Best Scenic Drive In Montana (10 Cool Scenic Drives)

Best Scenic Drive In Montana is a nature lover’s paradise, with beautiful landscapes to discover. Driving along the Beartooth Highway provides panoramic views of the breathtaking Pryor Mountains and Granite Peak, while trekking in Glacier National Park will take one’s breath away with picturesque waterfalls, tranquil lakes, and enchanting forests.

At Sun Road in Flathead Valley, visitors can find gorgeous vistas at every turn as they traverse through subalpine meadows to the stunning Lookout Pass.

Those that want to witness Montana’s largest wildlife refuge should head over to Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge, where a drive down its route offers glimpses of moose, white pelicans, and many other animals amidst lush greenery.

Overview Scenic Drive In Montana

The state of Montana offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes in America.

From its majestic snow-capped mountains to its shimmering glacial lakes, taking a scenic drive in the Big Sky Country is the perfect way to experience its grandeur.

The Beartooth Highway traverses across 69 miles of colossal mountain peaks, lush forests, and exquisite alpine meadows.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road provides an awe-inspiring journey through glacier-fed rivers, serene ponds, and towering waterfalls at the very heart of Glacier National Park.

Another popular route is the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway offering magnificent views of brilliant flower fields at Beartooth Plateau. Enjoy a beautiful drive down Bitterroot Valley with its dramatic river views and historic ranches.

Scenic Drive In Montana

Popular List of Scenic Drive In Montana

There are several popular scenic drives across the state, winding through stunning glacier-polished mountains, lush alpine meadows, and seemingly never-ending fields of wildflowers.

One of these drives is close to Glacier National Park and runs along Going-to-the-Sun Road, which traverses through an awe-inspiring landscape covered by white mountain peaks and sparkling blue Alpine lakes.

For even more spectacular views, visitors can go road-tripping around Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake on the western side of the Mississippi River.

Along this 150-mile journey, you can also spot incredible wildlife like bighorn sheep, bears, moose, elk, and bald eagles flying gracefully around you.

Going-To-The-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road, located in Montana’s Glacier National Park, is a 50-mile road renowned for its beauty and magnificence.

Snow-capped mountains loom on the horizon and wildflowers abound along the sides of the road while diverse wildlife can often be seen.

The pristine views also include glacial mountains, rushing rivers, and lush meadows that lead travelers on an unforgettable journey as they drive along.

The winding drive provides countless switchback turns that allow travelers to experience the park’s rugged landscape in all its splendor.

Going-to-the-Sun Road provides a one-of-a-kind experience for those who want to revel in dramatic vistas and natural wonders.

Going to the Sun Road Glacier National Park

Beartooth Highway

Stretching 68 miles, the Beartooth Highway in Montana offers unparalleled beauty and vistas of jagged mountain peaks, lush meadows, and deep valleys from around every bend.

This winding road begins east of Red Lodge and snakes its way to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park at Cooke City.

Along the way, visitors will enjoy panoramic views of wildflower-dotted fields, unspoiled forests, glacial tarns, snow-capped mountains, thundering waterfalls, and abundant wildlife as they climb to an elevation of 10,947 feet at Beartooth Pass.

Big Sky Scenic Byway

Located in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana, Big Sky Scenic Byway is an incredible winding drive offering mesmerizing views of nature at its best.

The drive takes you past scenic mountain ranges, meadows, and rock formations, along with a plethora of wildlife from moose to deer.

You’ll truly be captivated by the sight of the snow-capped peaks as if they reach out for miles into the distance. And that’s just the beginning of this fabulous landscape.

Along the way, you will find numerous opportunities for fishing, hiking, and birdwatching; or perhaps you’d prefer to take a leisurely ride on horseback.

The Big Sky Scenic Byway is attractively marked with blue arrows which make it easy to find your way along this amazing path.

Bighorn Canyon Scenic Byway

Montana’s Bighorn Canyon Scenic Byway is a journey of remarkable ruggedness and beauty.

Covering a span of 63 miles, the route takes drivers past two incredible national parks: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

Voyagers will witness the stark contrast between the sun-bathed desert terrain punctuated with green riparian vegetation and the gentle banks of the Bighorn River.

Geologic formations such as ridgelines, spires, buttes, canyons, and bluffs are peppered throughout the area along with abundant wildlife including mule deer, white-tailed deer, and numerous species of raptors.

Along its winding course, visitors may also view more than 600 archeological sites reflecting 10,000 years of human history in the Big Horn Basin.

Bighorn Canyon Scenic Byway

Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway

The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway in Montana is an incredible route for a scenic drive.

Along the 156-mile journey, visitors will be able to take in stunning wooded valleys and soaring mountain peaks with snow-capped summits.

This byway is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and certain portions reverberate with early American history, making for a unique experience.

During a drive along the route, travelers may spot bighorn sheep or elk as well as other wildlife such as martens and mule deer.

Gallatin Canyon Scenic Byway

The inspiring Gallatin Canyon Scenic Byway wends its way through dozens of miles of sweeping, untouched beauty.

Nestled at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, rich evergreen forests and shimmering creeks flank the roadway as you drive up and down rugged trails.

Glittering mountain peaks are visible in every direction and visitors can take in unique wildlife-watching opportunities, as well as ancient petroglyph carvings.

This amazing drive is sure to captivate even the most experienced road tripper. Its dramatic hillside curves, stunning vistas, lush natural areas, and the opportunity to experience a wide variety of outdoor activities make it an ideal journey for anyone looking for a break from the ordinary.

Gallatin Canyon Scenic Byway

Lewis & Clark National Forest Scenic Byway

Sometimes the best way to experience the beauty of Montana is with a scenic drive.

