Montana Idaho Road Trip

  • Post last modified:May 31, 2022

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Montana holds the Lower 48 record for the most dramatic temperature change to occur over a 24-hour period. On January 15, 1972, in Loma, the temperature rose from -54˚F to 49˚F. Remarkably, the -54 F is not the all-time record low. But remember: first, Montana is north, and second, much of western Montana is in the Rocky Mountains. The state has a dozen mountains reaching over 11,000 feet (3353 meters). However, this post is about more than Montana weather and mountain peaks! I’m talkin’ here! It’s about 10 days of road tripping in the northwestern part of the US. All things considered, I hope you enjoy this Montana Idaho Road Trip. (See the table of contents below the picture.)

Glacier National Park and Montana Mountains Montana Idaho Road Trip
Hidden Lake Overlook

Western Montana

Interesting Facts

Famous People
  • Dana Garvey – Comedian – Missoula
  • Gary Cooper – Actor – Helena
  • Evel Knieval – Daredevil motorcyclist – Butte
  • David Lynch – Filmmaker – Missoula
  • Jeannette Rankin – First woman elected to US Congress – Missoula
  • Brad Bird – Actor – Kalispell
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Actor – Missoula
Other facts
  • Out of 56 counties in Montana, 46 are considered frontier counties meaning there are less than 10 people per square mile
  • Montana has more bookstores per capita than any other state
  • Montana is home to the largest grizzly bear population in the Lower 48
  • There are more cattle in Montana than people
  • No state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.
  • Montana is the 4th largest state by land area and 44th largest by population. Montana has the third lowest population density with 7 people per square mile, just ahead of Wyoming with 6 and way ahead of Alaska with 1 person per square mile!

By the way, if you are planning to go to Montana, especially Glacier National Park, you really need to stay hydrated for all that hiking! (Full disclosure: I do earn a commission if you purchase something from here, at not additional cost to you.)

Geography

Western Montana Weather
  • The coldest temperature recorded in the Lower 48 is -70 F (-57 C) in Rogers Pass on January 20th, 1954 near Missoula, (For those from other countries, the Lower 48 means the states on the North American continent south of Alaska. Hawaii is the 50th state and is officially the Hawaiian Islands about 2500 miles [4000 Kilometers] from the continental US west coast. Those two states do not physically touch any other state.)
  • The warmest temperature recorded in Montana is in Glendive but that is in the east. That temperature is 117 F (47 C). Temperatures in western Montana reach over 100 F (38 C) but are of short duration. For example average summer highs in Kalispell (near Glacier National Park) are 82 F (28 C)
  • Humidity in western Montana is lower than eastern Montana
  • Here is a link to climate information in Kalispell. Click on the link if you really want to know about the year around weather including temperature, rainfall, snowfall, sunrise and sunset.
Terrain and other geographical facts

Western Montana is dominated by the Rocky Mountains. “The Rockies” as they are known in the vernacular, stretch from northern British Columbia in the north to northern New Mexico in the south. The mountain range includes the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. US states include Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Here is a link to information about the the Rockies.

The Rockies make up much of western Montana and Northern Idaho. At the end of the last Ice Age, known as the Pleistocene Epoch, erosion occurred as the glaciers melted, which in turn created many U-shaped valleys. Lakes like Flathead Lake in western Montana are also the result of this Ice Age. At the beginning of the Ice Age, the earth’s plates came together to push up the land into rocky peaks and valleys. When the French fur traders came to this area in the 1700s, one of the native tribes called the mountains “the Rockies” in their native language and that became the name of this huge mountain range.

More Montana Mountains Background

Further background, the Rocky Mountains include approximately 100 separate ranges, which are generally considered in four groupings: The Canadian Rockies and Northern Rockies of Montana and northeastern Idaho. The Rockies of Wyoming, Utah, and southeastern Idaho. and the Colorado Rockies, although they extend in northern New Mexico. Lastly, the Four Corners Plateau is in the region where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico join. By the way, that’s the only place in the US where 4 states join. (Wondering if there is a place in the world where 4 countries come together? I asked this question on Facebook. My first cousin answered it! Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in sub-Saharan Africa have the only International Quadripoint.)

These four subdivisions differ from one another in terms of geology (origin, ages, and kinds of rocks) and geography (land-forms, drainage, and soils). Nonetheless, they share the physical attributes of high elevations (many peaks higher than 13,000 feet [4,000 meters]), great local relief (typically 5,000 to 7,000 feet [1525 meters to 2135 meters]) in the vertical difference between the base and summit of ranges). They also share shallow soils, great mineral wealth, spectacular scenery from past glaciation and volcanic activity, as well as similar trends in climate, economy, and early exploration.

