It’s easy to fall in love with Montana when the leaves are turning golden orange, the earth lights up with a burnished glow, and a hint of cold polishes the evening air. With its deep rivers and snow-peaked mountains, a driving tour is a must for vacation travelers looking for some of the most beautiful sights in North America.
Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Loop
A 63 mile-long route that starts in the Anaconda, this scenic loop follows Highway 1 to Georgetown Lake. Surrounded by the peaks of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, this drive is a must in autumn. Stop in the charming town of Philipsberg where mining for gold and sapphire is a part of its western history. Stay overnight at the ever-cool Broadway Hotel where themed rooms like “The Andes Suite” or “Route 66” add to the local scenery. And don’t forget to stop at the Sweet Palace for a savory sugar blast to your tastebuds!
Fort Peck Reservoir & Dinosaur Trail
Here in Northeastern Montana bird hunters will find a plethora of game such as grouse, pheasant, and Hungarian Partridge. Anglers will enjoy the abundant fishing on the Fort Peck Reservoir, where lunker walleyes literally grope for the hook. Spend some time at the Fort Peck Interactive Center & Museum where you will see an entire T-Rex skeleton and other exciting dinosaur exhibits that were an important part of this rich paleontological area.
Kings Hill Scenic Byway
Driving along Highway 89 through the Little Belt Mountains and the Lewis and Clark National Forest is a great way to spend part of your vacation travel. The 71 miles will take you through exquisite terrain, where you can see why Montana is called Big Sky Country. Why not bring your road bike to enjoy the wide open highway or your mountain bike to experience the single track that is the area’s best kept secret? Then be sure to take a short hike to Memorial Falls where you can rest and bask in the crisp day’s sunshine.
Head south along Highway 89 from the bohemian community of Livingston to experience the beauty of the Yellowstone River, the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48. Here you will drive through the Absaroka/Beartooth and the Gallatin’s mountain ranges, with Yellowstone National Park just south along the way. Stop at the excellent Pine Creek Café for lunch and then take the afternoon to wander through the Cottonwood trees or cast your line for the abundant trout that you will find in local streams. Spend the night at the historic Chico Hot Springs Resort where you can complete your day with a healing soak while you reminisce about your day in paradise.
Riding along Highway 83 you will pass through the Swan Range with the magnificent Mission Mountains hovering around you on either side. With its sparkling alpine lakes, its ponderosa pines, Douglas firs, and larch, the area is breathtaking for autumn travel vacationers. Take a canoe ride on the Clearwater Canoe Trail just north of Seeley Lake and then spend the night at the Double Arrow Resort where the cabins will remind you of the true old west.
Take Highway 212 up through the plains where many battles were waged between Americans and Native American tribes between the years1865 and 1877. Famed areas such as Little Bighorn Battlefield and Rosebud Battlefield are located here, and the Reynolds Battlefield Monument is not to be missed by those of you who are American history buffs. Hike through the area to fully appreciate the feeling of the wild west and keep your eyes open and camera ready for the abundant coyote and elk that inhabit this truly scenic and historic trail.