The Lewis and Clark National Forest Scenic Byway provides travelers with just that, taking them from Great Falls to Helena and offering breathtaking sights at every turn.

Framed by the Rocky Mountains and rolling hills, picturesque plains, and startling canyons, this byway provides some of the best views in the region.

From rivers and lakes to forests of lodgepole pine, spruce, and fir, all with wildlife abound, those on this journey will be filled with wonder at nature’s bounty.

Stopovers include points of poignant history such as Arrow Creek Crossing, where famed explorers Lewis and Clark discovered their route across the mountains over 200 years ago.

Lewis & Clark National Forest Scenic Byway

The Wild Horse Plains Scenic Drive

The Wild Horse Plains Scenic Drive located in Montana is a breathtaking experience for anyone who loves the countryside. This rural road offers spectacular views of ranches, rolling hills, and the majestic Rocky Mountains to the west.

On clear days you can enjoy spectacularly colorful sunsets that stretch across the entire landscape. In the summer months, keep an eye out for herds of wild horses that roam throughout these plains, and make sure to stop off at one of the many roadside attractions such as historical sites, state parks, and picnic areas.

The Wild Horse Plains Scenic Drive

Red Lodge to Cooke City Scenic Byway

The Red Lodge to Cooke City Scenic Byway in Montana is a 29-mile drive that takes travelers through some of the most awe-inspiring views the state has to offer.

Starting in Red Lodge, visitors are greeted with an amazing array of towering mountain peaks and breathtaking alpine valleys.

As you drive along this winding route, you will be surrounded by forested mountain ranges, expansive meadows, deep canyons, and rushing creeks that provide endless serenity.

From wildflower fields and pine forests to glaciers and wildlife sightings, this byway boasts incredible views around every turn.

You’ll make stops at historical sites too; like the restored Abe Sargent homestead, as well as in towns brimming with history before reaching Cooke City, your final destination.

Red Lodge to Cooke City Scenic Byway

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Scenic Byway

Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Scenic Byway is a truly remarkable drive.

Spanning 178 miles of lush valleys, winding rivers, and rugged peaks, this gorgeous trek winds along some of the most picturesque mountain ranges in the Continental United States.

It features three distinct national forests and Glacier National Park, as well as forty trails that traverse the high country of Montana.

The byway offers plenty of breathtaking views such as crystalline alpine lakes surrounded by majestic peaks, dramatic glaciers perched on top of cliffsides, lush meadows scattered with wildflowers, and dense evergreen forests ripe for exploration.

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Scenic Byway

Tips For Enjoying The Drive

The scenic views of Montana are unparalleled, and taking a drive through the countryside can be an amazing experience. To fully appreciate this trek, it is important to plan ahead.

The first step is to choose the route; take time to review maps and research all the interesting places that you could stop along the way.

It’s also recommended to start the journey early in the morning when the roads are less congested and have more opportunities for sightseeing. If possible, try to avoid traveling on weekends or holidays; these times tend to experience a surge in traffic.

Best Time To Visit:

The best time to experience this natural beauty is during the summer months when nature is at its peak with lush fields of wildflowers as far as the eye can see.

While autumn brings harsher temperatures for travelers, it also brings changing leaf colors and more moderate weather than other times of the year.

As the snow begins to fall during the winter months, many pathways become impassable due to treacherous icy roads and limited hours of daylight; thus, spring is often preferred for drives when dirt roads thaw and nature awakens from hibernation, although be mindful that occasional rain clouds may cast shadows on an otherwise clear day.

Preparing For The Drive

Before you hit the road, it’s important to do some prep work. Make sure your car, from tires, lights, and brakes to fluids, is in excellent condition and your spare tire is inflated.

Bring along snacks, plenty of water, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and extra layers of clothing – it can get cold in Montana.

Navigate your route before starting out and be mindful of possible stops along the road. To ensure you don’t miss a turnoff or overlook a stunning view, look for pullouts that offer great opportunities for pictures.

Must-Have Supplies

A drive through Montana will have you discovering new beauty around every corner. To make the most of this experience, it’s best to be prepared with all of the must-have supplies.

First off, bring plenty of sun protection. A wide-brim hat and strong sunscreen will protect your skin from the often blazing Montana sunshine.

Comfort food is also essential because you’ll never know when a sudden craving for something salty or sweet will hit you.

Be sure to pack non-perishable snacks like trail mix, granola bars, and even those delicious cupcakes from your favorite bakery back home.

And don’t forget a first aid kit with bandages, aspirin, and antiseptic wipes just in case someone gets hurt along the way. With these items tucked away in your car, you are ready for an incredibly scenic drive in Montana!

Road Conditions

The roads in Montana are generally well-maintained; however, depending on the time of year and type of road, you might find certain conditions that can make your drive a bit more difficult. On dirt roads washboard, gravel, rocks, and potholes can affect handling and make for a bumpy ride.

Most notably, however, during spring you will find many Montana roads covered with mud after long winters leading up to the spring thaw or heavy rainfall runoff which could lead to road closures or hazardous conditions due to possible flooding or slippery surfaces.

Driving in Montana has its challenges but with a bit of extra care, you should have no problem enjoying your scenic drive safely.


A scenic drive in Montana is a truly majestic experience. The panoramic views of the mountainous terrain, lush meadows, and picturesque streams captivate the eyes of all who take the journey.

Not only is it an opportunity to marvel at the beauty of nature, but it is also a time for reflection, allowing oneself time to appreciate their surroundings and simply be present without feeling pressured or hurried by daily life.

After completing a scenic drive in Montana one will be filled with awe at the breathtaking sights seen along the way as well as immersed in lots of memories sure to last a lifetime.