Category Archives: Montana

Must-Stop Family Road-Trip Attractions

There’s nothing quite like loading up the family and embarking on an epic road trip to make some everlasting memories and there’s no place to make those memories better than Montana. From the Bitterroot Valley to Glacier National Park, Western Montana has enough scenic byways for a lifetime of cruising. We love road trips and camping so we partnered with Bretz RV & Marine to bring you a spring camping gear giveaway. So enter to win, load up your RV, chart a route through our charming small towns and make it a point to pull over and check out these fun and unique roadside attractions.

A Hefty Hereford

Stoney’s Bull sits at Clearwater Junction and greets travelers along Highways 200 and 93.

Along Highway 200 at Clearwater Junction, you’ll find a 15-foot-high, 18-foot-long Hereford steer.

50,000 Silver $ Bar

50,000 Silver $ Bar

Stop in St. Regis to visit the infamous 50,000 silver dollar bar, stay for the burgers, shakes and souvenirs.

Stay: Salmon Lake State Park, Clearwater Junction, Big Larch Campground

Flathead Cherries

Flathead Cherries

At 3,000 feet above sea level, Flathead Lake has the perfect growing climate for cherries. Make your way around the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi to see the orchards, and be sure to stop at a roadside stand for a taste of this prized fruit.

Stay: Campground St. Regis, Nugget RV Park

Amazing Fun Center

The Amazing Fun Center in Coram, MT

When you’re done exploring Glacier National Park take the kids to the Amazing Fun Center in West Glacier. With a 1.5-mile maze, go karts, bumper boats and mini golf, you won’t leave without being at least a little a-MAZE-d.

Stay: Flathead Lake KOA in Polson, Polson Motorcoach & RV Resort, Edgewater R.V. Resort & Motel in LakesideDiamond S RV Park in Ronan

Seeley Lake

A family docks their boat as the sun sets over Seeley Lake

With easy water access, a walk-up burger joint (Bay Burgers, right on the lake!) and ice cream shops (try a blue-goo swirl cone at The Ice Cream Place), your family will fall in love with this little lake town.

Stay: Seeley Lake Campground

Darby

What road trip is complete without a stop at an old-fashioned candy store? Darby, Montana’s Old West Candy Store is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. Don’t miss out on the huckleberry options!

Stay: Travellers Rest Cabins and RV Park

Float the Clark Fork and Ride the Carousel

A Carousel for Missoula

Stop in Missoula to ride one of the fastest carousels in the West. If you’re there on the weekend, be sure to check out one of several farmers markets on Higgins Avenue. Cool off with a scenic float down the Clark Fork River afterwards.

Stay: Jellystone RV Park, Cabins, Campground, Boat & RV Storage, Jim & Mary’s RV Park, Missoula KOA

A couple enjoys their RV stay in Glacier Country

We’ve partnered with Bretz RV & Marine of Missoula to help you on your journey to find these Western Montana roadside gems. Store gear, grill and lounge with this custom camping set perfect for your next adventure.

Enter to win here:

Explore-Worthy Excursions in Western Montana

We all need a little adventure in our lives, and we all have different thoughts about what that means, so here are a handful of travel ideas to explore, depending on your “adventure type.”

The Bookish Explorer: Montana Valley Book Store

Montana Valley Book Store in Alberton, Montana

You know the type—they carry a novel in their bag everywhere they go and insist on stopping in a bookstore in every new town they visit. If this is you, we’ve found your heaven on earth in Alberton, Montana. The Montana Valley Book Store houses more than 100,000 unique and rare books at any given time. Their shelves are constantly rotating, waiting for the perfect book lover to walk in. Open year-round, the owner lives only five minutes away and will come unlock the store for whomever stops by.

Inside Montana Valley Book Store.

Pro tip: For lunch, stop at the Flyin’ R Café for a homemade patty melt on marbled rye. Write your name next to ours on the wall, snap a pic and use #GlacierMT to say hello!

Write your name on the wall at Flyin’ R Cafe’.

Patty Melt at Flyin’ R Cafe’ in Alberton, Montana.

The History Seeker: Garnet Ghost Town

Overlooking Garnet Ghost Town.

