Best Scenic Drives Montana (10 Most Beautiful Roads)

Scenic Drives Montana- Montana is known for its stunning scenery and vast open spaces. There are few places in the world with such spectacular natural surroundings, making it one of the premier destinations for those seeking a scenic drive. From the rolling prairies of eastern Montana to the lush forests of western Montana, there are numerous routes throughout the state to take in awe-inspiring views.

For those looking for an unforgettable road trip, Montana offers a wide variety of scenic drives that can be tailored to fit any length of the journey or level of difficulty. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely weekend jaunt on the Going-to-the-Sun Road or a multi-day adventure trekking along Beartooth Highway, Montana has plenty of breathtaking routes to explore.

With its incredible landscape ranging from snowcapped mountains to gently rolling hills and rugged granite cliffs, scenic drives in Montana provide travelers with some of nature’s most picturesque vistas. Vast grasslands stretch out as far as the eye can see while pristine mountain lakes reflect crystal-clear blue skies.

Wildlife sightings are also abundant and include bighorn sheep, moose, antelope, elk, deer, and more. Whether your interest is exploring alpine meadows or taking in panoramic views from high mountain passes, there’s no shortage of amazing sights found on scenic drives in Montana.

Overview Of Montana

Montana is a state located in the western United States. Referred to as “Big Sky Country,” Montana is known for its expansive landscape, containing glaciated mountain ranges, large plains and waterways, and grassy prairies. The state’s largest city and capital are Helena, while other major cities include Billings and Missoula.

Nicknamed “The Treasure State,” Montana is home to a vast amount of natural resources, including oil, gold, silver, zinc, coal, and timber. Its economy relies heavily on mining, logging, agriculture (especially wheat), tourism (including Yellowstone National Park), energy production (especially hydroelectric power), and services. The state has one of the most stable job markets in the nation.

Montana’s population consists primarily of Native Americans like the Blackfeet Nation and Salish-Kootenai tribes as well as recent immigrants from Mexico and other countries. Due to its rural nature, Montana also hosts a wealth of recreational activities such as skiing at Big Mountain Resort near Whitefish or fishing on Flathead Lake—one of the largest bodies of fresh water in America.

Sporting events such as rodeos are popular attractions in the summer months while many visitors take advantage of its stunning national parks like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park—home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife such as grizzly bears and bison.

In addition to outdoor activity opportunities, Montana also offers plenty to see indoors too with world-renowned museums like the Museum Of The Rockies in Bozeman containing fossils from dinosaurs that roamed this region 75 million years ago. Fine art galleries are scattered throughout cities from Bozeman to Butte where you can find local artwork featuring vibrant colors inspired by the landscape surrounding them or unique antiques reflecting the culture that gave birth to them.

No matter what your preference may be for entertainment or sightseeing opportunities – Montana has something for everyone! Whether you want to experience its roots through history museums or take a breathtaking drive along Going To The Sun Road at Glacier National Park – it’s an ideal spot for both tourists looking for adventure or those seeking relaxation within an unparalleled setting featuring mountains far reaching across the horizon all blanketed in a sky so big it takes your breath away every time you look up towards it!

Montana

Why Scenic Drives Are A Great Way To Explore Montana

Exploring the beautiful state of Montana by car is one of the best ways to experience all that it has to offer. From its breathtaking mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and valleys to its vast wildlife, Montana’s natural beauty can be fully appreciated on a scenic drive through the state. Taking a road trip through Montana allows you to get out and explore its majestic landscape at your own pace. You can stop whenever you want along the way, take in the views, go for a hike, or even camp overnight in some of the most picturesque places.

The roads leading through Montana are well-maintained and full of beautiful scenery. Take a drive on Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park where you can take in stunning views of waterfalls, river valleys, and towering mountains. Or traverse Beartooth Highway which winds up and down mountain passes with many overlooks providing amazing views of snow-capped peaks and lush meadows. Other roads like Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and The Big Sky Country Byway—the longest highway loop in America—both provide spectacular sights that will last long after your journey has ended.