Western Montana Definitions

The definition of Western Montana varies by source. Initially, the definition included only the area west of the continental divide. Here is the link to a Western Montana map with that definition. Over time, the definition has broadened (in some official documents and in the vernacular) to include about six counties in the mountainous area on the east side of the divide. In any case, all of the Montana information in the individual posts (below) is in the original definition of western Montana.

History

Native Americans

Of course, Native American tribes were the first recorded inhabitants of Montana. Originally there were nine tribes in the area that is now Montana. Originally, the tribes were: Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Salish, Sioux, Shoshoni. Over time, some tribes consolidated and others moved or were driven out by the Federal government. (That’s another story and I won’t get into it until I feel like being controversial!)

Montana history Montana Mountains
Obtained from: Native American Tribes of Montana
Seven Tribes in Montana Today

Today, there are seven tribes in Montana. These tribes base themselves on seven reservations which are:
1. Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation, Browning Montana
2. Chippewa (Ojibwa) Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Box Elder Montana
3. Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Pablo Montana
4. Crow Tribe of the Crow Reservation, Big Horn County Montana
5. Fort Belknap Tribes of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Harlem Montana
6. Fort Peck Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, Poplar Montana
7. Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Lame Deer Montana
The state of Montana also recognizes the Little Shell Chippewa (Ojibwa)Tribe but they don’t have a defined reservation. See map of Montana reservations below.

Montana reservations
Obtained from: Montana Casinos
European Influence and Settlement

In spite of folklore, the French fur traders were not the first Europeans to venture into the area. Although the Lewis and Clark expedition is the most well-known, others came before them. In 1793 Alexander Mackenzie became the first Euro-American to reach the Pacific coast by the overland route via the Rocky Mountains. In 1798, another explorer, David Thompson, created a detailed map of the Missouri River. His trip took him to the Continental Divide. (By the way, he’s no relation to the basketball player of the same name in the 1970s and 1980s!)

Louisiana Purchase

David Thompson’s book enamored President Thomas Jefferson and his assistant Meriwether Lewis. Jefferson wanted to know more about the territory he purchased from France. (For those in other countries, the US purchased much of the center of the US from France in 1803.) Actually, the purchase only included New Orleans and much of the state of Louisiana and the “rights to acquire” the remainder through treaties and conquests. (By the way, if you are from the UK, you can’t “put us down” for colonization!) Below is a map of the area acquired by the purchase. By the way, France and Spain also owned parts of what is now the United States. European ownership ended in the mid 1800s when a treaty between the UK and the US defined the border between the US and Canada.

Western Montana
Obtained from: US Government web site

After the purchase and Jefferson’s need to know more about just what he did purchase, he created a plan to explore and document the new territory. His assistant, Meriwether Lewis, an Army Captain, recruited Lieutenant William Clark. Their trip is widely known as the Lewis and Clark expedition. Their assignment; explore and map the area around the Missouri River, make diplomatic contacts with many of the Indian tribes, expand the American fur trade throughout the area, and locate the hypothetical Northwest Passage (by water). Other than not finding the Northwest Passage, their trip was very successful. Here is a link to a more complete account of their journey.

Off Topic Montana Idaho Road Trip!

I’m going way off base here regarding western Montana but wanted to add an interesting sideline. A Shoshoni woman, Sakakawea, from North Dakota, accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition. She joined them at Fort Mandan, North Dakota for the remainder of the trip. The expedition had spent the winter at Fort Mandan. (By the way, here is a link to a post from The Driveby Tourist touching on the Lewis and Clark expedition while traveling the Great River Road in 2017.)

Interestingly, her name more commonly is Sacagawea, but North Dakota officially named her Sakakawea in its history and recognition of her accomplishments. She and her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, a French fur trader acted as guides and interpreters along the way. She became well known in American history. Her likeness is on a silver dollar initially produced in 2000. This silver dollar, along with others, lacked popular acceptance and was not circulated regularly. Why can’t we be like Canada and have “loonies and twonies”!

Statehood

Now, let’s get back on the subject. Montana became Montana Territory in 1864. From the Louisiana Purchase, Montana fell under 7 different governing structures. I won’t go into all the details, but you can read about them here at this link if you want that much detail. Montana became the 41st state admitted to the US on November 8th, 1889.