The most intact ghost town in Montana—Garnet—takes its name from the ruby-colored stone. The town itself hasn’t been inhabited since the late 1940s, though volunteers help visitors explore the buildings for anyone who hikes in during the summer. If you’re a cold-weather history seeker, click into your cross-country skis and glide into town. Be sure to peek in the windows of the hotel, general store, post office and saloon. Visit our ghost towns page to learn more about the old mining campsites on Garnet Range Road and how to get there.

Pro Tip: The Bureau of Land Management rents out two Garnet Ghost Town cabins in the winter.

The Backcountry Rambler: Holland Lake Waterfall

Stand-up paddleboarder enjoys an early spring day on Holland Lake.

Nestled in the Seeley-Swan Valley and good for an adventure in any season, Holland Falls is a three-mile round-trip trek up trail #42. To get there in winter, strap on your snowshoes, or hike up on a hot summer day to cool off in the mist of the massive falls. The trail ends just before the falls and overlooks Holland Lake. Then, head back down for a little water play in the lake. It’s is a popular spot for campers, canoers and stand-up paddleboarders.

Overlooking Holland Lake from Holland Falls.

The Pioneer: Martin City + Hungry Horse

Hungry Horse Reservoir.

There are three things you need to know about Martin City and Hungry Horse, Montana.

  1. In 2017 they held their 39th annual Cabin Fever Days and Barstool Ski Races.
  2. The towns were created after World War II during the construction of Hungry Horse Dam.
  3. They love your dam puns.

The Romantic: Fire Lookouts

Come on, we know you’ve dreamed about escaping to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, wistfully sipping coffee while you watch the sun rise over the Rocky Mountains. Well, here’s your chance, you romantic, you. The U.S. Forest Service rents fire lookouts and cabins throughout Montana on a first-come first-served basis. This off-the-beaten-path getaway can be yours for a small reservation fee. Western Montana houses eight of these 360-degree-view, picturesque lodging options. Reserve your spot at recreation.gov.

The Foraging Fiend: Huckleberries

Huckleberries.

This finicky native shrub only grows in high elevations, making Montana’s mountains a perfect home for its tasty berries. Huckleberries look like small blueberries and taste like a cross between a blueberry and blackberry. While you can find huckleberry syrup and jam at many Western Montana stores and farmers markets, the true forager will take to the hills looking to find their own “purple gold.” Most Montanans won’t give just anyone their secret berry spot, but we can tell you that the state’s legislature coined Trout Creek the “Huckleberry Capital of Montana.” Plan to visit in August for the Huckleberry Festival, and they just might share their secrets.

Pro Tip: If you decide to forage for huckleberries, be sure to make some noise and carry bear spray. Montana is bear country, and huckleberries are bear food.

Kayaker paddles through Holland Lake on a peaceful fall morning.

What’s your adventure type? Tell us by tweeting or gramming @glaciermt or #glaciermt.

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Montana’s Top 5 Backcountry Skiing Tips

It’s the middle of winter, Mother Nature just hit us with some serious snow and, let’s face it, we all have a bit of cabin fever. It’s a good thing Montana’s cold-weather recreation options keep expanding. From miles of groomed trails to acres of untouched terrain, our mountains are waiting for you to come shred some powder. And since we know that planning a vacation can sometimes feel overwhelming, we made a little list to help you out of your winter rut.

1. Cat Skiing for Experts and Amateurs Alike

Photo: Great Northern Powder Guides

If you’re ready for some pristine high-country exploration in our awe-inspiring outdoors, Great Northern Powder Guides out of Whitefish is ready to help you climb more than 10,000 vertical feet into some of Montana’s best backcountry terrain. The fine folks at GNPG tailor their trips to every skill level—from families to seasoned experts—and they also specialize in avalanche safety training, so, rest assured, you’re in good hands. And if you’re looking for an overnight adventure, they offer backcountry yurts for a truly unique on-the-mountain lodging experience.

2. We Ski With a Little Help From Our Friends

Pro skier KC Deane drops powder pillows in the Great Bear Wilderness while internationally famous photographer Chris Burkard looks on. Photo: Devin Schmidt of Glacier Adventure Guides

Our friends at Glacier Adventure Guides are the experts among experts when it comes to backcountry skiing. These self-described “igloo-dwelling powder hounds” are always ready for a wild time, and they aren’t messing around when it comes to keeping you safe. They’re all certified in First Aid and CPR and trained in Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC), mountain travel and rescue, and avalanche awareness. These powder hounds are powder ready, just like our mountains.

