by Michele Kadison
Arapahoe BasinOnly 190 miles that take you through some of the most spectacular farmlands and ranches Montana has to offer. Sprinkle in some colossal looking mountains, and you’ve got a day trip well worth the taking. The drive will bring you to some historic spots that figure in Lewis and Clark’s well known expedition.
Go 22 miles from Bozeman to Livingston via Interstate 90 east. Once you exit at Livingston, you’ll enjoy the town’s shopping and restaurants as well as the local lore that speaks of the area’s once active railway.
From Livingston, get back on I-90 north and go 20 miles to Clyde Park. This quaint town is a major hub for local farms and ranches dotting the area.
Getting on Highway 89 north, go the 30 miles to Ringling. On the way you will pass through Shields River Valley, an important milestone on Lewis and Clark’s journey. You won’t be able to stop shooting photos of the magnificent Crazy Mountains until you park the car at Ringling, named after one of the Ringling brothers of circus fame.
Take Highway 89 again to Highway 12 en route from Ringling to Townsend. This 42 mile stretch will take you west to Townsend where you will be enfolded by Montana’s Elkhorn and Big Belt Mountains.
From Townsend, head out to the Missouri Headwaters State Park, a 32 mile ride on 287 south. Here you will find the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison Rivers come together to form the Missouri River.
Drive onward to Three Forks, a mere five miles by taking 287 from the State Park. Make sure you have your fishing gear, as the area is chock full of fish as well as historical significance.
Heading back to Bozeman is an easy 32 miles. Take I-90 from Three Forks and you’ll arrive back in town full of the day’s memorable Montana sights.
Click here to download a printable version of this day trip.