7 Places in Montana You Should Visit this Summer

March 7, 2017

Go Do Something

We live in a beautiful state.  But many people, some who have lived here their entire lives, have yet to venture out and see what our state has to offer!  Now is the time to plan.  Here are 7 places to go see, and they can all be done in a day.

Smith Mine Disaster Near Belfry

Back in the early 1900’s coal mining was big business.  Just outside of Red Lodge, the Smith Mine was a productive coal mine that supplied fuel and provided jobs for those in the area.  A fateful February day in 1943 ended in tragedy.  A blast ripped through the mine, and out of 77 miners working that day, only 3 survived. 66 miles from Billings.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

In 1876 George A. Custer’s 7th Cavalry fought in one of the most famous battles against the Native Americans with the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  The cavalry faced off with the Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors.  The result was that Custer’s forces were defeated, but the war wasn’t over.  In the end, we can safely say that there are no winners in war. 67 miles from Billings.

Photo Credits: City-Data.com

The Big Ice Cave

Billings is uniquely located in Montana to enjoy the best of many different regions.  South of town lay the Pryor Mountains.  Known for their folklore about little people and hordes of treasure, the mountains actually have an even bigger natural treasure.  They are made up of Madison formation limestone, which means cave systems have cut their way through them.  Some of these caves remain iced over, even through the heat of the summer. 67 miles from Billings.

photo credits: http://formontana.net/icecave.html

Devil’s Canyon Overlook

Between the Pryor Mountains and the Bighorn Mountains runs the Bighorn River.  Flowing north from Wyoming, the river has carved an enormous canyon between the two mountains, and is blocked up at Forth Smith by the Yellowtail Dam.  The result is a huge reservoir that provides not only boating and fishing, but also some amazing views.  Devil’s Creek, a tributary to the Bighorn River, flows from Devil’s Canyon and is a sight to behold. 112 miles from Billings.

Lewis & Clark Caverns

We know the names, but have you seen the caves that this exploring duo discovered?  Just past Three Forks is a cave system the beauty of which rivals Carlsbad in New Mexico.  Carlsbad Caverns are much larger, but the formations in the Lewis & Clark Caverns are much prettier, and they’re still growing.  There’s a campground nearby with cabins you can rent for those that want to make an extended trip of it. 195 miles from Billings.

Giant Springs State Park and the Roe River

The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the US.  But Montana has another claim to fame.  Outside of Great Falls is Giant Springs State Park.  Within this park is a little river named the Roe River.  Why does that matter?  Because the Roe River is the shortest river in the world, flowing for a mere 200 feet from the springs to the Missouri.  219 miles from Billings.

By Montanabw – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

Ok, so this one isn’t actually in Montana.  But it loops you back to Montana.  Many of us have driven the Beartooth Pass, but many haven’t gone up the back way.  Just outside of Cody, Wyoming, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive that at one point crosses the Dead Indian Gorge a bridge over 300 feet off the canyon floor.  You connect to the Beartooth Highway where you can loop back to Red Lodge and return home.  250 miles for the whole loop from Billings.

 

You now have 7 weekend trips that you can take this summer.  Each will take you on an adventure through Montana (and parts of Wyoming) that will hopefully spur more adventures around our state.  For directions to any of these locations, simply hop onto Google Maps and type the name; they’re all listed and easy to find (the Big Ice Cave may give you a little trouble, but you’ll make it).


Profile photo of scott

by scott
Scott is a writer, outdoor enthusiast, beer snob, and woodworker. When he is not out exploring all of the wonders around Billings, he loves to sit down for a frosty brew at one of the many great breweries we have available to us. You can read about most of his adventures, and many of the fine brews he has sipped right here; or contact him through his website if you need some adventure tips.


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