3. Ski the Park

While winter in Glacier National Park means fewer lodging options and limited road access, it also means epic backcountry skiing. The National Park Service is our go-to resource for all Glacier National Park safety help. Their website shares safety tips for skiing, snowshoeing, trails and area closure reports. It’s always a good idea to check out avalanche reports and road closures before heading in. See Glacier Country’s Going-to-the-Sun Road status feed here. And when in doubt, ask a ranger! After gathering your safety gear, pick up your backcountry pass and a skiing and snowshoeing brochure from the park headquarters at the Apgar Visitor Center on your way into this backcountry winter wonderland.

4. Something Borrowed

LB Snow, Missoula, MT Photo: David Bosler

Not everyone has all the right gear to face the exhilarating elements and snow-covered landscape of Western Montana, but someone here always has what you need. If you don’t have a great uncle in the backcountry with 70 years of alpine gear in a trunk ready to lend out, try out one of these local rental shops:

5. We’re Here for You

Glacier National Park

We know Glacier Country like the backs of our hands…or gloves (depending on the season), and we’re always checking weather and trail reports because making sure you’re taking advantage of the best backcountry conditions is one of our favorite things to do.

We also love to chat, whether by phone, 1.800.388.5072, or live message, so get in touch anytime Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and let’s plan your Montana backcountry ski adventure together.

Find even more inspiration and enter today for a chance to win monthly prizes in Western Montana’s Glacier Country at glaciermt.com.

Making a Move: Montana to Wyoming

I’m not quite sure how to tell you this, so I’m just gonna come right out with it: I’m leaving Montana.

Goodbye, Montana.

Goodbye, Montana.

For those of you who’ve been reading this blog or following me on social media, you know how much I love Montana. My love for this state is as expansive as Montana’s big sky and as deep as my family’s roots in this place we’ve been lucky enough to call home for generations. But I’m packing my rig (AKA my 4WD Jeep), pulling on my cowgirl boots and heading south for the beautiful, wild, romantic and adventure-filled state of Wyoming.

Hello, Wyoming.

Hello, Wyoming. Photo: Andy Austin

While it hurts my heart to leave Montana, I’m thrilled, happy and excited to explore the Forever West, and I can’t wait to help tell the incredible stories about the people, places and experiences that make Wyoming so special. And if there’s one state I could possibly leave my love Montana for, it’s Wyoming. Also, in case anyone is keeping score, Montana and Wyoming are BFFs (read more about why MT + WY are BFFs here). After all, they share three of the most special place in the country: Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway and Bighorn Canyon.

MT + WY = BFFs.

MT + WY = BFFs.

And while I’m leaving Big Sky Country, I’d love it if we could still be friends…maybe even BFFs like Montana and Wyoming? If you’re interested in keeping up with my new adventures in another absolutely stunning part of the world, you can follow me on instagram at @MontanaTia (PS: I totally know I’m going to have to revisit my instagram handle ;)), where I’ll be sharing photos, stories and more from life in Wyoming.

And while I said it in last week’s blog post (you can read that here), I need to say it again: thank you for letting me be part of your lives. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and feel honored to have spend so many years sharing my adventures with you as I’ve been living, working and playing under Montana’s big blue sky.

Until we meet again—this time under Wyoming’s wild skies—happy trails to you.

xo,
TT

Happy Trails to 2016, From This Montana Girl

You guys, first things first: I’m so glad we’re friends. When I think back on this blog, I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve been able to take you on my Montana-loving journeys and share all the things that make Big Sky Country so special to me. I love reading your comments and receiving your emails about the latest blog posts, and I really love when you share your memories of Montana, family or life with me. So from the bottom of my windblown, silly, happy and joyful heart, I want to say one thing: thank you. Thank you for letting me be part of your lives.

My Montana.

My Montana.

