Montana Vacation Planning: Awesome Day Trips Near Bozeman

Do you have a Montana vacation bucket list?

It's never too late to make one!

No matter the season, there's no shortage of day trips within a two hour drive of Bozeman.

With the warmer weather here to stay (fingers crossed!), we wanted to show you some of our favorite hikes, hot springs and ghost towns! Get the family gathered up and go on a quick Montana staycation! 

 

1. Drive the Beartooth Highway 

Beartooth Highway

Image Courtesy of Jewad Alnabi/Unsplash

Driving the Beartooth Highway, the winding, mountainous road which connects Cooke City to Red Lodge, is a classic summer pilgrimage in the Greater Yellowstone. When the road is finally passable in June, this 60+ mile stretch of Highway 212 is an adventure in itself. Be sure to grab a trail map and enjoy some of the best hiking right off the road!

The Beartooth Pass tops out at 10,947 feet, making this one of the highest paved roads in the country!

2. Explore Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park 

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park in Montana

Image Courtesy of visitmt.com

Although the first Montana State Park wasn't discovered by Lewis and Clark, the early explorers did pass through the surrounding Big Sky Country during their search for the northwest passage. 

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is Montana's first and best-known state park featuring one of the most decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest. Naturally air conditioned, these spectacular caves lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites are electrically lighted and safe to visit. Above ground, over 10 miles of glorious hiking and mountain biking trails offer a rugged tour of the surrounding landscape. 

Be sure to visit the concessions and gift shop managed by Montana Gift Corral!


3. Hike Fairy Lake

Fairy Lake in Montana by Zach Altman Media

 Image Courtesy of Zach Altman

Fairy Lake in the Bridger Mountains is a local favorite, hands-down. Located 15 miles off the scenic Bridger Canyon Road, this alpine lake has stunning views of Sacajawea Peak, Hardscrabble Peak and even the Crazy Mountains.

Hike up some peaks, hike the short loop trail around the lake, and have a picnic! With Fairy Lake Campground nearby, this spot is a great weekend destination. 

4. Soak up the Evening at Norris Hot Springs

Sunset at Norris Hot Springs

Norris Hot Springs hosts musical acts every weekend. Image Courtesy of visitmt.com

If you're looking for a low-key, bare bones hot spring with good music and locally-sourced food, Norris Hot Springs is for you. Located in the stunning Madison River Valley, Norris is an all-natural, additive-free hot spring (don't worry, the timber pool is drained and cleaned nightly). 

Norris is a great place to wind down after a hike in nearby Bear Trap Canyon while watching some great local musicians perform live in 'the dome.'

 

5. Explore a Living Ghost Town

Historic Virginia City Montana

 Downtown Virginia City, Montana. Image Courtesy of virginiacity.com

The very much alive ghost town, Virginia City, Montana, is frozen in time. It is a remarkably well preserved old west Victorian gold mining town just 20 miles west of Yellowstone National Park (90 miles by road).

See a live show at the Opera House, grab some old-fashioned ice cream or go fishing'! 

 

 

By Zach Altman 

 

Montana Gift Corral Blog

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