Glaciers to Geysers; Montana Road Trip!

Beartooth Highway Beartooth Highway, Photo by Andy Austin

Spring has officially made an entrance, and it's the perfect time to start planning a road trip. Whether you travel in a vehicle or motorcycle, exploring Montana from Yellowstone National Park to Glacier National Park is an experience to remember. Meandering through this expanse of Montana, you'll find exciting history, superb dining, and tons of outdoor adventures. We've got some suggestions off the beaten path, but be sure to stop along the way and explore on your own.


Starting in Red Lodge

Plan to spend a night or two in Red Lodge, one of Montana's quintessential mountain towns. Motorcyclists may want to plan their trip around the Beartooth Rally, Montana's largest motorcycle rally and iron horse rodeo. Of course, you'll find plenty of great dining in Red Lodge itself, such as PEROGATIvE Kitchen, and Carbon County Steakhouse, but if you're itching for a little excursion, Bear Creek Saloon and Steakhouse have great food and entertainment from the renowned pig races! They are open Thursday through Sunday, as is the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe, another beautiful drive. Or, try the Edgar Bar in Edgar, Montana, serving homemade meals since the 1940s, with beef raised by Oswald Family Farms, just down the road from the restaurant.

Perogative Kitchen, Red Lodge, Montana PEROGATIvE Kitchen, Photo by Andy Austin

Beartooth Highway to Cooke City and Silver Gate

Take the Beartooth Highway to Cooke City and Silver Gate from Red Lodge. You'll want to take your time and enjoy the sights, and then plan to stay at least one night (if not more!) Silver Gate Lodging has various options, from cozy cabins to standard hotel rooms, and is just a mile from the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It's a great place to relax, decompress and explore the Park. The Lamar Valley is excellent for wildlife watching, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is close to Northeast Entrance. 


Gardiner to Livingston 

There's a lot to explore in Gardiner, Paradise Valley, and Livingston, and it's easy to access the whole valley wherever you decide to stay. The summer music scene is incredible, so watch the schedule for the Old SaloonPine Creek LodgeMusic Ranch Montana, and The Attic. You'll also want to hit the hot springs, explore downtown Livingston and take a guided scenic float down the Yellowstone River. Check out Explore Livingston, and Visit Gardiner, for more trip-planning ideas. 

Pine Creek Lodge Pine Creek Lodge, Photo by Kaden Harrison


A quick jaunt over Bozeman Pass takes you to the vibrant college town of Bozeman. You'll want to carve out some time to enjoy downtown shopping, dining, art, and entertainment. The music scene is on fire, with national headliners and regional favorites playing at one of the many music venues each week. Of course, Museum of the Rockies is a must-do, and if you're a history buff, we have a whole itinerary of visiting museums along the way. Bozeman is also home to ten breweries, three distilleries, a cider house, and a meadery. They all have creative brews and comfortable tasting rooms, so don't fret about which to choose; they are all great! 


Three Forks

If you're looking for a little more low-key place to overnight, Three Forks is a great choice. Missouri Headwaters State ParkMadison Buffalo JumpLewis and Clark Caverns are all worth a trip. Golfers will like Headwaters Golf Course; mountain bikers will want to take advantage of Copper City Trails, and water enthusiasts can fish, SUP, or canoe in the Three Forks Pond. The Sacajawea Hotel has both fine dining and casual fare, or just a few miles down the road in Willow Creek, Woolzie's Willow Creek Café is known for its ribs.  

Bridger Brewing, Three Forks, Montana Bridger Brewing, Photo by Kaden Harrison


Three Forks to Seeley-Swan via Helena

 From here, the road trip takes you north to Helena and then along the Seeley-Swan Scenic Drive, which is spectacular. Finally, you'll end up in Big Fork, where you can stay or venture around the lake. Polson is an excellent quiet option, or you could take the scenic route around the lake and back to Whitefish. 


Glacier National Park

 Finally, plan to explore Glacier National Park. You'll need a vehicle reservation and a Park pass, so plan in advance. Reservations are valid for three consecutive days, so check the road conditions before you head out. 

You'll find plenty more itineraries and road trip ideas on