Between the Parks
Montana is full of vibrant, charming towns. Take your time roadtripping from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park by stopping in each town. Fall in love with every main street on this six-day adventure.
The Route: West Glacier > U.S. 2/Hwy 206/MT-35 > Kalispell > U.S. 93 > Missoula > I-90 > Butte > I-90 > Bozeman > U.S. 191 > West Yellowstone
Total Distance: approximately 455 miles
For a wild adventure on the river, take a whitewater-rafting trip with one of the many guides in the West Glacier area. See wildlife, marvel at mountains, conquer rapids and get a little wet. After a half- or full-day float, drive toward the Flathead Valley and explore the charming towns of Whitefish, Bigfork, and Kalispell.
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River; so take a whole day to explore it. Rent any type of watercraft for wet and wild fun. Or take a tour on Wild Horse Island State Park. Be sure to pick up some Flathead cherries and other fruits grown on the shore of the lake at one of the many cherry stands along U.S. 93.
Continue on U.S. 93 with stops at the St. Ignatius Mission and the National Bison Range. This National Wildlife Refuge hosts bison, elk, deer, and more. Be sure to bring your camera! You’ll be able to spot wildlife right from your car.
Spend a day exploring Missoula or “Zoo Town” as the locals call it. Hike the “M,” an iconic hike over the University of Montana campus with great views of the Missoula Valley. Reward yourself after the hike with some Big Dipper Ice Cream, a local favorite. For a little slice of thrilling history, check out the Smokejumper Museum.
Take I-90 to Butte, the “richest hill on earth.” Take a trolley tour through the city of to see the iconic headframes, remnants of Butte’s mining history. Then, stop in at Headframe Spirits to try some of the local distilling inspired by the town’s heritage.
Continue on I-90 to Three Forks. There, your destination is Missouri Headwaters State Park for hiking and biking. See the same vistas that Lewis and Clark saw on their expedition. Continue on to Bozeman to meet some fossils at the Museum of the Rockies.
From Bozeman, head south on U.S. 191 through the Gallatin Canyon. If you’re a fisherman, have your rod and fishing license ready, there are plenty of pullouts to put on your gear and cast a line right off the highway.