Continuing on with Montana, there are many interesting facts about the state. The links above will give you much of that history. However, Glacier National Park is the only National Park fully in the state. Yellowstone is also partially in Montana and Idaho but most of it is in Wyoming. Yellowstone became the first National Park in 1872. It was the only National Park until Sequoia (in California) became a park in 1890. Glacier National Park “came to life” in 1910 and was the 8th National Park. (There are now 61 US National Parks.)

Northern Idaho

Interesting Facts

Famous People
  • Lillian Disney – wife of Walt Disney – Spalding
  • Sarah Palin – Former Governor of Alaska and former Vice Presidential Candidate – Sandpoint
  • George Kennedy – Academy Award winning actor – Boise
  • Picabo Street – Olympic Champion skier – Triump (No, the name is NOT Trump!)
  • Mark Fuhrman – Los Angeles detective known for his role in the O J Simpson trial – Sandpoint
  • Jerry Kramer – Green Bay Packers right guard – Sandpoint
  • Ben Stein – lawyer, writer, political commentator and actor – Sandpoint
  • Brock Osweiler – NFL quarterback – Coeur d’Alene
  • Gregory “Pappy” Boyington – World War II flying ace – Coeur d’Alene
Other Facts
  • Idaho grows nearly one/third of America’s potatoes
  • It is referred to as the Gem State. Seventy two types of precious stones are found here
  • The Idaho State Capital in Boise is the only state capital warmed by a renewable energy source – geothermal water form 3,000 feet (914 meters) underground
  • It might sound a little strange, but it is against the law for a man to give his beloved a box of sweets that weighs more than 50 pounds.
  • The Idaho Panhandle approximate population is 331,000 while the state population is 1.74 million . The Panhandle comprises over one quarter of the state land and less than 20% of the population.
  • Idaho has 44 counties, 16 of which are considered frontier counties with less than 10 people per square mile.

Geography

Northern Idaho Weather

Let’s talk about Coeur d’Alene weather. I know I said Northern Idaho, but since we were in Coeur d’Alene, I’ll stick with that.

  • The lowest temperature ever recorded was in January – 30 F (-34 C)
  • The highest recorded temperature was in August – 109 F (43 C)
  • Average high and low in Coeur d’Alene in January – 35 F (1.5 C) – 25.2 F (-4 C)
  • Average high and low in Coeur d’Alene in August – 82.5 F (28.1 C) – 55.5 F (13.1 C)
  • Annual precipitation – 27 Inches (69 Centimeters)
  • Annual Snowfall – 42 inches (107 Centimeters)
  • Here is a link to more climate information
Terrain and other geographical facts

Much of Northern Idaho is very similar to western Montana. As you go toward Washington state to the west, the elevation lowers and becomes less mountainous. The elevation of Coeur d’Alene is 2,188 feet (660 meters). By comparison, Spokane Washington is 1,843 feet (562 meters). That’s 34 miles west (55 Kilometers). Again, very similar to western Montana. I’ll just say it’s the Rocky Mountains and elevation declines toward the west. It’s just smaller mountains or large hills! By the way, the highest peak in Idaho is Mt. Borah in east-central Idaho near Montana at 12,662 feet (3,859 meters).

Coeur d'Alene Idaho
Obtained from: http://yourfreetemplates.com
(It’s the only one I could find that is in the public domain!)

History

Native Americans

Native American tribes were the first recorded inhabitants of Idaho. Originally there were seven tribes in the area that is now Idaho. The tribes in the Panhandle include Kootenai, Kalispell and Salish, Coeur d’Alene, Palouse, and Nez Perce. While the Nez Perce cross the line between the Panhandle and the rest of Idaho, the Paiute and the Shoshone/Bannock are in the southern part of the state. Two of the tribes continue from Montana. The Kootenai, and the Kalispel and Salish, continue across the state boundary. Of course, state boundaries didn’t exist in past history!

Northern Idaho
Four Tribes in Idaho today

Today there are four tribes in Idaho, two of which are in the Panhandle. They are:
1. Coeur d’Alene Tribe – Plummer Idaho (Panhandle)
2. Kootenai Tribe of Idaho – Bonners Ferry Idaho (Panhandle)
3. Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho – Lapwai ID
4. Shoshone-Bannonck Tribe – Fort Hall ID

Pre-statehood

Northern Idaho history is very much like western Montana. Given the information above, differences will be covered here. Of course, Lewis and Clark also crossed Idaho. Fur trading also played a role in the early development. Due to the distance away from transportation to the eastern US and to Europe, fur trading didn’t develop as it did further east.

From the 1840s through the 1860s, many settlers traveled through here on the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush travel route but very few people settled in Idaho. However, missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, entered Idaho as early as 1809. Cataldo Mission, the oldest standing building in Idaho was built in 1850-53. The building is in the town of Cataldo along I-90 east of Coeur d’Alene.)

Gold was discovered at Pierce in 1860 which led to the first of several gold rushes.

Governing units and statehood

Prior to 1853, much of Idaho was part of Oregon Country, the border of which was long disputed and finally settled in 1846 by treaty with the UK. The northern boundary of the US became the 49th parallel from the Pacific Ocean to the state of Minnesota. In 1853, US Congress assigned northern Idaho to the new Washington Territory and southern Idaho to Oregon Territory.

When Oregon was admitted as a state in 1859, southern Idaho became part of Washington Territory as well. In 1863 Idaho Territory was established including the areas that today include Montana and most of Wyoming. Montana and Wyoming had been part of Dakota Territory. The following year, Montana was removed from Idaho Territory. Following additional minor changes, Idaho became a state in 1890 with the boundaries established as they remain today. In 1868, Wyoming became a Territory as well, removing it from Idaho territory.

Parks to visit on Montana Idaho Road Trip

Montana State Parks in Montana Mountains

Montana has 55 state parks. Many of them are in the west. I’m highlighting a few in the Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake area.

Lone Pine State Park features dramatic views of the Flathead Valley on overlooks and along its trails. Some activities here include hiking, mountain biking, nature viewing and photography, cross country skiing, and horseback riding. Here’s a link to the park website.

Flathead Lake Parks – Montana

West Shore State Park – Glacially carved rock outcrops rise from Flathead Lake to provide spectacular views of the Swan and Mission Mountains. Activities here include wildlife viewing, bird watching, camping, and water skiing. Here’s a link to the park website.

Wild Horse Island State Park is a landmark rich with history since the Salish-Kootenai Indians used the island to pasture horses. The island is one of the largest islands in the northwestern United States. The park is only accessible by boat and still has some wild horses from the days when the Indians kept horses there. Wildlife includes bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles and falcons. Here’s a link to the park website.
Finley Point / Flathead Lake State Park is located on the southern end of Flathead Lake. Activities here include many family activities such as swimming, camping, picnicking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and RV Camping. Here’s a link to the park website.

Idaho State Parks

Idaho’s Panhandle is home to three beautiful state parks. As stated below, Idaho has 21 state parks. I’ve highlighted three that are great examples of scenic Northern Idaho.

Heyburn State Park

Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest. Within the park, towering Ponderosa pine give way to flower-filled meadows and placid waters. The park contains serene cottages, cabins, and campsites. The park came into being in 1908. Many buildings owe their existence to the Civilian Conservation Corps who built them in the 1930s. Here’s a link to the park web site.

Farragut State Park

Farragut State Park is located on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. The park began life as a US Navy training center during World War II. Now, it provides camping opportunities with over 200 individual campsites and 7 group campsites. Interestingly, the Museum at the Brig highlights this park. (A brig is a jail in Navy terms. It was used to house “unruly” seaman during training.) Beginning in 1945, German POW’s were housed here.

However, it’s now a state park with all the activities one would expect on a park located on a lake. There are over 40 miles of trail for hiking and biking. Farragut has five 18 hole disc golf courses. Picnicking sites are available in a Day Use area. Swimming in the lake on a beach that warms enough to swim in the summer. And there are over 20 miles of horse trails on the north side of the park. The south end of the park has a boat launch for Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho. (And based on my comments, you probably thought Coeur d’Alene Lake was the largest!) Here is a link to the park web site.

Round Lake State Park

Round Lake State Park is a smaller park. There are 16 serviced campsites and a total of 35. Some of the sites are RV-ready with trailers limited to 24 feet (7.3 meters). Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and wildlife, and wildflower viewing. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice fishing, and ice skating. By the way, those of you from warm climates need to know that “ice fishing” is not fishing for ice! Here is a link to the park web site.

More on Idaho State Parks

Idaho has 21 state parks (link here). In addition to the state parks, there are National Forests, National Historic Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. Using the link above will give you information on all of them, plus let you narrow your search by area of the state. (Yellowstone National Park’s great expanse overlaps briefly into eastern Idaho, although most of the park is in Wyoming.)