Wildlife sightings are also plentiful when exploring Montana by car. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep grazing on the sides of roadways or moose prancing across meadows from one lake to another. If you’re lucky enough you may also spot an elusive grizzly bear or black bear! And don’t forget about prairie dog towns that can be seen along some routes—these furry critters are always fun to watch as they pop their heads out of their burrows!

Scenic drives not only allow travelers to take in all of these wonderful sights but also provide them with a great opportunity for learning about Montana’s culture and history. There are many historical sites located along these highways such as Lewis & Clark Trail Sites or the Battle Of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument where visitors can learn more about local history first-hand with interpretive signs detailing past events or audio tours narrated by experts who share stories spanning thousands of years back into ancient tribal times.

Overall, scenic drives are an amazing way to explore all that Montana has to offer while taking time off from everyday life routines to appreciate nature’s beauty at its fullest potential. They provide travelers with incredible sightseeing opportunities while allowing them to enjoy captivating stories behind each bend in the road – creating memories worthy of being shared for years to come!

 

Scenic Drives Are A Great Way To Explore Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a majestic and breathtaking scenic drive through Montana’s Glacier National Park. It spans the length of the park, winding through lush forests, open meadows, and along sheer cliffs while crossing the Continental Divide at an elevation of 6,646 feet. It offers travelers some of the most spectacular views in the Rocky Mountains as well as abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. The road has been named for its curving route that follows the sun’s path across the sky as it rises and sets over the park.

For more than eighty years this iconic highway has been a favorite among tourists and locals alike. This renowned stretch of pavement winds its way through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in North America, from lush evergreen forests to picturesque alpine meadows to glaciers carved by time immemorial.

As you traverse the 50 miles between West Glacier and St. Mary Lake you may find yourself marveling at how nature’s beauty can be so vast yet so intimate – especially when your eyes are drawn to a herd of mountain goats grazing on an alpine ridge or a solitary osprey soaring overhead looking for prey.

As Going-to-the-Sun Road climbs higher above sea level it passes some of Glacier National Park’s most stunning features including Logan Pass, which is surrounded by some of North America’s best-preserved glaciers like Jackson Glacier, Blackfoot Glacier, and Sperry Glacier – all of which are visible from overlook points along Going-to-the-Sun Road.

In addition to astounding views, travelers will also have an opportunity to spot an array of wildlife including grizzly bears roaming among thick forests; deer tucked away along cliffside paths; bighorn sheep perched atop rocky outcroppings; elk and moose grazing in quiet meadows; golden eagles soaring with grace; bald eagles fishing in lakeside waters; and pikas scurrying toward their burrows under ledges.

Indeed Going-to-the-Sun Road offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore some of Montana’s finest natural wonders in one sweeping adventure. From its high mountain passes down into deep river valleys – there is something new around every turn that will leave you breathless! Whether you’re seeking solitude or exhilarating outdoor recreation – this drive encapsulates all that makes Montana wild, beautiful, and unforgettable!

Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Scenic Highway 93, Kalispell to Missoula

Scenic Highway 93 is an amazing drive that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Montana. As you make your way from Kalispell to Missoula, you will be surrounded by stunning mountain peaks and lush valleys.

The route passes through Glacier National Park, home to glaciers, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. Along the way, you’ll see alpine wildflowers blooming in fields and thick stands of evergreen trees and aspen groves dotting the roadside.

You’ll drive along sweeping curves as the highway winds its way up into the mountains and take in breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks rising above a sea of evergreens. As you crest each peak, you’ll be treated to panoramic views across sweeping valleys or wide plains below.

The journey from Kalispell to Missoula is truly something special; it’s full of iconic western landscapes with majestic montane forests, rugged mountains, meandering rivers, and diverse wildlife. Along your journey make sure to take time out for pictures at lookout points or stops at roadside attractions like ancient homesteads and historical sites.

Be sure to look out for animals such as bighorn sheep, elk, deer, or even bears! There are plenty of natural wonders along this route including sparkling streams filled with native trout and sparkling waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffsides. For a more adventurous experience, visitors can go fishing or enjoy other recreational activities such as hiking, camping, or horseback riding on some of the many trails throughout the area.