Maybe it’s the holiday season or just taking the time to think about another year passing as we all gear up for the arrival of 2017, but I’ve been feeling really sentimental about this past year. 2016 held a plethora of adventures with some of my favorite people, from snowshoeing in Glacier National Park to the #PictureMontana trip with friends both new and old and taking the trip of a lifetime into the heart of Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness to my family reunion at Placid Lake State Park. When I look back on all of the life that was packed into the last 12 months, I can’t help but be happy. So, just because, I thought it’d be fun to look back at some of the best Montana moments of 2016.

Take a look…

Starting 2016 at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.

Starting 2016 at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.

Ranger led snowshoeing in Glacier National Park, Glacier Country

Snowshoeing in Glacier National Park.

Taking in the stillness of winter in Glacier National Park.

Taking in the stillness of winter in Glacier National Park.

Several of my Montana memories involve this lady: photographer Donnie Sexton.

Several of my Montana memories involve this lady: photographer Donnie Sexton.

Stopping to take in the view along I-90 near Alberton, Montana.

Stopping to take in the view along I-90 near Alberton, Montana.

Perhaps my most favorite barn shot, ever.

Perhaps my most favorite barn shot, ever.

After work, I headed out west of Missoula to watch the soft evening light fall over the valley.

After work one day, I headed out west of Missoula to watch the soft evening light fall over the valley.

2016 also brought my first-ever visit to Cody, Wyoming.

2016 also brought my first-ever visit to Cody, Wyoming.

My traveling partner and I fell in love with downtown Cody, Wyoming.

Downtown Cody, Wyoming.

The first bike outing of the year on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The first bike outing of the year on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

This last year also brought two blissful, almost picture-perfect days at Flathead Lake Lodge.

This last year also brought two blissful, almost picture-perfect days at Flathead Lake Lodge.

In May, I was able to welcome 17 writers to Western Montana. Definitely one of my most memorable trips ever (in the best way possible).

In May, I was able to welcome 17 writers (who I’m lucky enough to call my friends) to Western Montana. Definitely one of my most memorable trips ever (in the best way possible).

One of the most special experiences of 2016: watching American Indian dancers perform at Ninepipes Lodge.

One of the most special experiences of 2016: watching American Indian dancers perform at Ninepipes Lodge.

Another thing I've learned: it's important to capture memories.

Another thing I’ve learned: it’s important to capture memories.

I also crossed another destination off my bucket list: Bighorn Canyon in Southeast Montana/Northeast Wyoming.

I also crossed another destination off my bucket list: Bighorn Canyon in Southeast Montana/Northeast Wyoming.

The second bike outing on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

The second bike outing on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Home. PS: when your hometown is as small as mine, you have no problem laying on Main Street to take photos.

Home. PS: when your hometown is as small as mine, you have no problem laying on Main Street to take photos.

Holland Lake Road, with Swan Mountain views.

Holland Lake Road, with Swan Mountain views.

Just a quick visit to my favorite spot with one of my favorite girls.

Just a quick visit to my favorite spot with one of my favorite girls.

This past summer, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and went on a week-long pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

This past summer, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and went on a week-long pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

My friend Amy taking in the view of the Chinese Wall in The Bob.

My friend Amy taking in the view of the Chinese Wall in The Bob.

For as long as I can remember, seeing the Chinese Wall in person has been one of my dreams.

For as long as I can remember, seeing the Chinese Wall in person has been one of my dreams.

Special thanks to my friend Tommy for this shot.

Special thanks to my friend Tommy for this shot.

The crew standing on top of the world.

The crew standing on top of the world.

This morning view was one of my favorites from the entire year.

This morning view was one of my favorites from the entire year.

A must-do activity: driving Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road in fall.

A must-do activity: visiting Glacier National Park in fall.

Don't tell anyone, but this lady is one of my favorites.

This little lady is one of the best adventure partners in the land. 

There's something about a dirt road and Montana.

There’s something about a dirt road and Montana.

Adventuring on Two Medicine Lake in fall.

Adventuring on Two Medicine Lake in fall.

Sunrise over the St. Mary Valley in Glacier National Park.

Sunrise over the St. Mary Valley in Glacier National Park.

Fall at Travelers' Rest State Park. My traveling friend and I (see previous photo) were the only ones there.

Fall at Travelers’ Rest State Park. My traveling friend and I were the only ones there.

A favorite fall memory: driving Chief Mountain Highway.

