Between the Parks
Starting in Glacier National Park, drive along the Rocky Mountain Front to see stunning views of where the mountains and plains meet. In just four days, discover what makes Montana unique with fossil digs, a stop in the capital city, and a lake created by an earthquake.
The Route: St. Mary > U.S. 89 > Choteau > U.S. 287/I-15 > Helena > I-15 > Boulder > MT-69/MT-359 > U.S. 287 > Ennis > U.S. 287/U.S. 191 > West Yellowstone
Total distance: approximately 365 miles
After a day adventuring in Glacier National Park, stop at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant in East Glacier for a delicious meal. From there, take U.S. 89 to Bynum. Stop in at the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center to learn about how the area is rich in fossils. Continue down the front on U.S. 287. On the way, spot Egg Mountain, just south of Choteau, to see where the first fossilized dinosaur embryos were found, inspiring the movie “Jurassic Park.” Continue on to U.S. 287. Take a shopping break at Augusta’s Latigo and Lace.
Take a day to explore Helena and the surrounding area. Take a tour of the Gates of the Mountains, a canyon that Lewis and Clark wrote about on their Corps of Discovery. For a little more adventure, rent a kayak or canoe to experience the Missouri River like Lewis and Clark.
For mountain bikers, Helena’s single tracks are fast becoming famous. Bring your own bike or rent one from any of the local bike shops.
Helena is famous for good brews, too. After a day of adventure, stop at one or all of the three breweries: Blackfoot River Brewing Company, Lewis and Clark Brewing Company, or Ten Mile Creek Brewing Company.
For more adventure on the Lewis and Clark Trail, stop at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park to learn the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite.
Take a soak at Norris Hot Springs, and be sure to grab a snack at the No Loose Dogs Snack Bar for some local, organic fare.
Continue on to Ennis along the Madison Range and Madison River. If you happen to be a fly fisherman or aspire to be one, Ennis is the perfect place to cast a line.
Continue down U.S. 287 to stop at Quake Lake, just down the road from Ennis. An earthquake in the Madison River Canyon formed this incredible lake. Continue driving to see Hebgen Lake before entering West Yellowstone. This is the western gate of Yellowstone National Park. Want to see a wolf or grizzly bear? You’re best chance is at the Grizzly Wolf and Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.