Indian Country Featured Road Trip
This scenic drive is one that will amaze and excite your senses. Start in Missoula, located at the junction of five mountain valleys: Clark Fork Valley to the west, Flathead Valley to the north, Blackfoot Valley to the northeast, Deer Lodge Valley to the east and Bitterroot Valley to the south. Travel through western Montana’s Glacier Country and explore the history, culture and tradition of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Tribe.
Modern technology meets history class at the Payne Family Native American Center in Missoula, where visitors can learn of the star lore of Native American cultures in a planetarium. Find all things huckleberry at the Huckleberry Patch Alpine Grill and Gift Shop in Arlee. View wildlife on the National Bison Range on the Flathead Reservation, then stop to view the sturdy brickwork and spectacular wall murals of the historic St. Ignatius Mission built in the early 1890s. Grab your camera, go birding or take a leisurely walk through the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge.
Spend time in the People’s Center and shop the shelves of beadwork, paintings, photos and jewelry in the gift shop. Visit the breathtaking Seli’s Ksanka Qlispe’, formerly known as Kerr Dam, in Polson, open year-round from dawn until dusk. Stay at KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino on Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, or reserve a cabin at Big Arm Resort RV Park. With an abundance of amenities including showers, laundry facilities and full hookup RV locations, you won’t be disappointed.
Tour the Flathead Reservation with Montana Journeys, a tour company with Salish and Kootenai guides trained in both anthropology and archaeology. Saddle up to explore the area on horseback or take a boat trip to check out Wild Horse Island State Park on Flathead Lake. Take an interpretive tour with Sun Tours within Glacier National Park, known by local tribal people as the Backbone of the World. This Native American-owned tour company is headquartered in East Glacier Park. Its knowledgeable Blackfeet guides excite visitors with tales about the Blackfeet Tribe’s historical and cultural connection to the local area and national park.
Spend an evening sleeping in a teepee under a starry sky at the Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village in Browning or pick a camp spot in any one of the tribal-operated campgrounds of the Blackfeet Tribe: Buffalo Calf Campground, Chewing Black Bones Campground, Duck Lake Campground, Red Eagle Campground and Sleeping Wolf Campground. While driving, watch for the Blackfeet Nation Bison Reserve to view free-roaming buffalo in their natural habitat.
While in Browning, take a swim in the pool at the Glacier Peaks Hotel, peek into the Glacier Peaks Casino, then enjoy a huckleberry chicken dinner at the Jackpot Restaurant or grab a buffalo burger and milkshake at Nation’s Burger Station. Buy a ribbon skirt showcasing the style of Blackfeet seamstresses or shop the shelves of brilliant material at the local quilt store and gift shop, Native Life. Explore and shop at Faught’s Blackfeet Trading Post for beaded earrings, bracelets and moccasins decorated in the Blackfeet floral and geometric designs. Learn more history of the Blackfeet Tribe at the Museum of the Plains Indian.