Ideas for roads to ride and places to visit in Montana?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by krgorton, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. krgorton

    krgorton n00b

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    Hi folks,
    Summer of 2020, following the BMW MOA rally in Great Falls, MT, wife and I are taking some time to ride and see western Montana. Having never been there I would like to have some ideas for great roads to ride and, beyond that, any excellent places to visit. Roughly speaking, we are heading south from Great Falls to ride the Beartooth Highway and visit Yellowstone NP for a few days (maybe Grand Teton NP, too? Thoughts?). Then we'll probably wend our way northwest to visit a cousin in northern Idaho before returning east to visit Glacier NP for a few days. It's the time between Yellowstone and Glacier that I am trying to find suggestions for. I have found some roads that may be interesting including the Skalkaho Highway, Clark Fork (MT Route 200), Kootenai River (US 2) & Lake Kookanusa Byway (MT 37). Any opinions on these or others?

    This time will span 4th of July weekend. Any place have a good Indy Day festival?

    What about things to do? Ghost towns? Interesting local fare? Native American culture?

    Any and all suggestions are welcome.
    #1
  2. AK2ID

    AK2ID Been here awhile

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    Get the Butler Maps and build a route linking the good stuff.

    not sure how much time you have, but you could build a big loop. GF s
    outh across Breartooth, through Jellystone, west across to Sun Valley. Then you can travel north up 93 to Lolo and west on Highway 12. Then north to Glacier and finally back to GF.

    Highway 12 really is a special road.
    Lots of cool country. The parks are neat but crowded and nearby lodging is very expensive.

    Have fun planning.
    #2
  3. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    I just had lunch a few days ago in Big Timber, MT at this place:

    http://www.thirstyturtlemt.com/

    Excellent BBQ pulled pork (sauce served on the side as it should be) and other creative items on the menu.

    +1 on getting both the Idaho and Montana Butler maps. Here's a winding route that hits a few of my favorite spots:
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Wes...bb62!2m2!1d-114.316813!2d48.1919889!3e0?hl=en
    From West Yellowstone, you pass by Quake Lake (stop to read about the earthquake and slide that created it), ride through Virginia City (touristy but interesting), Elkhorn Hot Springs (interesting cafe and very rustic rooms), a pretty intact old ghost town (I forget the name) on the east side of the road going to Wise River, to Wisdom, MT (valley of 10,000 Haystacks) which has a hot springs/cafe/campground, the Big Hole National Battlefield, Hwy 12 over Lolo Pass, up through Coeur d'Alene and then over to Kalispell as starting point for Glacier NP
    #3
  4. knight

    knight Long timer

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    I rode the Skalkaho Hwy in Sept ,it's a good dirt road

    89 south out of Great Falls is a great hwy

    Butte is a cool town ,even though the locals have yet to erect a statue of Evel Knievel

    Without an invitation , it's best not to stray from the hwy when traversing native reserves
    #4
  5. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Look for Salmon River Scenic Byway in Idaho, it might be Rt 93. Very scenic, very little traffic, small towns when there are any.
    I described it this way.....'Women have multiple orgasms, motorcyclists have the Salmon River Byway!!!'
    :bmwrider
    #5
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  6. wellcraft

    wellcraft Been here awhile

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    I'll be watching this thread closely since I plan to do a month long trip to Montana August - September 2020. Checkout www.motorcycleroads.com, when I did my Colorado Springs trip I found a lot of good roads through that website.
    #6
  7. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Take a look in the past when MOA had their rally near there, I forget the year. Should be a rally day trip map on the web? Area around the big lake, near Kalispell is nice rides.
    #7
  8. mgdavis

    mgdavis Been here awhile

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    I suggest a stop in Phillipsburg. Have a beer at the brewery taproom, located in a century old bank building (which a friend of mine happens to own). Ride some easy dirt to check out the ghost town in the mountain above. P-burg is a cool spot.
    #8
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  9. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Start in Anaconda go up past Georgetown Lake and hit “P-Burg” don’t forget the Candy Store there too. Ride over Salkaho pass and then take Hwy 93 up Chief Joeph Pass. At the top go east on Hwy 43 past the Big Hole National Battlefield to Wisdom from there head south past Jackson and out to Bannock ghost town. After that, head back towards Anaconda via the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Hwy (through Polaris) to Wise River. Great food & drink at the Wise River Club. From Wise River take Hwy 569 to Opportunity/Anaconda. Head over to Fairmont Hot Springs resort for a soak. A full day’s ride.
    #9
  10. wellcraft

    wellcraft Been here awhile

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    Are all the roads on this route paved?
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  11. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    All except the Salkaho pass and when open is easily taken with a passenger car or a road bike.
    #11
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  12. wellcraft

    wellcraft Been here awhile

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    Thanks my plan is to be in Montana in August so hopefully the pass is open.
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  13. Smopho

    Smopho Been here awhile

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    Jackson Wyoming is very close, and a great place to spend the fourth of July. As a bonus, you ride through the Grand Tetons park to get there from Montana.
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  14. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Anything extra happen on the 4th? From what I saw...I'd think ANY time in Jackson would be great!!!!
    #14
  15. csw1742

    csw1742 Black Diamonds Supporter

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    Cowboy bar...nuff said. HIGHLY recommend UBER/LYFT in and out. Can be a crazy fun evening. Oh, if you like to partake in libations...plan for a late departure in the morning...or better yet, the following day...rumor has it...
    #15
  16. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    On your way to everywhere, IA.
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  17. ZXMorty

    ZXMorty Been here awhile

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    I’ll be coming out to Montana for the rally. I was told years ago to stay away from North Dakota because of truck traffic generated by the wells. . Is that still the situation?
    #17
  18. GsGrins

    GsGrins Imaginary friend Supporter

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    Good call on the Beartooth, fun ride.

    Livingston has a fun parade and great rodeo on the 4th. 7627FBB6-C104-4F5D-863F-4AC9628C6182.jpeg
    #18