We've met some fine folks and met some real characters in National Parks. It's part of the fun.

North Canton, OH
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7. Re: Must see places in Montana

We have attended a family reunion in the Scobey, MT area which is in the northeastern corner of the state. The last full weekend of June every year, Scobey has a Pioneer Days festival at Pioneer Town. Interesting displays in the museum as well as a stage show called The Dirty Shame Show makes this festival one of the best we've ever been to and we've seen alot in our travels.

Having landed in Billings, we were amazed at the view from the airport across the butte and over the city of Billings. Billings has some interesting sculptures and historic sights as well.

Little Big Horn is located just southeast of Billings. We just happened to visit on June 25 and were moved to learn that day was the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to see the Indians come in on horseback but got to watch the solemn activities they were holding as well as hear some Native Americans give speeches in their language.

Returning to Billings that night, we spotted a cougar running along side the highway next to the car. Amazing sight!! Later in the week, we spotted not only a Saw Whet owl (one of the smallest in the U.S.) but a Great Horned Owl (one of the largest in the U.S.) as well.

Northeast of Billings on I-94 is Pompey's Pillar where Captain Clark of the Lewis & Clark expedition carved his name in the sandstone face. It remains the only physical evidence of the expedition that took place in the first years of the the 1800's.

The eastern part of the state is so different from the western edge and the Glacier National Park area. Both are beautiful and worthy of exploration.

Have fun and safe travels!

Helena, Montana
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8. Re: Must see places in Montana

After visiting Billings, Custer Battlefield and Red Lodge.. head westerly-north and visit Helena, Great Falls and Fort Benton.

Helena has wonderful state capitol, lively street fairs, state historical musuem, trolley tours. Very historic, charming city. Great Falls is home to the renowned C.M.Russell art museum, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, First People's Buffalo Jump and many other picturesque city parks and state parks. Gibson Park and Giant Springs State Park. Fort Benton is the birthplace of Montana and has one of the most historic and grand hotels on the banks of the Missouri- The Grand Union. Beautiful.

I D
Orlando
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9. Re: Must see places in Montana

Hi, I lived and worked and went to school in Montana for many years. Here are a few of my suggestions (all these sites are googable….is that a word?).

1. (if your still landing in Billings) Land and immediately if possible drive west towards Livingston Montana, Great Hotel in town called the Murray Hotel (cool little restaurant downstairs, and a bar, also a good sandwich shop, ice cream parlor, and neat downtown all within walking distance). Get the Sam Peckinpah suite if the size budget permits).

2. If you want and have time drive down into Yellowstone national park (from Livingston, will be a round trip) Check out the Chico Hot Springs Hotel and bar along the way, cool spot, hang out in Yellowstone for a bit if you like.

BUT the real gems of Montana start in Missoula (western MT) and go north from there.

3. So when you get to Missoula, be sure to stay in the Downtown area, you will find a funky cool, outdoor lovers town, good beers, bars, excellent coffee shops and eating, farmers market on weekends and festivals often on the riverfront.

a) if your adventurous go to a bar called Charlie B's and grab some Cajun food from the cafe in the back.

b) locate Bernice’s Bakery and EAT EAT EAT

c) food for thought by the university for casual hearty breakfast food

D) you can also rent mountain bikes and go biking in the rattlesnake national forest, or arrange for rafting or tubing down any of the local rivers, or just eat, shop and take pitcures.

4. Head North out of Missoula towards Flathead lake, your destination is Glacier National Park, take the road that follows the eastern shore of the lake. Enjoy the drive, stop and eat as you wish, grab veggies and fruits from the orchards as you drive by.

5. Keeping your fear of heights in mind you might want to avoid Going to the Sun Road (at least from Siyeh(bend) on… wich is way past the length of Lake Macdonald, first major sharp bend on the map indicates where elevation seriously begins) HOWEVER!!!!, I too don’t like heights but this is a drive and a road i think EVERYONE should see and drive at least once. There simply is no comparison. Just take it slow, use the pull offs for picture taking, breaks as you see fit, and once you get to visitor center at top its all downhill from there. And you may be aggravated that you took this road on the way up (if heights are really an issue) but you will be glad you did and wont regret it. Plus its like a wildlife safari up top, moutain goats, bighorn sheep, elk and bears all often seen right in the middle of the road).

but, if the height thing is too much, then do explore the western side of the park as you have time (its generally less windy and wetter than the eastern side) if your adventurous and time permits, find your way to Polebridge on the western side (crazy dirt road, no vertical issues, with a fantastic bakery, saloon, and cafe in the middle of nowhere when you get there). ID DEF GO TO POLEBRIDGE

6. Eventually make your way to the ST. Mary Montana, and the eastern half of glacier, if your avoiding going to the sun road, just simply follow the highways on the parks eastern boundary. Highway 2 and 89 (avoid route 49 if heights are a serious issue, but it is a much shorter and still safe road if your able and lovely also).

You will pass all kind of amazing picturesque spots the entire length of the entire trip, play it by ear and have fun (pack a cooler for drinks, food, and whatever goodies you pick up along the way..i.e. huckleberry anything, micro brews).

When you get to St Mary explore more. There is Many Glacier to the North, Glacier to your west, Two Medicine to your south. Words aren’t capable of describing any of them, you have to see to believe and even then take a picture to remind yourselves.

Food: Park Cafe (hippie goodness = St. Mary), Johnsons of St Mary (homemade breads, soups) Two Sisters Cafe (hippie fresh pies and funky themed dinners i.e. crab fest, and mardi gras, etc = Just North of St. Mary) and the Babb Steak House, massively expensive but also immensely big steaks = north of St Mary). (eating or staying in the park itself is well…. Blah, but you’re here for the scenery anyway, and that will make up for anything, those restaurants I listed are all just outside the park).

Lodging: avoid red eagle hotel (on Johnsons Property in St. Mary) but the Cabins and Rooms the Johnsons rent out (separate and not related to Red Eagle) are actually very nice, a good deal and a solid recommendation).

The big resort in St. Mary (just outside the park entranse) is kind of pricey but is clean and the bar is cool, avoid the restaurant).

Have Fun, expect to see a lot of wildlife, pay attention to Bear Safety especially if you hike. Drive safely. Enjoy

Edited: 5:36 pm, April 07, 2012
Helena, Montana
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10. Re: Must see places in Montana

I agree with you I D- Western Montana is great... ... but it sounds like this couple is looking for scenic drives, small towns, slower pace.. . And driving from Billings.. all the way to Polebridge? and back? No.. I'd not advise that. And the traffic on 93 can be nuts sometimes.. not too much time to enjoy the view when there are distractions.

For this couple- I'd recommend any kind of eastern circular route for this trip. Maybe another trip is in order if they do decide to visit the western side of the state.