A favorite fall memory: driving Chief Mountain Highway.

One thing I've learned this year: sometimes you just have to go.

One thing I’ve learned this year: sometimes you just have to go.

For those of you who have been my adventure buddies this year, thanks for the memories. And for those of you who’ve kept up with my travels this year, thank you for letting me share my Montana with you.

xo,
TT

You Can Go Home Again: The Magic of Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front

Oh you guys, where do I start? Well, with the truth I guess: last week was a rough one.

I won’t bore you with the details (AKA I won’t complain about my life, since I’m the first to admit how blessed I am), but I had a couple of days where I just didn’t feel like myself. To sum it up, I was sad. For those of you who know me personally (or from reading this blog), sad is not a word that’s used to describe me. So I went to the place that I knew would help me with that feelings: I went home

Take a look…

Lover's Lane, the street I grew up on.

Lover’s Lane, the street I grew up on.

Wide-open spaces, an old barn and Haystack Butte.

Wide-open spaces, an old barn and Haystack Butte.

Roads like these are home for me and I drove quite a few of them over the weekend.

Roads like these are home for me and I drove quite a few of them over the weekend.

Fresh snow in the mountains.

Fresh snow in the mountains.

Twilight looking east.

Looking east at twilight.

The landscape seemed endless, even for this local Montana girl.

The landscape seemed endless, even for this Montana girl.

That Montana sky set my heart aflutter.

That Montana sky set my heart aflutter.

My baby brother, niece and I drove out to watch the sun set behind Haystack Butte.

My baby brother, niece and I drove out to watch the sun set behind Haystack Butte.

Shades of my life stretched out on the horizon.

Shades of my life stretched out on the horizon.

The aptly described Rocky Mountain Front, where the plains and mountains meet.

The aptly described Rocky Mountain Front, where the plains and mountains meet.

As for me, I left that weekend filled with the magic of the Rocky Mountain Front, my home and family and knowing that no matter what, I can always go home again. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

xo,
TT

PS: For more daily photo updates of the West, be sure to follow us on instagram at GlacierMT.

A Weekend at Home in Augusta, Montana

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know by now that I’m a Montana girl through and through. I live here, love it here and my soul feels at home here. I currently live in one of the “big cities” of Montana and I have to tell you that while I love where I live, there’s no place like home. For me, home is a 2-hour drive over the mountains to a small town that sits along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front: Augusta.

Main Street, Montana.

Oh hi Augusta, Montana.

My family (which is big, wild and fun) is firmly entwined in the community of Augusta, Montana and each year I go home for one of the biggest weekends of the year—the Augusta American Legion Rodeo (which celebrated 80 years of rodeo this year)—to help my mom and dad at our family business, the general store that sits on Main Street. Plus, it’s not just the store that needs some attention during the weekend. I also work our family taco stand. Yep, you read that right. We have a taco stand that is only open one weekend each year. Years ago (as in 35+ years ago), my aunt started the stand when she was home for the summer and it’s an always-present staple during rodeo weekend. Growing up, I worked that taco stand every rodeo weekend and I’m kind of nostalgically happy that that tradition hasn’t changed. Sidenote: I didn’t get any photos of the taco stand or the delicious tacos we serve each year because the stand was insanely busy! 

Anyway, while we worked the entire weekend, it was one of the best weekends and visits home that I’ve had in a long time. Here’s a look at a weekend at home in Montana…

My mom was decked out and ready for the weekend. You can just call her "Cowgirl Sue."

My mom was decked out and ready for the weekend. You can just call her “Cowgirl Sue.”

The much loved and most demanding member of our family, the store.

The much loved and most demanding member of our family, the store.

Evening light lit up the store beautifully.

Evening light lit up the store beautifully.

Ready to ride.

Ready to ride.

The pick-up crew.

The pick-up crew.

Oh hey, cowboy.

Hey cowboy.

Taking in the view of the rodeo arena.

Taking in the view of the rodeo arena.

Night falls over Sawtooth Mountain. PS: this photo was taken at 10:06 p.m.

Night falls over Sawtooth Mountain. PS: this photo was taken at 10:06 p.m.

It was a good weekend.

