With summer comes the allure of the open road, a road trip tradition that’s alive and vibrant. And with so much to discover along the way, planning is half the fun. Here’s everything you need to consider as you plan your Montana summer road trip through big sky country.
Montana offers up a mix of big sky, a whole lot of fresh air, and wide-open views to take in. You can embrace the spirit of the state as you choose a spot to stay. When you pick your accommodation, it’s worth stirring in a bit of the outdoors and the sustainability that supports it with a mix of camping and hotel stays that prioritize green initiatives. Highline Adventures hotels, vacation rentals, RV parks and campgrounds offer up a mix of options across the state, with sustainability always top of mind.
With five different accommodations near Yellowstone National Park and Bozeman, three near Glacier National Park and one in between in Butte, you’ll find an ideal place to stay on every stop of your road trip.
One of the most popular drives through Montana takes you from Glacier to Yellowstone, or vice versa. Traveling the western corridor between the national parks gives you a look at the forested mountain regions so famous from movies and books like “A River Runs Through It.” Whereas if you head down the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front, you can see the plains begin to roll away from you to the east, while the jagged mountains rise to the west.
If you’re passing through from east to west or back again, I-90 gives you plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten path with a detour here or there, like a quick jaunt up to Glacier or down to Yellowstone, with plenty of scenic byways along the route.
National parks make up a big portion of the draw when it’s time to road trip through Montana. Of course, there’s Glacier and Yellowstone, but you also have national monuments like Grant-Kohrs Ranch in between. And then there are the ghost towns, with Garnet, run by the Bureau of Land Management, and Bannack State Park that make stopping to stretch your legs an obvious choice.
Packing for a Montana road trip should leave you feeling prepared for just about any weather. While it may get hot in the valleys and on the plains, high elevation can still feel like winter, even in August. Opt for layers, with your go-to puffy jacket in tow for those glacier hikes and campfire nights. You can’t go wrong with a beanie and light gloves, too.
As far as stocking your car, sustainable, reusable travel gear is always a plus. Be sure to pack in the snacks and don’t forget your emergency kit with jumper cables and flares.
As you’re driving through the Treasure State, you have a bounty of natural wonders to discover. And one of the most exciting roadside attractions can be the critters you encounter. This goes for a bear or mountain goat seen from your car window, or it could include the deer making a leap in front of your hood. Driving gets a lot more dangerous around dusk and in the dark when deer are out and harder to see. It’s good to plan accordingly.
Weather should impact more than just your packing list. Remember, conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Check the forecast before you head up mountain passes, especially if your travel plans take you to high elevations in June or September.
With ever-changing fuel costs and emissions concerns, a road trip through Montana is even better with friends to help offset the amount of fuel used. When you visit national parks or towns with shuttles and group tour options, take the chance to kick back and choose a sustainable mode of transport.
Combine greener modes of transportation with a sustainable stay at a Highline Adventures property. Book now to kick off your summer road trip through Montana.