Fall Road Trips Glacier National Park & Western Montana

Fall Road Trips

Enter today for a chance to win monthly prizes in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Enter today for a chance to win monthly prizes in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Fall Colors: Montana Road Trips

Within Western Montana’s Glacier Country are numerous places to soak up the changing colors of fall. From the quiet back roads to the state’s second largest city, we’ve rounded up the best places to view fall colors in Montana.

Sled the Burn in Montana This Winter

Seeley Lake, Ovando and Lincoln are preparing for an epic year of snowmobiling and sled skiing with thousands of acres of densely forested land burned by wildfires now wide open for winter play. Enter to win one of three vacation packages.


Northern Tier

Glacier National Park

Glacier in the Fall Encompassing one million acres, Glacier National Park (named the Backbone of the World by the Blackfeet Tribe) is open year-round and is a beautiful destination during any season. However, there’s something special about fall in the Crown of the Continent as its glacial-carved valleys and mountainsides are painted with stunning shades of autumn, blue skies, moderate temperatures and abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing. For an up-close look at fall foliage, plan to bring your bike (or rent one from a local bike shop) and cruise Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. Off-the-beaten-path adventures include driving the Looking Glass Highway (Highway 49) for a beautiful view into the Two Medicine Valley, exploring Many Glacier and traveling into the North Fork of the park, with a stop at The Polebridge Mercantile. And while lodging inside Glacier National Park closes in mid- to late September, the park’s surrounding communities—including West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park and Hungry Horse—offer plentiful lodging options.

Flathead Valley

Montana in the Fall Montana’s Flathead Valley is home to plentiful fall foliage viewing road trips that weave their way in and through some of the region’s most charming communities, including Polson, Lakeside, Bigfork and Whitefish. Roll the windows down and cruise along Highway 35 as it winds along the east side of Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake in the West—before cruising down the west side of the lake on Highway 93. If you’re looking for the scenic route, set out on some of the valley’s country roads and take in the sights, sounds and smells of fall in Western Montana.

Seeley-Swan Valley

A 90-mile-long corridor stretching from Seeley Lake to Swan Lake on Highway 83, this scenic drive navigates travelers through one of the region’s loveliest valleys. With the Swan Mountains on the east and the Mission Mountains on the west, the Seeley-Swan Valley is known for its hundreds of lakes, beautiful hikes and water recreation. It’s also home to numerous tamarack trees whose needles turn beautiful shades of gold in the autumn. While you’re here, be sure to see Gus—one of the largest tamarack trees in the nation.

Kootenai Country: Northwest Montana

For an off-the-beaten path adventure brimming with fall foliage viewing opportunities, set your sights on the far northwest corner of the state—Kootenai Country. Home to the Ross Creek Cedar Grove, Libby Dam and Kootenai Falls, this corner of Montana is one of the most undiscovered, but stunning areas in the state. Travel on Highway 2 from Kalispell to Libby as the road meanders through forested terrain. Once in Libby, envelop yourself in fall foliage with a trek into the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. For beautiful views of Lake Koocanusa, travel the winding scenic byway between Libby and Eureka. And to see the changing colors of fall in northwest Montana from the air, book a scenic flight with Kootenai Aviation.

Southern Tier

Bitterroot Valley

Montana in the Fall Sitting at 96 miles long and cradled by the Sapphire Mountains on the east and the jagged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains on the west, Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is a beautiful destination for a fall road trip. While the valley is anchored by Highway 93 running north and south, the two-lane Eastside Highway (Montana 203) travels from Florence to Hamilton and provides a scenic driving alternative. There are also plentiful country roads throughout the valley that take travelers to trailheads and fishing holes.

Clark Fork Valley

Located along Highway 200, the Clark Fork Valley is home to several small Montana towns (including Paradise, Thompson Falls and Trout Creek), with each having their own personality and offerings that include fishing on the Clark Fork River to soaking in a natural hot spring as you breathe in the crisp fall air. Additional highlights include the nearby National Bison Range, the Thompson Falls fish ladder and several fire tower lookouts.

Missoula

Montana in the Fall

Located at the confluence of five valleys is Missoula, Montana’s second largest city and cultural hub. Surrounded by mountains, the Missoula area has plentiful recreation areas, trails and neighborhoods that are home to some of the most stunning fall foliage in Western Montana. For a beautiful view of the city and its fall colors, hike up Mount Sentinel to the “M” or hike up Waterworks Hill for a panoramic view of Blue Mountain, Mount Jumbo and Mount Sentinel.

Fall Events

September

October

For more fall events, visit glaciermt.com.

Discover

Fall Road Trips in Western Montana & Glacier National Park

Western Montana's Glacier Country

News from Glacier National Park: Currently 16.5 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

Bird Woman Falls

An icon in Glacier National Park, Bird Woman Falls is a glistening 492-foot-high waterfall that cascades down the side of Mt. Oberlin. From West Glacier, travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, located on the west side of the Continental Divide.

Trail of the Cedars

This short boardwalk trail (ADA accessible) takes visitors through an old growth cedar forest. It’s also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail (just over two miles long) that leads to Avalanche Lake—one of the most popular day hikes in Glacier National Park. Trail of the Cedars is located about five and a half miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

If your time in Glacier National Park is limited, one must-see attraction is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50-mile long road takes travelers between St. Mary and West Glacier through the heart of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. There are numerous pullouts along the road, ideal for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery.

See a Glacier

As you’re traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook (located east of Logan Pass). The overlook offers the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road.

Many Glacier Valley

Home to incredible mountains, active glaciers, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Many Glacier is located in the northeast section of Glacier National Park. Trails leave from this valley in numerous directions, with popular hiking destinations including Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.

You might also like...