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National Geographic's 10 Ultimate Road Trips

The best of big sky country

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

GETTING TO MONTANA IS EASIER THAN EVER

WELCOME TO BIG SKY COUNTRY

MONTANA IS LIKE NO PLACE ELSE ON EARTH. Dinosaurs once roamed here, and majestic bison, elk, and grizzly bears still do. Montana is a gateway to Glacier and Yellowstone—two crown jewels of the national park system—and is home to glistening glacial lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks, blue-ribbon trout streams, and mighty Missouri, Yellowstone, and Flathead Rivers.

Vast, unspoiled, and wild, “Big Sky Country” represents the very best of the American West. Rugged cowboys still saddle up to ride at ranches and wow crowds at rodeos. Ghost towns, state parks, and a one-of-a-kind Dinosaur Trail preserve a dazzling array of historical treasures—and offer opportunities to hunt for fossils and gems. Seven Indian Nations celebrate the state’s rich American heritage and traditions. Scenic train, float, and driving trips retrace the routes forged by explorers Lewis and Clark. And backcountry trails lead to wild, secluded spaces where it is still possible to be utterly alone.

Yellowstone Country

Outdoor Adventure and spectacular scenery abound on this five-day scenic loop through southern Montana and into Yellowstone National Park. Hike on a wilderness plateau. Raft the Stillwater River. Horseback Ride in paradise Valle. Along the way, make a stop to soak in a hot springs-fed pool.
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Great Plains Adventures

For Montana's American Indian people, bison, or buffalo, are revered symbols of strength and unity. Celebrate the bison, see them roam, and discover how the mighty bison helped create the state on this six-day drive across Big Sky badlands and prairies.
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Small Towns and Ghost Towns

Wander through authentic 1800s ghost towns on this rambling four-day route over mountains, across the Continental Divide, and along blue-ribbon trout streams. Butte (population 33,854) is the "big city" on the drive. Legend has it some of the smaller towns harbor gold-rush-era ghosts.
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Backbone of the Rockies

Rugged, wild, and incredibly scenic, this five-day trip is filled with only-in-Montana experiences. Travel Glacier National Park's legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road. Take a ranger-led tour to see the park's namesake glaciers. Raft or fish untamed waters. and chow down on a hearty steak supper or sleep in a restored railroad car.
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From Flathead to Philipsburg

This four-day drive is packed with adventure. Learn to river surf and fly-fish. See wild bison roam and mine for genuine Montana sapphires. And, if you dare, take the steep and winding portion of MT-38 over 7,257-foot Skalkaho Pass.
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Main Street Adventures

This five-day loop through central and southwest Montana travels in and on the edge of the Rockies. Celebrate Western art, explore state parks, and the state capital, soak in hot springs, and take a magical boat ride down the Missouri River.
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On the Loose in Big Sky

It's possible to make this drive from Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park and back in only a day. But why would you want to? Take it slow. Set aside six days to savor the incredible scenery and play--in the snow in winter and on the hiking and biking trails the rest of the year.
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Bighorn and Beyond

Learn more about Montana's rich American Indian heritage and cowboy culture on this four-day drive through Little Bighorn Country. The history-packed route crosses Indian nations, the state's biggest city, and the path taken by the Lewis and Clark corps of Discovery expedition.
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Footsteps of Lewis & Clark

Retrace the path of Lewis and Clark, and parallel two mighty rivers -- the Missouri and the Yellowstone -- on a five-day loop around the state's northeastern badlands and spacious plains. This route-less-traveled crosses the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and passes through lands where dinosaurs once roamed.
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Bitterroot Parkway

Dig deep into Montana's roots on a four-day drive through the history-rich Bitterroot Valley. The down-and-back route crosses the Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails, as well as the Continental Divide. Along the way, bunk in a hand-hewn log cabin and camp under the stars. Watch for moose, elk, and deer. Soak in natural hot springs. And, depending on the season, go skiing, skating, hiking, or horseback riding.
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