Montana is a dream vacation destination that specializes in turning dreamers into doers. With trip-planning resources and loads of travel information, you can fully realize your unforgettable Montana adventure. Western Montana is divided into nine scenic routes. Each of these travel regions offers unique adventures and authentic Montana experiences.
Decide what’s most important for you to see and do while you’re in Montana—Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, charming small towns, scenic byways, backroads adventures, backcountry exploration, luxury lodging, wildlife watching, history, arts and culture, or all of the above.
You’ll find multiple ways to play in the great outdoors, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, golfing, and sailing the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. The wonderful thing about Western Montana is that getting from one place to the next is always a scenic adventure. And, you never have to travel the same route twice (though you’ll be tempted).
Tour 200 corridor
Montana’s scenic Highway 200 is tucked between two stunning mountain ranges and travels along the banks of the Clark Fork River from one charming small town to the next. The community of Thompson Falls is a true Montana treasure. Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll across the Historic High Bridge, or make your way to a soak in the healing mineral waters of Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in Paradise or Symes Hot Springs Hotel in the aptly named community of Hot Springs. Walk among giants at the Ross Creek Cedar Grove, and, if you time it right, taste authentic Montana flavor at the Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival.
Interstate 90 corridor
Missoula—Western Montana’s arts and culture hot spot—anchors this scenic corridor along the Clark Fork River between the Lolo and Coeur d’Alene national forests in the beautiful Bitterroot Range. Visit the Missoula Farmer’s Market—named one of the Best in the West by Sunset magazine—for a truly authentic local experience. For adrenaline-pumping fun on the river, whitewater raft the Alberton Gorge, or hit up Alberton’s bookstore for some downtime. Enjoy fishing at Fish Creek State Park or golfing at multiple courses, plus peruse the souvenir shops. You’ll also find the St. Regis Travel Center with a live trout aquarium and huckleberry milkshakes, plenty of breweries and distilleries, and biking adventures on the family-favorite Rails to Trails Route of the Hiawatha bike path.
Bitterroot Valley corridor
Flanked by the rolling Sapphire Mountains and the jagged Bitterroot Range, this scenic valley boasts Old West charm along the banks of the rolling Bitterroot River. Bike the 50-mile paved Bitterroot Trail from Missoula to Hamilton stopping in lively small towns along the way, which feature breweries, shopping, steakhouses, museums, and historical sites. The Bitterroot Valley also boasts excellent fishing access sites, Lolo Hot Springs, golfing, and pristine canyon hiking.
The largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—Flathead Lake—anchors this wildly scenic vacation destination just south of Glacier National Park. Life on the lake means fishing, sailing, Far West Boat Tours, Flathead cherries, golfing, and kayaking to Wild Horse Island. South of the lake, visit the National Bison Range for excellent wildlife watching. Take a history tour at the St. Ignatius Mission, Ninepipes Museum, The People’s Center, and the Miracle of American Museum, or find your Zen at the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas and the Purple Mountain Lavender Farm.
Among some of the state’s most charming small towns in Montana’s quiet and beautiful northwest corner, Kootenai Country and Cabinet Mountains Wilderness offer prime exploration territory. Drive the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway, and do not miss the Kootenai Falls Swinging Bridge. The 90-mile-long Lake Koocanusa straddles the Montana/Canada border and offers excellent water recreation and fishing opportunities. Find hiking and camping in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, and don’t miss the famous Dirty Shame Saloon.
From Seeley Lake to Swan Lake, life on the water and epic recreation opportunities make the Seeley-Swan a premier Glacier Country getaway. Paddle along the Clearwater Canoe Trail, take the Seeley-Swan scenic drive, tee up at a premier golf course, and visit the storied village of Bigfork where you’ll find dining, shops, galleries, and Broadway-caliber theater. The gorgeous Jewel Basin area boasts breathtaking views, more than two dozen lakes, and 35 miles of hiking trails.
Here’s a Montana corridor you can float! Travel the beautiful Blackfoot River, made famous by Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It.” This scenic route features epic trout fishing and Western Montana’s newest music venue, the KettleHouse Amphitheater (right on the banks of the river), glamping at The Resort at Paws Up, and the chance to rub elbows with the locals at Trixie’s Antler Saloon in Ovando.
East Glacier corridor
Just east of Glacier National Park in northwest Montana, experience the culture and traditions of the Blackfeet Nation on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Stay in a tipi at Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village, tour Glacier National Park on a Sun Tour, or visit Glacier County Historical Museum and the Museum of the Plains Indian. Take part in North American Indian Days for a glimpse of American Indian heritage and traditions, plus find golfing, fishing, and hunting all in the area.
Glacier National Park and surrounding area
The Crown of the Continent beckons with one million acres of breathtaking beauty, and the small towns in and around the park make excellent park basecamps, with inviting lodging options, awesome amenities, and warm western hospitality. Drive one of the most beautiful roads in the country, Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. Tour the park on a historic red bus, and don’t miss the world-famous Polebridge Mercantile for freshly baked huckleberry bearclaws. For a truly unique experience, stay in a caboose at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex.