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Big Sky Motorcycle Routes



Motorcyclist on MT Highway -photo by Donnie SextonOpen Road, Open Mind

When you close your eyes at night do you see a ribbon of road stretching off into a seamless landscape of unknown? Do you see yourself having that road all to yourself? Do you see a bar at the end with cold beer, a good jukebox and friends you just haven’t met yet? Do you see this stretching on for not just one day but as many as you’d like? Well, then, what you see when you close your eyes sounds a lot like Montana’s High Plains.

 

T-REX TREK

The Type Rider Review & Trip Planner

Southeast Montana Rides

Get local advice and tips from other riders in the southeast corner of Montana on how you can explore more of this area. You'll also find maps, rental info and suggested open road routes www.thetyperider.com

Begin this 3 day tour (336 miles) at Glasgow, or reverse the order and start at Malta, if you prefer.

DAY ONE: Visit the Fort Peck Interpretive Center (17 miles from Glasgow), located on the beautiful Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam. Their dinosaur exhibits include the famous Peck’s Rex, which was found in the Hell Creek Formation. Two of the largest aquariums in Montana showcase the native and game species of Fort Peck Lake and the Missouri River and admission is free. Try a walk under the Missouri River during a tour of the Fort Peck Dam Powerhouse. Tours are available hourly on request from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for no charge. Experience a little culture at the Fort Peck Summer Theatre, a historic building with shows each weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Adults $15, Children $10. After the show, spend an evening in Glasgow or stay at the Historic Fort Peck Hotel (open seasonally). Built in the 1930s, it is filled with history and friendly faces.

DAY TWO: From Glasgow or Fort Peck, travel south on Hwy 24. The area east of the highway near mile marker 30 is where Peck’s Rex was found. When you reach Hwy 200, there is a rest stop. Proceed left on Hwy 200 to Jordan, where the Garfield County Museum spotlights the exciting dinosaur discoveries in the nearby Hell Creek fossil beds. Continue on Highway 200 to Grass Range; the rest area near Mosby offers interpretive signage of this area on the Musselshell River. Continue West on Highway 200 until you come to Grass Range and then turn North on Highway 191. You will be traveling through the Missouri River Breaks and Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The small town of Zortman, just a few miles off Highway 191, is a historic mining town. Tour the original jail, pan for gold, or go hiking in the Little Rockies! Get more information at the Zortman Motel. Food and drinks can be found at the local café or store. Overnight in Malta in any one of their welcoming accommodations.

DAY THREE: Malta is home to 2 premier sites on the Montana Dinosaur Trail. The Dinosaur Field Station and the Phillips County Museum both feature real fossil discoveries from the nearby Judith River Formation of the late cretaceous period 77 million years ago.

Malta Chamber | 406.654.1776
Glasgow Chamber | 406-228-2222
Learn more at missouririver.visitmt.com

C.M. RUSSELL RIDE

Take US 87 north of Great Falls to historic Fort Benton. Drive into Fort Benton, once the world’s most inland port where steamships carried supplies up the Missouri River. There is fine dining at the Union Grille in the Grand Union Hotel and great home cooking at Bob’s Riverfront Café and the Banque Club. For trivia’s sake, the former bank vault is the cooler at the Banque Club. Cross the mighty Missouri River on MT 80, drive past Geraldine and Square Butte, then take MT 81 at the junction and ride to Lewistown. Lewistown is a community of about 7,000 people nestled between several island mountain ranges in the geographic center of Montana. Ride US 87 from Lewistown to Great Falls (about 100 miles). This route is designated the C. M. Russell Trail. You’ll pass many scenes from Russell paintings still visible today. There’s a great side loop, about 25 miles and all paved from Hobson to Windham. In the middle of this loop is Utica and the Oxen Yoke Bar. The “Ox” serves a half pound burger and more fries in a basket than anyone should eat! Request a free copy of the C. M. Russell Auto Tour booklet that gives history of the area and great information about the western artist’s paintings.

MOUNTAINS TO WIND TOWERS

Ride about 25 miles east from Great Falls on US 87 past Belt, turn south onto US 89 at Armington Junction rest area. The next 71 mile stretch is dubbed the Kings Hill Scenic Byway. You’ll ride through the charming mountain towns of Monarch and Neihart, cross Kings Hill Pass, and then into White Sulphur Springs. There are hot springs here and the water is used at the Spa Hot Springs Motel to heat one large outdoor pool and two smaller pools. You don’t need to be a motel guest to soak, just pay your $4.50 and enjoy the thermal waters. If you forgot your swimming suit, you can even rent one! This town features a unique Castle Museum built as a home by an early-day resident. After you’ve enjoyed White Sulphur Springs, ride about 3 miles back to the junction of US 89 and 12. Ride east on US 12 for 30 miles and take the turn to Martinsdale. In one mile, you will see the Bair Museum, open for tours during the summer. Charles Bair was a sheep rancher in this area and his daughters left the home and it’s furnishings for the public to enjoy. The Bair ladies traveled abroad extensively and the house grew larger to accommodate their collections. If you ride one more mile to the town of Martinsdale, the Crazy Mountain Inn there has been voted the best pie stop in Montana! Best advice, order the sour cream lemon. Backtrack to US 12 and then ride another 25 miles to Harlowton. At the junction for Harlowton turn north on US 191 past 90 wind towers to Judith Gap. The Judith Gap Merc is known world-wide for their milkshakes and unique “tractor seat” counter stools. Ride on to Eddie’s Corner at the junction of 191 and US 87. Turn west on US 87 and ride back to Great Falls. Foodies should note that great steaks can be found at the Black Bull in Hobson, to-die-for cinnamon rolls at the Byway Café in Stanford and built-to-order sandwiches with great ales and porters at the Belt Creek Pub.

DAWN TO DUSK RIDES

Try any one of these single day trips:

FRONTIER FORTS & TRADING POST LOOP | 103 Miles
This tour is a “Must Do” for history buffs. Start your travels from Culbertson to Sidney on MT 16, Sidney to Fort Union on MT 200, then to Hwy 2 and back to Culbertson.

    THINGS TO SEE/DO:
  • Fort Union Trading Post on the Banks of the Missouri (built in 1829)
  • Fort Buford - Where Sitting Bull surrendered
  • Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone River
  • Fairview Lift Bridge - 1913 vintage. At one time, this bridge was used for both cars and trains. Now, it is a walking trail across the Yellowstone River.
    TIPS:
  • Gas Up. It may be 50 miles between gas stations.
  • Also be prepared for quickly changing weather in Big Sky Country.
  • Campgrounds and Motels are available.
  • For more info, call 1.800.653.1319, email 2mtmrc@nemontel.net or log onto missouririver.visitmt.com
JUST RIDE | 203 Miles
From Glasgow, go north on Hwy 24 to Opheim, take highway 248 to Scobey (you’ll be riding just 10 miles south of the Canadian border) then Hwy 13 south to Wolf Point, and West on Hwy 2 back to Glasgow. All 3 of these towns have gas, food, drinks, and friendly people. Heck, you could meet some Canadians.
THINGS TO SEE/DO:
  • In Scobey walk the boardwalks of a life-size old west Montana town. The pioneer town contains more than 50 buildings from the Homestead Era.

JUST RIDE MORE | 345 Miles
From Glasgow, go north on Hwy 24 to Opheim, take Highway 248 to Scobey, then Highway 5 to Plentywood, Highway 16 south to Culbertson, and ride Hwy 2 back to Glasgow. There is food, lodging, gas in all of the towns mentioned above with about 50 miles in between each. Lots of open space…. so let ‘er roll.