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C.M. Russell Ride

Fort Benton



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Take US 87 north of Great Falls to historic Fort Benton. Drive into Fort Benton, once the world’s most inland port where steamships carried supplies up the Missouri River. There is fine dining at the Union Grille in the Grand Union Hotel and great home cooking at Bob’s Riverfront Café and the Banque Club. For trivia’s sake, the former bank vault is the cooler at the Banque Club. Cross the mighty Missouri River on MT 80, drive past Geraldine and Square Butte, then take MT 81 at the junction and ride to Lewistown. Lewistown is a community of about 7,000 people nestled between several island mountain ranges in the geographic center of Montana. Ride US 87 from Lewistown to Great Falls (about 100 miles). This route is designated the C. M. Russell Trail. You’ll pass many scenes from Russell paintings still visible today. There’s a great side loop, about 25 miles and all paved from Hobson to Windham. In the middle of this loop is Utica and the Oxen Yoke Bar. The “Ox” serves a half pound burger and more fries in a basket than anyone should eat! Request a free copy of the C. M. Russell Auto Tour booklet that gives history of the area and great information about the western artist’s paintings.

Learn more at the Official Central Montana Tourism Region website.

Fort Benton

Established in 1846, Fort Benton is known as the birthplace of Montana. An American Fur Company trading post at first, it became the hub for trade and travel throughout the northwestern United States and Canada.
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Grand Union Hotel

The Grand Union Hotel has gained a new lease on life following a skillful restoration which has preserved the historical character of Montana's oldest operating hotel and one of its most famous landmarks.
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Lewistown is a major trading center for the agricultural community located at the geographic center of Montana.
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Great Falls

Montana's third largest city is located on the Missouri River among the five falls that were both a magnificent spectacle and formidable barrier to early river travel.
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