3 Day Tour between
Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks
West Yellowstone to West Glacier - a new "Western" 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' western entrances.
DESTINATIONS (CITIES) VISITED:
Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone, Butte, Anaconda, Philipsburg, Deer Lodge, Missoula, Kalispell, Whitefish, West Glacier, Glacier National Park
Day 1: West Yellowstone - Butte
Start in West Yellowstone, with a 45 minute drive to Big Sky, north of Yellowstone National Park on Hwy 191. Ride the gondola to the heights of Lone Mountain while the morning air is crisp and clear, take your time and hike down, or if in rush take the zipline. After or for lunch, head north to Bozeman. The charming downtown offers an eclectic mix of food, fashions and framed art to wander through. Explore the Museum of the Rockies, famous for its dinosaur collections, Indian artifacts, Montana history and homesteader cabin.
Then on to Butte via I-90, to view the open-pit copper mine of Berkley Pit and the historic buildings guarded by head frames from Butte's heyday in mining. If time allows, visit the World Museum of Mining, for a mining history lesson, the Copper King Mansion, to see how the Copper King lived or the free Mineral Museum, to view specimens found throughout the world. On weekends, take the Copper King Express, based in Anaconda, a scenic train ride through canyons and along rivers for a ride into history.
Overnight in Butte.
Day 2 - Butte - Philipsburg / Deer Lodge / Missoula - Kalispell / Whitefish
This morning you can make a decision on which route to take for your first hour of driving: MT Hwy 1 or I-90, before continuing on to Missoula. Both offer unique attractions and take about the same amount of time to drive; but your experiences will be vastly different.
Your first option, MT Hwy 1 takes you on the Pintler Scenic Route along the shores of Georgetown Lake and through national forests. A stop in Philipsburg, one of the nation's "Prettiest Painted Places" is a great place to stretch your legs, feed your sweet tooth or amble through its historic downtown. Continue driving 30 minutes to get back on I-90 to Missoula. Your second option is to take I-90 from Butte to Deer Lodge, the home of three unique and historic attractions: the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site; the Old Montana Prison or the Montana Auto Museum. The free Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site offers a glimpse into the life of a 'cattle spread' from the 1860's to today. The prison and auto museum, offer tours through the territorial prison or views of over 150 classic cars from 1903 to today.
Continue on I-90 for 80 minutes to arrive in Missoula, the Garden City for lunch and a tour of the Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center. Afterwards, get off the interstate and take Hwy 93 to the National Bison Range at Moiese. This preserve is the home of bison, elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep and mountain goats and can be driven through two auto tours. Unfortunately, there are no hiking trails due to the wildlife, but be prepared for some great photographic opportunities. The day ends with a scenic drive along the incomparable Flathead Lake to the communities of Kalispell or Whitefish.
Overnight in Kalispell or Whitefish.
Day 3 - Kalispell or Whitefish to West Glacier & Glacier National Park
Rise and shine to have ample time to discover the "Crown of the Continent," Glacier National Park. Choose from short walks where you can slowly savor the natural world, take a comfortable boat cruise on one of the pristine lakes or watch for wildlife while hiking to a hidden lake. If you want others to do the driving, take the rollback-top red "Jammer" buses for an interpretive drive over the breathtaking Going-to-the-Sun Road. Mountain goats call this park home and the rugged splendor is impressed in memories with perfect clarity.
Overnight in Glacier National Park or the communities of Kalispell, Whitefish or West Glacier.
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