MONTANA

GROUP TOUR PLANNING

Official State Travel Site
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3 Day Tour between
Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks'
Eastern Entrances

Gardiner to East Glacier - a new "Eastern" adventure between our Parks

Both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks call Montana home. While the distance can be driven in one day; you'll miss the charming towns and warm hospitality that many Montanan's call home. So, slow down, relax in the evening and discover some of our favorite locales. To whet your sense of adventure, here are some suggestions for up to three days of exploration while traveling between the parks' eastern entrances.

DESTINATIONS (CITIES) VISITED: Yellowstone National Park, Gardiner, Livingston, Lewistown, Great Falls, Choteau, Browning, East Glacier

ITINERARY:

Day 1 - Gardiner - Livingston - Lewistown

Begin at Gardiner, the original entrance and north gate of Yellowstone National Park. Drive approximately 1 hour, north on Hwy 89 along the Yellowstone River, the longest free-flowing (undammed) river in the U.S., through the beautiful Paradise Valley to the charming town of Livingston. On this scenic drive, motorists see both frothy whitewater stretches and placid meanders, as well as ospreys, mule deer and the occasional elk. In Livingston, visit either the Depot Center or the Park County Museum, which provide a glimpse into the Park's early days, as well as the railroad that brought travelers to the world's first national park.

After lunch, drive north on US 191 for 2 ? hours through Montana's rolling farmland rich in wheat, hay and grazing cattle, back dropped by tall mountain ranges. Even the county names speak the settlers' vision: Wheatland, Sweet Grass and Golden Valley. In Lewistown, the center of Montana, browse through the art center or museum, admire the finely-crafted stone buildings or cast a line in the nearby creek. From June - September, enjoy an evening dinner train ride aboard the Charlie Russell Chew-Choo, which travels across the prairie and trestle bridges, view the wildlife and enjoy a prime rib dinner.

Overnight in Lewistown.

Day 2 - Lewistown - Great Falls

From Lewistown, take Hwy 200 west 2 hours to Great Falls and visit the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. Located midway along the Trail, the Center focuses on the relations between the Corps and the many Indian tribes they encountered. Eat a picnic lunch at Giant Springs State Park, home to the largest freshwater springs in the world, as well as the starting point of one of the shortest rivers in world. In the afternoon, float the peaceful Missouri River through steep-walled limestone canyons and pastoral farmland. This was the route of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition, which was stalled in the Great Falls area for 32 days in 1805 by a formidable series of waterfalls. (Today, you can see one of those falls from the Center.)

If exploring western history and art is your style, take in the CM Russell Museum. See the original home and studio of Montana's famous cowboy artist Charlie Russell, while the adjacent museum and gallery contain many of his original works and humorous letters sent to cherished friends. If you want someone else to do the driving or to give you an overview of the Electric City, consider taking a narrative tour on the Great Falls Historic Trolley.

Overnight in Great Falls.

Day 3 - Great Falls - Choteau - Browning - East Glacier & Glacier National Park

Today's 3 ? hour route travels under the awesome peaks and buttresses of the Rocky Mountain Front, where the mountains meet the plains. In the spring and fall, watch for hundreds of thousand geese as you travel past the Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area. Stop in Choteau for a chance to stretch your legs, enjoy lunch or an ice cream cone and view dinosaur bones and Old West memorabilia at the Old Trail Museum. For an up-close and personal view of a dinosaur, continue on and stop at the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, to view the skeletal display of the world's longest dinosaur as well as the first baby dinosaur's remains.

Continue your journey an hour north to the heart of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. As you enter the reservation, watch for metal sculptures, depicting a larger-than-life warrior on horseback and see their artistry in action. Browning is home to the acclaimed Museum of the Plains Indian, a permanent exhibition gallery that presents a rich collection of historic arts created by tribal people of the Northern Plains. Finish the day with a short drive to Glacier National Park.

Overnight in Glacier National Park.

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