Your turn: where does your soul feel the most at home?

xo,
TT

Montana is Wild: Top Rules and Tips for Safely Visiting the West

You guys, I don’t love writing about sad things on this blog. And I hate telling you about sad things, especially when they happen in the place that I love and adore: the West. But the fact of the matter is this: it’s only mid-June and we’ve already had several negative wildlife encounters and an unfortunate, heart-breaking experience in Montana and Yellowstone National Park.

Always give bears plenty of room and never approach. Photos: GlacierNPS Flickr (Tim Rains)

Always give bears plenty of room and never approach. Photos: GlacierNPS Flickr (Tim Rains)

To date this year, we’ve had visitors approach wildlife and get way too close (examples include selfies with bison, a tourist picking up a baby bison and placing it in his car and a woman being charged and hit by an elk) as they invaded the animal’s space. In addition, Yellowstone National Park had a group of adventure travelers walk off the boardwalk (and film it, for pete’s sake) and most recently, a visitor tragically lost his life when he went off the boardwalk and fell into one of the boiling geysers.

Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods, I was in Glacier National Park earlier this month sitting at The Loop eating lunch when a black bear meandered across the Going-to-the-Sun Road. He was a nice bear who literally paid the 10 of us no mind as he crossed the road, even when a lady started running after him. Yep, you read that right. We were all sitting there marveling at the chance to see a wild bear in Glacier National Park and she ran after him to take a photo. This, my friends, is one of my worst nightmares and we actually had to say these words, “Ma’am, don’t chase the bear. Ma’am! Don’t chase him.” Honestly, I never thought I’d have to tell someone to not chase a WILD ANIMAL in the WILD.

All of these stories are not meant to cast shame or embarrass anyone; instead they’re meant to educate.

Perhaps the worst part about the examples listed above is that they could be have been avoided by following the rules and regulations that are in place to not only protect us as visitors to these special places, but to protect wildlife, their habitat and the ecosystem in which we all live.

The fact of the matter is that the West is still wild. One of the best things about visiting the wild places that still exist in Montana and Wyoming is that we’re able to experience raw, true, genuine nature.  To do that, it’s important that we follow the rules, guidelines and regulations that are put in place to help everyone have a wonderful time in Montana, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Here are some rules to remember when visiting the West…

Stay on designated trails, pathways and boardwalks. Always.

Boadwalks are put in place to give us safe access to viewing geysers, hot springs and rushing waterways.

Boadwalks are put in place to give us safe access to viewing geysers, hot springs and rushing waterways. Photo: YellowstoneNP Flickr

View wildlife from your car or from a safe distance. For bears, you should stay at least 100 yards (the length of a football field) away, while you should stay at least 25 yards away from other large animals, including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes.

This visitor is WAY TOO CLOSE to the bears. Photo: YNP Flickr

This visitor is WAY TOO CLOSE to the bears. Photo: Yellowstone NPS Flickr

Do not approach wildlife. Even for a selfie. Truth time: Yellowstone and Glacier are not zoos. The animals who live here are wild and there are no barriers between you and them. Never, under any circumstances, approach wildlife. Also, don’t touch or pet them. Ever. Deal?

Let wildlife know you’re nearby. When hiking, be sure to hike in a group, carry bear spray, stay on designated trails and make noise at regular intervals. This messy-haired girl likes to sing (you’re welcome bears and humans) and say “hey bear” loudly at regular intervals or clap my hands as I walk along. PS: Do us all a favor and don’t rely on bear bells as your noisemaker. Most of them are not loud enough.

For more information, you can read more safe wildlife viewing tips here and here.

Wishing you all safe travels this summer,
TT

Meet Montana’s Best-Kept Secret: Bighorn Canyon

I’ve got a confession: while I’m a born and raised Montana girl who has spent extensive amounts of time traveling the state, there are still some places I’ve never been to. At the very top of my list: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

Hello, you beautiful thing.

Hello, you beautiful thing.

I’d heard tales of this magical place from friends and family, but hadn’t had the opportunity to see it for myself. But that all changed earlier this month when my friend Nick (who lives in Billings, Montana) invited me down to his neck of the woods to spend a couple of days on a trip that would include a visit to my much-longed for love, Bighorn Canyon. Needless to say, I said yes to his invitation. After a night in Billings, we set off for Fort Smith and the Montana side of Bighorn Canyon (this recreation area is located in both Montana and Wyoming) for an afternoon on the canyon.