No matter where your travels take you between Kalispell and Missoula along scenic Highway 93, it’s a journey that will leave lasting memories for everyone who visits this part of Montana’s great outdoors. With majestic mountain peaks towering above fields full of wildflowers and expansive valleys blanketed in evergreen trees, this is a drive that is sure to impress even the most seasoned traveler. Come explore what Montana has to offer with a trip along Scenic Highway 93!

Kalispell to Missoula

Kootenai Falls Scenic Drive

 

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Cody to Red Lodge

The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is an unforgettable drive that stretches from Cody, Wyoming to Red Lodge, Montana. Along this route lies some of the most breathtaking and serene natural beauty that Montana has to offer. Taking in stunning views of forested mountains, rolling hills, and deep valleys, you’ll explore a truly unforgettable landscape.

The scenic byway passes through the iconic Beartooth Mountains, making it one of the most popular routes for motorists in the region. The high elevation (up to 10,000 feet) provides sweeping vistas of lush alpine meadows and crystal-clear lakes. Throughout your journey along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, you will pass through numerous small towns – each with its unique charm – as well as several state parks and National Forests that are ideal for camping or day hikes.

If you’re looking for history and culture along your drive, you won’t be disappointed either. This path follows US Highway 212, which was once known as one of the last remaining segments of the historic Nez Perce Trail. The Native American tribe used this route to flee from war-torn Idaho in 1877, traveling 1,170 miles over three months in search of refuge in Canada before being intercepted near present-day Montana.

Along your journey on Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, you can also learn about Buffalo Bill Cody’s life story by visiting his namesake town at the beginning of this scenic drive – full of museums dedicated to his legacy as an army scout and wild west showman.

As you make your way across Montana towards Red Lodge, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, and bison that might be grazing in meadows or crossing country roads; not to mention beautiful birds like eagles soaring above!

So if you’re looking for an incredible road trip experience filled with natural beauty and historical significance then look no further than the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway! From Cody’s Wild West heritage up to Red Lodge’s rustic mountain charm, there’s something here for everyone. Make sure to take plenty of pictures and savor every moment because it’s a journey you won’t soon forget!

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

East Glacier Park to Browning Scenic Drive, East Glacier Park to Browning

The East Glacier Park to Browning Scenic Drive is a stunning and picturesque journey through the majestic landscape of Montana. This drive is full of sweeping vistas and breathtaking mountain views that will leave you in awe. The road starts in East Glacier Park, a small town nestled between two mountain peaks, surrounded by lush pine forests and wildflower meadows. As you drive along the narrow winding roads, you will experience some of the most stunning scenery that Montana has to offer. The drive culminates in Browning, a bustling town at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

On this scenic drive, you’ll be able to admire Montana’s vast expanse of plains and rolling hills, as well as its vibrant blue skies and clean air. Additionally, the road will take you through several small towns along the way such as Cut Bank and Babb. These communities are home to unique cultures and traditions that have been passed down for generations. From these quaint little towns, you’ll be able to appreciate Montana’s charm with its wooden architecture and rugged atmosphere.

Additionally, there are ample opportunities for outdoor recreation while driving along this route! You can stop at one of the many lakes or rivers that dot this area for fishing or kayaking. Also, if you’re looking for something more adventurous, then why not try out some rock climbing or mountain biking off-road trails? There are plenty of opportunities to do so during your journey from East Glacier Park to Browning!

Last but certainly not least on your journey will be the natural beauty of Glacier National Park which borders the eastern side of this route. As you enter Glacier National Park’s boundaries, prepare yourself for an unforgettable view; towering mountains surrounded by crystal clear lakes dotted with glaciers – it’s truly a sight like no other! With over 700 miles of trails throughout the park – from easy hikes suitable for all levels to strenuous climbs up sharp rocky terrain – there is something here for everyone!

So make sure to plan enough time during your trip so you can soak up all the sights and sounds that come with driving from East Glacier Park to Browning Scenic Drive – it is guaranteed to be an experience unlike any other!

East Glacier Park to Browning

Tips for Enjoying the Drive

When it comes to enjoying a scenic drive in Montana, several tips can help make the journey more enjoyable.

