History buff or not, exploring the museums in Bozeman is well worth the time. From dinosaur fossils to hanging gallows, the exhibits range from western culture to world history. Each museum is unique and well worth a visit, so set aside time to add a little education to your vacation!
Whether you are a professional geologist, an amateur rockhound, or simply looking for an interesting day trip, there are several spots around Bozeman to play with rocks. From geological wonders to gorgeous gems, exploring these areas is fun for any age. Not to mention, the colorful personalities of the surrounding towns are well worth enjoying. There is more than one reason Montana is called the Treasure State!
Ringing Rocks, Butte, Montana
Just outside of Butte, Montana, there is a small batholith called the Boulder Batholith. This huge granite formation was shaped by magma shoved upwards by volcanic eruptions 60-70 million years ago. Within this batholith sits a unique geological formation of boulders that chime methodically when tapped with crescent wrench or mallet. While there is no scientific explanation, it is believed that part of the reason is the composition of the joining patterns; when a boulder is removed, it no longer rings. The area consists of thousands of rocks of all shapes sizes and colors, each with different tones and pitches which sound like a bell. There are only four other sites like this in the world: Mexico, England, Western Australia, and Pennsylvania. Be sure to bring hiking boots, a hammer and an automobile with good clearance, the road is tricky. The area is located 18 miles east of Butte, on BLM land north of I-90, beyond Pipestone Trailhead.
Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, Philipsburg, Montana
The largest, oldest, and best sapphire mine in Montana, the Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine has turned out 180 million carats of sapphires over the past 120 years. The mine allows guests to wash sapphire gravel in search of stones, which vary in size. When you find one you like, the mine offers heat-treating which improves the clarity and enhances the color, and faceting, which grinds and polishes the stone to prepare it for jewelry. Be sure to pack layers, the weather can range from sun to rain to snow, (sometimes in the same day!) Bug spray, sunscreen and a hat are also recommended. For hardcore sapphire hunters, there is a small campground on site which is first-come, first served. The mine is located 22 miles west of Phillipsburg on the Skalhao Pass Road off of Montana Highway 38.
July hits and Bozeman-ites start running fast and hard to get in as much summer fun as possible! The month is packed with special events; long-standing favorites like the state fair, big name musicians and fun runs throughout the valley. From date night to family day, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Fourth of July!
Kick off the month with a serious Fourth of July celebration. Start the day with an invigorating hike up the College ‘M’ or Drinking Horse trails. You’ll get a great view of the whole valley. Both trails are moderate, but if you’re feeling especially motivated, the ‘M’ has a steep route. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of Bozeman’s many restaurants, then perhaps take a little rest before the night gets going.
A long-time favorite, the Music on Main free concert series starts at 8:00 p.m. on Main Street. The street shuts down, food trucks come out and the watering holes offer drink specials. There’s a fun zone for the kids and bleachers if you need a little break!
Festival of the 4th
Denecke Park, Gallatin County Fairgrounds
Thursday, July 4, 2019
Bozeman goes all out when it comes to fireworks. The blasts are big and the show is long. For front row seats, plan to get to the fairgrounds early. However, the show can be seen all over town. Peet’s Hill and the Westlake Park Children’s Memorial Garden are great places to watch!
If you like to light your own fireworks, city regulations are in effect for certain times:
- July 3 and July 5, 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
- July 4, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Fireworks are not allowed on major streets or within 300 feet of hospitals or healthcare facilities. You can find firework stands on Huffine Lane and Highway 85 headed south.
Other July Events
When it comes to mountain getaways, Colorado tends to be top of mind. So what happens when you live in Colorado but want a mountain getaway of your own? You visit Bozeman, Montana! Both states are located in the Rocky Mountains, which means the outdoor adventure is similar, yet the experience is very different.
The main thing you’ll notice is the lack of crowds. Montana is bigger than Colorado, with a fraction of the people, (1 million in Montana to 5.7 million in Colorado.) During the summer months, this means fewer people on the trails, and when ski season rolls around, the lack of lift lines is refreshing. (Not to mention uncrowded runs with plenty of room to spread out!)
You’ll also see the similarities: great fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, climbing, food, and nightlife. The difference is in proximity. In Bozeman, you can drive for 15 minutes and seemingly be in the middle of nowhere. Adventuring in Colorado can require some time in traffic. In Bozeman, you can bag a peak during the day, and be back in time for dinner and a show.
