When you stay in Butte, America, all of Southwest Montana sits at your doorstep, with jumping-off opportunities that lead to plenty of adventures. Slow travel has the benefit of letting you get to know the area like a local while limiting your impact on the environment. So go ahead and take a day trip or two to explore from a central home base. Get inspired with some of these day trips around Butte.
Bozeman is less than an hour and a half away on the interstate. Dining, shopping, and the mountain town experience draw visitors and residents to spend more time here. Whether you’d love to check out the famous Museum of the Rockies or just stroll downtown, you can embrace the friendly feel of the city and make stops at state parks like Missouri Headwaters or Madison Buffalo Jump along the way.
It takes about two and a half hours of driving from Butte to get to the Northwest or West Entrances of Yellowstone. And while you could spend a lifetime exploring the park, if you’re just hoping to get one good view of Old Faithful’s eruption and see some of the bubbling geothermal features that make it onto postcards, this is definitely doable as a day trip.
From May through September, guided cave tours can take you underground at scenic Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. The two-hour, two-mile classic cave tour winds you through the mountain in an adventure of speleology, while the shorter and more accessible Paradise Tour takes you underground without the bending, stooping, and 600 stairs. If you hate the dark but love some steep mountain biking, the 10-mile trail system here is well worth a stop as well, along with nearby Copper City.
The town of Anaconda makes a short day trip from Butte. Explore downtown with a view of the historic smokestack that ties into Butte’s mining history. Lost Creek State Park has a short hike to a waterfall, or you can find the trailhead for the Lost Creek to Foster Creek trail that quickly leaves the park and winds for miles into the surrounding national forest along the streambed. Complete your day with a drive over the Pintler Veterans’ Memorial Scenic highway, ending in Philipsburg, where you can head back to Butte on the interstate.
Ghost towns are a Southwest Montana specialty, and Bannack State Park tops them all. You’re free to wander through any of the unlocked buildings, making for an experience that feels almost illicit and places you firmly in the past while you discover these well-preserved spaces. Better yet, visit during popular events like Bannack Days in July or the spooky Ghost Walks in October.
Missoula is less than two hours from Butte, with its riverside parks, shops, dining opportunities and all of Montana’s version of big-city fun. Stroll the farmers market or hear some live music after you sip a craft brew or two on a summer afternoon. You might want to stop at Grant-Kohrs Ranch or Garnet Ghost Town on your way to or from this small city.
Settle down in Butte for a little while, and see what the surrounding area has to offer. Embrace a slower, regenerative style of travel when you book a stay at the Butte KOA Journey.