  1. First and foremost, plan your route to avoid any surprises along the way. Consider taking time to explore off the beaten path, as well as visiting attractions and local points of interest. If possible, try to look for routes with fewer highways and more scenic roads so that you can fully take advantage of all the picturesque views Montana has to offer.
  2. If you’re driving during the day, make sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks for breaks along the way. For an even better experience, bring some snacks from local restaurants or grocery stores that may be near your route. That way you’ll get a taste of authentic regional food while still enjoying breathtaking views! If you’re driving at night, remember to drive safely by leaving enough distance between cars on the highway and keeping alert at all times.
  3. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a truly unique experience consider venturing out onto backroads or forest service roads in search of hidden gems like mountain lakes and secret waterfalls. Be sure to plan if you’re going off-roading by packing supplies such as extra gas cans, spare tires, and tools since cell phone service is often spotty in remote areas.
  4. Finally, don’t forget your camera! There are countless photo opportunities throughout Montana with its stunning landscapes, wildlife, and cultural attractions like small towns and historical sites; these memories will last much longer than just a short car ride! With all this in mind, you’ll have an unforgettable time exploring all that Montana has to offer on your next scenic drive!

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit Montana for a scenic drive is during the spring, summer and fall months. In the springtime, the snow-covered mountains are beginning to thaw, creating stunning panoramic views of lush valleys and rolling hills blanketed in wildflowers. The warm sun illuminates these scenes creating a perfect backdrop for an unforgettable drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America.

In the summer months, outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of excellent weather conditions to explore nature while enjoying spectacular mountain roads. As daytime temperatures remain mild with relatively low humidity levels, long drives can be taken without feeling overwhelmed by heat or uncomfortable weather conditions. Moreover, during the longer days of summer visitors have plenty of time to explore off-the-beaten-path attractions tucked away throughout Montana’s interior regions.

By fall, the wide open spaces seem to come alive as winter starts to set in. Bright yellow aspens mixed with evergreen firs create a picturesque tapestry that is framed by Montana’s rugged peaks rising high above its rolling valleys. With cooler temperatures and sunny skies, autumn is a great time to enjoy scenic roads along rivers, lakes, and trails that wind through forests filled with colorful foliage.

Aside from its natural beauty, Montana also offers travelers plenty of opportunities for activities such as camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing as they traverse this majestic landscape. So no matter when you decide to take your scenic drive through Montana it promises to be an unforgettable experience!

Preparing for the Drive:

When planning your scenic drive in Montana, you may want to start by picking some must-see destinations. The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is both an engineering marvel and a stunning natural spectacle. A narrow ribbon of asphalt snakes through a deep valley flanked by soaring mountain peaks and glacial lakes. Hiking trails nearby take you even closer to the full majesty of the landscape.

East of Glacier lies Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. With its crystal clear waters surrounded by mountains and forests, it provides an escape from urban life into pure nature. Take a leisurely drive around its hundreds of miles of shoreline or rent a boat or kayak to explore further out on the lake itself.

The Beartooth Highway stretches east from Red Lodge across the Wyoming border into Yellowstone National Park before heading back again into Montana’s Custer National Forest. Its route takes drivers along steep switchbacks and passes through alpine meadows at over 10,000 feet above sea level; those brave enough can stop at one of many pullouts for panoramic views that include snowcapped peaks in all directions. Wildlife sightings are also common along this route—watch for grazing elk or bighorn sheep loping through clumps of wildflowers as you cruise past them on your way up or down this iconic highway.

Further south lies Bannack State Park in Dillon, MT—an old ghost town that was once home to butchers, barbers, miners, saloon owners and more during the gold rush era that swept through much of western Montana beginning in 1862. Now a preserved historical site complete with interpretive exhibits and preserved buildings from the late 1800s, visitors can take guided tours along dirt roads lined with wooden storefronts where they can get a glimpse into what life might have been like here almost 150 years ago!

Finally, no scenic drive around Montana would be complete without visiting Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument near Hardin MT where General Custer famously met his end following one bloody battle with Native American forces led by Chiefs Gall and Crazy Horse back in 1876. Tours here present stories about the conflict between settlers and natives at this site as well as artifacts found here such as arrowheads and musket balls that provide tangible reminders of how things were then while making us appreciate how different things are today!

