Road Trip from Yellowstone to Glacier

Montana is home to two spectacular national parks, each completely different, and both well worth seeing. Plus, a road trip from Yellowstone to Glacier takes you through some of Montana’s most interesting towns. Don’t rush it, there’s a lot to see and do, take your time, and explore Montana’s rich culture.


First stop, Missouri Headwaters State Park. The Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers converge at this state park to form the Missouri River. It’s also a camping spot of Lewis and Clark, and the area where Sacajawea was reunited with her brother. Bring a picnic and enjoy lunch on the banks of the river.


Headed west, you’ll want to stop in Butte for the night. Uptown Butte is unlike any other town in Montana. What was once the richest hill on earth, Butte’s history runs deep. Old Butte Historical Adventures offers three different walking tours. Or, stop by the World Museum of Mining where you can take a tour of the Orphan Girl mine, one of the few exposed veins in North America that is open to the public.


Missoula, Montana


After Butte, you could stop and tour the Old Montana Prison and Auto Museum Complex in Deer Lodge, before heading on to Missoula. If you’re a music fan, Missoula is a great place to see a show. Be sure to check the schedules at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater, The Top Hat, or The Wilma – their weekly shows range from regional favorites to national headliners. Missoula is also great for shopping and dining, and the downtown is full of locally owned shops with interesting goods.


From Missoula, you’ll head north to Flathead Lake, the second largest lake in Montana at 126,100 acres. Here, you could choose to stay in Polson or Big Fork. You can take a private boat tour, or simply enjoy the views from shore. Venture a bit farther, and you’ll pass through Kalispell on your way to Whitefish, one of the cutest towns in Montana and home to Whitefish Mountain Resort, and Whitefish Theatre Company.


Flathead Lake, Montana


Glacier National Park is a short 26 miles from Whitefish, so you can opt to stay there and day trip. However, lodging in Glacier is historic and beautiful, it’s a real treat to stay in the Park. Glacier is massive, with over 700 miles of trails, and a beautiful mix of towering peaks and crystal-clear lakes. Don’t miss the iconic Going to the Sun Road, which is best viewed from the historic Red Bus Tours. For a more mellow tour, try a narrated boat tour on the historic wooden boats.


Keep in mind, in 2023, Glacier implemented a reservation system to help manage traffic. You’ll need a park pass, and a vehicle registration, so be sure to book as early as possible!


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