Scenic Areas: National Parks, Mountains, Rivers, Lakes

Glacier National Park – 2 ½ hours from campground. A good day trip.
www.nps.gov/glac
Enter Glacier National Park and you are stepping into one of the most pristine natural Glacier National Parksettings left in North America–perhaps in the world. Protected for most of this century, the park still looks much as it has looked since the glaciers began receding thousands of years ago. Like an enchanted highway in a fairy tale, the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road winds its way up and up, past forests and lakes, until you are driving among the peaks themselves. An extraordinary feat of engineering listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the highway offers to everyone what was once available only to the hardiest of hikers. From Lake McDonald on the west to St. Mary on the east, visitors travel a route that leaves no one unmoved by its majesty and beauty.

Glacier National Park
Take a Ride on a Red Bus
www.glacierparkinc.comRide the Red Bus in Glacier
Sit back and enjoy the Glacier National Park’s spectacular scenery in a historic Red Bus. On clear days, the canvas roofs are rolled back and transformed into convertible buses. Glacier Park Inc. also offers tours throughout the park.

Wild Goose Island St Mary LakeSt. Mary Lake in all its splendor!
This sparkling jewel in Glacier’s Crown is perfect for taking an early morning or sunset cruise. Tours depart from the Rising Sun boat dock. The photo opportunities are endless as they are on all of the many other lakes and vistas in Glacier National Park. This picture is Wild Goose Island on St. Mary Lake at Sunset.

 

National Bison RangeNational Bison Range
www.fws.gov/bisonrange/index.htm
Enjoy a drive northwest of Missoula and take in the sights of the majestic Mission Mountains. You can visit the National Bison Range which protects a herd of 300-500 buffalo on approximately 19,000 acres of grassland and forest. You might see whitetail and mule deer, pronghorns, elk, bighorn sheep, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a Rocky Mountain goat. Keep an eye out for other wildlife such as beaver, mink, weasel, muskrat, bobcats, coyotes and black bears. If you’re a bird-watcher, bring your binoculars and view some ring-necked pheasants, gray partridges and grouse.

The Mission Mountains near Kicking Horse Reservoir
The Mission Mountains

Flathead Lake – Just a little more than an hour north of Missoula
Flathead Lake is the perfect day drive from Missoula. Pristine water and breathtaking Flathead Lakeviews in every direction you look around this spectacular scenic lake. Fishing, swimming and all manner of water sports are enjoyed upon its 200 square miles of surface. Several state parks and lake shore communities have boat launches and marinas on the Lake. Two scenic highways parallel the lake, on the west side, US Highway 93, and Route 35 on the east. As you drive the roads that hug Flathead Lake’s shoreline, it’s hard to believe man made dams didn’t create it. Rather, the lake is a fortuitous product of the activity of ice-age glaciers.

Communities around Flathead Lake are diverse and charming. There’s always something to do including festivals, arts, summer concerts and farmers markets.

Flathead Lake Near PolsonPolson a town located at the south end of Flathead Lake on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Polson is a quaint lakeside community and the trading center for one of the most fertile farming areas in Montana. Polson a prime cherry growing region is home to dozens of orchards, and they celebrate with an annual Cherry Festival in July. The City of Bigfork is located on the northeast corner of Flathead Lake. Bigfork is a picturesque, artsy little community where you will find many splendid local crafts. The Bigfork Festival of the Arts is a popular affair held the first weekend in August.