Whatever route you choose for your scenic drive in Montana, you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking beauty as well as plenty of opportunities for adventure just around each bend in the road! There’s never been a better time to visit this great state—so hop behind the wheel today and get ready for your most memorable road trip yet!

Must-Have Supplies:

When driving through the breathtaking scenery of Montana, it is important to be prepared with the right supplies. A weekend trip or longer journey should include items such as maps and navigation tools, car maintenance supplies, camping gear, clothing for all types of weather conditions, snacks and refreshments, first aid kits and medications, cameras for capturing memories along the way, and cell phone chargers.

Maps are essential when exploring anywhere unfamiliar. It is suggested to bring a paper map of Montana as well as a GPS navigator or other mobile device that can access digital maps in case of an emergency. Driving in rural areas can be unpredictable so come prepared with a few extra cans of oil, brake fluid, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. It is also recommended to pack a toolbox with the necessary tools for small repairs like changing a tire.

For those planning an outdoor adventure while traveling through Montana’s magnificent landscapes, camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags, and pads will come in handy. Depending on the season you plan on visiting Alaska’s Big Sky Country, it is important to be dressed according to climate change – layering light jackets over shirts will help keep warm during cold days and nights. Even if you plan on stopping at restaurants or convenience stores throughout your travels, it is helpful to pack snacks such as trail mix or energy bars just in case you’re unable to find food along the way.

Staying hydrated is also pivotal when spending time outdoors so bring plenty of water bottles along with sodas or other refreshments that may suit your taste buds better than plain water does. Since sudden illnesses or injuries can happen while out on a scenic drive it is essential to have a first aid kit on hand that includes bandages and pain relievers as well as any medications one may need while away from home.

Finally having technology devices such as smartphones or digital cameras can help capture moments forever so don’t forget them! Plus be sure to bring extra chargers just in case you don’t find an outlet available when needed most – which could make all the difference between taking home picturesque memories versus disappointment due to drained batteries!

Road Conditions:

Montana is a great place to take scenic drives, with beautiful views of the mountains, wide open fields, and majestic rivers. The roads in Montana are mostly two-lane highways that wind their way along the mountainsides, through valleys and over hilltops. Many of these roads have few or no shoulders for added safety when driving.

In the summer months, roads in Montana can become quite dusty with regular dry spells and high temperatures. During winter months, snow and ice can make some of these roads treacherous to travel on without proper tires or equipment. Drivers should be extra cautious when driving in winter conditions; even an experienced driver will have difficulty navigating the icy roads without special attention to the weather conditions.

When taking a scenic drive in Montana, it is important to check road conditions before heading out. Road closures due to construction or other maintenance projects may cause delays or detours depending on the current state of each road. Weather also affects road conditions significantly; Montanan’s experience all four seasons every year and sudden temperature changes can bring snow or rain in just a matter of hours. If there is any doubt about what to expect while driving, be sure to check the Montana Department of Transportation’s website for up-to-date information on closures and road conditions before you go.

Driving through Montana’s parks and recreation areas can be an amazing experience as well; however, these routes can often be winding and may require drivers to pay extra attention while navigating them safely. In addition, many of these scenic drives have animals crossing from time to time so drivers should always keep alert for wildlife along the route. With this being said, it is also important that drivers respect posted signage as many national parks have specific speed limits for keeping both people and animals safe along their routes.

Traveling around Montana by car gives you access to some stunning views that could only otherwise be seen by foot – but it pays off greatly if you come prepared with knowledge about local road conditions before heading out! By checking ahead of time for any potential hazards you might encounter along the way or any restrictions imposed by different parks or reserves you plan on visiting, you will ensure yourself a safer and more enjoyable journey through Montana’s breathtaking landscape!

Conclusion

In conclusion, Montana is an excellent destination for scenic drives. The state offers a wide range of route options with varying levels of difficulty, from easy paved roads to challenging mountain passes. The views are some of the most spectacular in the country, from the majestic Rocky Mountains to wildflower-filled meadows and sparkling alpine lakes. With a diverse landscape and plenty of wildlife to spot, a drive through Montana makes for a memorable experience. Not only will you get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in North America, but you’ll also get to explore picturesque small towns and unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or just want to soak up the natural beauty, Montana has something special in store that’s sure to take your breath away.