Falling behind only Alaska, Texas and California in size, Montana is the nation’s fourth-largest state. Despite its size (it’s slightly larger than Japan), it was the only state in the union that I’d not visited, which made it a prime bucket list candidate. Vexed by my incomplete list of visited states, I was determined to explore Montana. The fact that Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is often named one of America’s top 10 scenic byways only added fuel to my ambition.
The plan was to fly into Kalispell (I know, “Where is that?” you’re thinking), pick up a rental car and head south along Flathead Lake to Missoula, the state’s cultural capital. From there, it was over the Continental Divide into the prairies for a look around Great Falls, where the Missouri gave the Lewis and Clark Expedition fits.
Next, I headed north along the eastern edge of the Rockies, stopped at a couple interesting museums, then used Browning, the chief town on the Blackfeet Reservation, as my base for exploring Glacier National Park. Saving the best for last, I roamed Glacier, first on the east side, where I took a boat ride on Swiftcurrent Lake, then climbed the awesome Going-to-the-Sun Road from the west portal.
On my 829-mile-long adventure, I saw a great variety of terrain, photo-ops as plentiful as bitterroot (the state’s official flower), a wide range of people (mostly friendly, easy going folk), and several new sights, sounds and tastes (it was huckleberry season and the summer treat is used to make pies and a much-in-demand ice cream).
Montana was a long time coming, but, as they say, well worth the wait. Here’s my trip condensed into three concise parts:
For more information on Montana tourism, check out visitmt.com or call 1-800-847-4868.
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