Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in Montana
Few things are more quintessential Americana than the road trip. A veritable scenic wonderland awaits intrepid motorists across our great nation. Those lucky enough to call Montana home are surrounded by some of the most diverse and amazing scenery to be found anywhere. Lewis and Clark described its natural beauty as “scenes of visionary enchantment.” If you’re ready to pack up for some spectacular natural beauty via the highways and byways then here are some of the most scenic drives in Montana from the car accident lawyers at the Advocates.
No list of scenic drives in Montana could be complete without including this spectacular route through the heart of Glacier National Park. The 50-mile passage originally opened in 1933 and was the first National Park route specifically designed with the automobile tourist in mind. Passing by luscious cedar forests and waterfalls as it winds its way up toward ancient glaciers and the wind swept alpine circa of Logan Pass at 6,647 feet. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even grizzly bears are common sights.
Snowplow crews take around 10 weeks to clear the upper road of 80 feet or more of snow allowing motorists access. The road typically opens in early June and stays open through mid-October. The visitors center at Logan Pass is also a very popular stop offering amazing day hikes and ranger led activities as well as education about the local animals and geographic features.
Designated an “All-American” road in 2002, this amazing 68-mile route reaches heights of nearly 11,000-feet and features breathtaking views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. Running between Red Lodge and the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway features numerous scenic lookouts allowing an in-depth appreciation of the views.
The highway famously follows the 1872 footsteps of General Philip Sheridan over Beartooth Mountain returning from inspecting the newly formed Yellowstone National Park. Understandably so, snow storms can happen year around at the upper altitudes, so checking the local road conditions is always a good idea before heading out. Normally the road is open from May until October before turning into a popular snowmobile route in the winter months. This drive was famously described as “the most beautiful drive in America,” by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt.
This 62-mile paved loop south of Livingston meanders along the Yellowstone River in one of Montana’s most scenic valleys. Flanked on the east by the looming Absaroka Range and on the west by the Gallatin Range a few miles off is a wonderful contrast to the open fields and grasslands of the valley, making it one of the most scenic drives in Montana. The picturesque Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access Site is a very popular spot to take a break and try your luck with the fish just picnic down by the river.
Off a gravel road about a block near milepost 42, you’ll find the Yellowstone River in a lazy horseshoe around the campground with the Absaroka mountains as the backdrop. If you’re headed to Yellowstone on Highway 89 then this side trip through the valley offers a respite from the heavy traffic and some of the prettiest views in the area.
Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway
Connecting Libby and Eureka, this 67-mile route follows the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa. Formed in 1974 by the Libby Dam, the narrow gorge of the lake extends all the way north into British Columbia. The name sounds like it has Indian origins but actually a local woman from Eureka combined the first three letters from the river and Canada then adding U.S.A. to win a naming contest hosted by the Corp of Engineers.
Wedged between the Purcell Mountains and the Salish Mountains the steep and rocky canyon walls are perfect habitat for bighorn sheep which are frequently seen in the area. Set aside some extra time If you are a fisherman as Lake Koocanusa is famed as one of the best landlocked salmon fishing spots in the northwest and the Kootenai River is considered a blue-ribbon trout stream with trophy-size rainbow trout. Other popular attractions include sightseeing in local ghost towns and Libby Dam, rock climbing, boating and numerous campground and picnic spots including one on an island.
Kings Hill Scenic Byway
Starting just southeast of Great Falls and heading 71-miles down to White Sulphur Springs, this popular byway passes through the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Little Belt Mountains. Pristine mountain lakes, wild streams and deep forests offer a wide variety of terrain and wildlife habitat encompassing this byway. For adventurous drivers the gravel roads seen crisscrossing the main road leads to over 450 miles of rugged mountain scenery, high lakes, trailheads, campgrounds and many old historic mines.
Much of the wildlife present when Lewis and Clark made their passage still live in the area including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, lynxes, wolverines and black bears to mention a few. The Showdown Ski Area sits just south of Kings Hill Pass as well some interesting historical museums littering the small towns makes this byway one with something for everyone.
The Montana Advocates
Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone involved. Worrying about insurance claims, lost wages and the headache of an ongoing legal case is a lot for anyone to have to deal with, let alone a family with a member recovering from a serious medical condition because of their accident. The best personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents is a life saver in overwhelming situations like that.
Here at the Advocates, our car accident lawyers believe everyone deserves a dedicated and diligent professional to help guide you through the difficult process of obtaining just compensation after a car accident. From handling insurance adjusters and compiling medical records to assist in renting a car, our Montana personal injury lawyers will be there to assist every step of the way. Call the Advocates today 24/7 at 406-272-6986 or use our live online chat right away on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!