Here’s a look at our boat tour on Bighorn Canyon

Taking in the colorful walls on the north end of the canyon.

Taking in the colorful walls on the north end of the canyon.

Getting ready to jump on the boat.

Getting ready to jump on the boat.

Fishermen make their way to the dock.

Fishermen make their way to the dock.

In one word: stunning.

In one word: stunning.

The terrain here is almost other-worldly.

The terrain here is almost other-worldly.

After cruising in for about 5 miles, our boat captain took us down a small branch of the river to a campsite that is ONLY accessible by boat. Which, to me, is basically a dream come true.

Cutest campsite, perhaps ever.

Cutest campsite, perhaps ever.

More stunning topography.

More stunning topography.

The river still has some rising to do.

The river still has some rising to do.

This forest was a quiet oasis in Southeast Montana.

This forest was a quiet oasis in southeast Montana.

The water flowing into the river was so pure it was clear.

The water flowing into the river was so pure it was clear.

Our crew of boats, departing the campsite.

Our crew of boats, departing the campsite.

Happiness on Bighorn Canyon.

Happiness on Bighorn Canyon.

 

The views took my breath away.

The views took my breath away.

While I’m from the Rocky Mountain Front (or the “east side” as it’s commonly referred to) and now live in Western Montana, I have a genuine appreciation for the beauty of eastern and southeast Montana. I can blame it on my brothers playing 6-man football that caused me to drive all over the state growing up or the natural wanderlust that comes with exploring my massive home state, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the east side of the state.

Because the fact of the matter is this: southeast Montana is beautiful. And if you haven’t made it there yet, I recommend putting it on your travel list.

If you go:
-You can access the northern district of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area from Fort Smith, Montana and the southern district of the canyon from near Lovell, Wyoming.
-When visiting the canyon from the northern district, make a stop at Ok-A-Beh Marina just outside Fort Smith. The marina rents pontoon boats and is a great stop for food/beverage and fishing supplies.
-You can bring your own boat to recreate on the canyon and no special permit is needed. Read more on boating on Bighorn Canyon here.
Horseshoe Bend Marina (near Lovell) also has rentals and food/drink.

xo,
TT

Planning a Trip to Montana this Summer? Join #AskMontanaChat

Are you guys ready for some fun, Montana-lovin’ social media news? Here’s hoping you are, because I’m about to lay it on ya. Later this month, I’m going to be hosting (along with many of my other Montana friends) a twitter chat called #AskMontanaChat

Hi, Rocky Mountain Front.

Hi, Rocky Mountain Front.

In my job, I often get asked questions about the best places to go, the top things to do and see and what areas to explore when people are coming to my favorite place on earth: Montana.

So I got together with a few of my other Montana pals from Fort Peck in the northeast corner of the state to Bozeman in the southwest corner of the state and we decided to host a twitter chat that’s all about Montana and will give travelers to the area (AKA YOU!) the chance to ask and—more importantly—have your travel questions about Montana answered.

Here are the #AskMontanaChat details:#AskMontanaChat GNP
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Time: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. MST
Format: The chat will have 4 questions that will be tweeted out from the @GlacierMT twitter account and Montana travel pros from across the state will answer them. In addition, the last half of the chat will be “open mic” style where anyone can ask their travel questions about Montana.
Who will be there: We’ll have a bevy of Montana lovers and tourism pros on the chat, including @Debbie_Picard, @MontanaTia (me!), @GlacierMT, @406_nicole, @ycountry, @missouririvercountry@visitsemontana and @southwestmontana, as well as other local experts.
How to join: Log into twitter on 6/29/16 at 6 p.m. and type #AskMontanaChat into your search bar. From there, the tweets from the chat will pull in. When asking a question, be sure to “tag” your tweet with #AskMontanaChat so local Montana experts can see your tweets and respond to you with information.
Why to join: This is a chance for YOU to ask your travel-related questions to local Montana residents and tourism offices who will give first-person answers to help you plan your trip to Big Sky Country.

Hope to see you on twitter at #AskMontanaChat!

xo,
TT