These are some of my most favorite drives in Montana, regardless of the season. But I think they can be appreciated even more so in the colder months of the year. So, grab your Thermos of hot cocoa, an extra warm blanket or two, and your best winter tires. Let’s go for a drive.
Encompassing an area roughly 30 by 15 miles in size, the Crazies are Montana’s most impressive island range. With 23 summits that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation, the highest of which is Crazy Peak (11,214 feet), the Crazies also are Montana’s third-highest mountain range.
Sailors across the Big Sky state hoist their sails on Fort Peck Reservoir in the dusty eastern part of the state to the pristine waters of Flathead Lake in the northwest. And, although there truly are many lakes in Montana on which to set sail, we focused on two of the largest—Flathead Lake and Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Both are deservedly popular among the sailing community.
If Mother Nature then chooses to fully cooperate, visitors to Glacier National Park may conclude that Montana’s annual autumnal gold rush surpasses even New England’s fabled fall color, given the grandeur of Glacier’s mountains and the stark contrast between color values that characterize fall foliage in the northern Rockies.
I spent time recently on a couple of sections of the CDT, finding out what makes this trail unique and why thru-hikers say this trail is by far one of the hardest to hike out of any of the long-distance trails in the U.S.
Take crisp, cool mornings and sunny, warm days – mix in a little early snow high in the mountains and add some beautiful fall foliage, elk bugling during their rut in the High Country, and you have a recipe for what many believe are the very finest days of the year to get out and enjoy what Montana has to offer.
Since 1991, the Western Montana Mycological Association has offered workshops and forays focused on mushrooms— not all of them as exciting as this one—every spring and fall season. These forays are always campouts, and attract dozens of dedicated mushroom hunters from all over the state.
There’s nothing like hauling your body up a slab of million-year-old gneiss to get your blood pumping. Come spring, the friction tends to be good and it’s sometimes even warm enough to climb in shirtsleeves. Bouldering is a stellar way to spend time outside with friends, explore the outer realms of your comfort zone, and build strength.
These were some challenging times for travel in Montana, but in the 1930s, when Lolo National Forest West was established, a dirt track was constructed to the resort from Highway 200. Better days were ahead for Martin Quinn's favorite destination, and —through it all—the location stayed in the family name.
I parked along a stretch of dirt road where I could see the valley and the mountains between the trees, turned off the truck, and stepped out to silence and crisp spring air. There was something here I could not put into words, something that felt wild and uninhibited.
The road between Yellowstone and Glacier offers the less rushed traveler ample opportunities to discover Montana’s renowned “big sky”, its beautiful mountains, blue-ribbon trout streams, as well as its rich cultural heritage, making the drive between the two parks a much more enjoyable and enriching experience.
Forgive me if this is indelicate, but brown trout are carnivorous. Brown trout eat other brown trout. Also mice. Also anything that wiggles, including fish being retrieved by an Orvis rod. Little freshwater sharks is what they are.
The lookouts played a critical part in maintaining and monitoring wildfires in the area while keeping visitors safe. Most of the lookouts in Montana are unmanned today, and many can be reached by hiking to them.