Speaking of dinner, the food is amazing. What used to be a steak and potatoes kind of town now has a wide array of cuisine. Rest assured vegetarians, we’ve got you covered; delicious dishes can be found on most every menu!
The vibrancy of a college town makes the cultural scene hop. Two historic theaters have been renovated, bringing live theater, music and film to the area. These smaller venues are intimate, a real treat when seeing live performances, and our location on I-90 makes it a great tour stop for musicians across the country. Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the Montana State University campus hosts big music names, Broadway theater and family oriented performances.
Getting to Montana is easy; if you prefer to drive, the open road is a great way to clear your head, and if you prefer to fly, you’ll arrive in a quick 1 1/2 hours on either United Airlines or Frontier Airlines. Did someone say, “weekend getaway?”
There are three main driving routes, and depending on your locale, length of trip and time of year, they are all worth exploring. It’s roughly 12 hours, give or take, so an early start will land you here in enough time to settle in and enjoy the evening.
If you’re coming through Utah, take I-70 West to US 191 N. and head to Provo, Utah. From there, stay on I-15 North to I-90 and cruise on into Bozeman! For a more scenic route, cut off at Idaho Falls and head to West Yellowstone. From there, you’ll go through the scenic Gallatin Canyon, where “A River Runs Through It” was filmed.
If you’re coming from the Denver area, hightailing it through Cheyenne to Billings is the most efficient and straightforward route, following I-25 N to I-90 W and down into Bozeman.
However, if it’s summer, and you have a couple of extra days, driving through Cody, Wyoming to Cooke City and then Yellowstone National Park is a memory you won’t forget. From Cody, you’ll drive over the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway to Cooke City. It’s worth overnighting in Cody or Cooke City, (though Cooke City is small so be sure to make reservations!) The next day, meander your way through the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park watching for bear, elk, bison and the elusive wolf.
Ready to start exploring? Download our travel guide and start planning!
Our National Park System is nothing short of phenomenal. These vast swaths of land preserved for their natural wonders are something everyone should experience. Montana has a total of nine National Park service areas, but the two most famous, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, are also the most different.
Glacier’s tall, jutting mountains, massive moving glaciers, and mountain lakes are a vast contrast to Yellowstone’s wide open spaces, big rivers, simmering hot pots and shooting geysers.
Yet, the two can’t be compared; each has its own beauty and intrigue.
Summer kicks off with music, film, food and serious adventure. One of the beautiful things about Bozeman is its proximity to the mountains, lakes, and rivers. We’re not kidding when we say you can fit both recreation and culture into the same day! We suggest building these great events into your itinerary, you’ll love the variety of entertainment in this vibrant college town.
We love our winters in Bozeman, but once the ski hills close and the snow starts to melt, spring fever sets in and we’re off chasing new activities and adventures. Part of Bozeman’s allure is the combination of outdoor recreation coupled with a cultured and vibrant community. It’s easy to be out in nature for the day and back in time for dinner and a live show! We’ve outlined a few of our favorite local activities, complete with ideas the whole family can enjoy.
One of the highlights of visiting Yellowstone National Park is watching the wildlife move about in their natural setting. Spring is especially magical with newborns playing alongside their moms, giddy with new life. The park is less crowded in the spring, which makes it a nice time to leisurely make your way through. You’ll definitely see the more common animals such as bison and elk; but if you’re diligent, (and an early riser) you have a good chance of seeing bear, moose and even the elusive wolf. Stop at the local visitor center to find out where the most recent activity is taking place.
May is lovely in Bozeman. Spring colors start to pop (yes, it’s a little later in these parts), and people are ready to get out and about after a cozy winter. Trail runs, craft brews, live music and engaging theater are all part of the transition to summer. So pick your passions, mark your calendar and get ready to enjoy the fun!
There’s nothing like a good long soak in a natural hot springs. While it’s unquestionably relaxing, the benefits go beyond simply feeling good, the minerals contained in the water have many healing properties. Calcium and sodium bicarbonate boost circulation, and silica softens dry and rough skin. The heat can also temporarily block pain receptors and offer some relief from pain. Add in a cold plunge, and you’ve increased the health benefits even more. The cold plunge is a great exercise for blood vessels, nourishing your skin and organs with extra oxygen. The hot and cold plunge together is also a great stress reliever; when the body temperature rises then cools, it’s easier to relax and get a deeper sleep.
Intrigued? We have the perfect spot to start soaking it all up.