Trails

Five Western Montana Hiking Trails

  • David Creek Trail – The trail is a “get away from it all” experience. It’s a great place to camp for a couple of nights in the East Pioneers Recommended Wilderness Area. Torrey Lake lies at the end of trail and is just shy of 9,000 feet (2740 meters) with Torrey Peak towering above it at over 11,000 feet (3350 meters). Excellent camping with great views and time to explore around the lake.
  • Palisades Trail – This hike into the Stony Mountain Roadless Area provides great views of the “other side” of the Bitterroot Mountains (across the valley) from a more “typical” route. It’s a great hike for those who want less strenuous hiking. Not too long or steep but very scenic. Also, not too crowded.
  • Nelson Lake Trail – This very rugged trail is just the thing for those wanting a good workout complemented by great scenery and more solitude than other hikes. Nelson Lake is particularly intriguing due to the immense rock slide that created a natural dam.
  • Canyon Creek Trail – Challenging trail with great scenic rewards. Great views of streams, a lake, and a steep, rocky climb. This hike can be a day hike but also has suitable camping at Canyon Lake.
  • Upper Miner Lake Trail – The trail is also suitable as a day hike. However, several camp sites at Miner Lake are well worth the time. The added bonus of great star-gazing on clear fall nights suggest a night of camping.

Five Northern Idaho Bike Trails

While Idaho has hiking trails (and Montana has biking trails), Idaho seems to be more focused on biking. That’s likely due to the lower elevations on the western edge of the Rockies.

  • Independence Creek Tour – Difficult – 21.1 Miles (33.9 Kilometers) – Point to Point – 3,032 Feet (924 Meters) Ascent – Pinehurst – Link to details.
  • Beauty Bay Loop – Intermediate/Difficult – 19.8 miles (31.9 Kilometers) – Loop – 3498 Feet (1066 Meters) Ascent – Coeur d’Alene – Link to details.
  • Upper Caribou Loop – Intermediate – 12.4 miles (19.9 Kilometers) – Loop – 2,418 Feet (737 Meters) Ascent – Coeur d’Alene – Link to details.
  • Bernard Peak Loop – Intermediate – 18.3 Miles (29.5 Kilometers) – Loop – 2,711 Feet (826 Meters) Ascent – Spirit Lake – Link to details.
  • 4th of July Pass-Killarney – Easy/Intermediate – 12.8 Miles (20.6 Kilometers) – Loop – 1,680 Feet (512 Meters) Ascent – Coeur d’Alene – Link to details.

Quirky sights on the Montana Idaho Road Trip

  • Gravity Hill in Grangeville Idaho. At Gravity Hill; stop, put your car in neutral and watch your car roll uphill! Actually, it’s an optical illusion but your eyes will play tricks on you. Maybe not worth going miles out of your way to see.
  • Oasis Bordello Museum in Wallace Idaho. It’s a brothel turned museum! It’s probably not a place for the kids but it was an operating brothel in the 1800’s. The museum does try to keep things tasteful and even throw in some humor (how could they not!).
  • The Bar stool Ski Races, Martin City Montana – The races are actually on bar stools equipped with skis. The races are part of the Cabin Fever Days festival in Martin City near the west gate to Glacier National Park.
  • The Montana Vortex and House of Mystery, Columbia Falls – Also near the west gate to Glacier National Park. It’s a gravitational anomaly. Pass through the Portal, feel the energy of the vortex. A sign says “Management is not responsible for world view changes”.

Individual posts about the Montana Idaho Road Trip

Following the information provided above, here are additional posts about the Montana Idaho Road Trip. Each one focuses on a highlight of the trip. A picture from and a link to the posts follow. A very brief commentary on each post shows you a bit of an overview and links each part of the trip to other parts.

Coeur d’Alene in Northern Idaho

Coeur d'Alene Lake Idaho Coeur d'Alene weather
Link to Coeur d’Alene and Coeur d’Alene Lake info

The first day of this trip included the drive to Coeur d’Alene and time spent around the lake. It’s really a beautiful lake. Much of this post is about the lake and the resorts and sights around the lake. Coeur d’Alene is also the fastest-growing city in Idaho. With the national parks, the mountains, and more well-known lakes, Coeur d’Alene is almost a “well-kept secret”. Click on the link in the caption above to get more information.

Harrison in Northern Idaho

Northern Idaho Coeur d'Alene weather
Link to Coeur d’Alene Lake and Harrison ID info

Above is a general store on the road to Harrison. Great place to stop to browse or have a snack. The drive is beautiful with great views of the private homes along the way. Harrison is a historic town with a few eating places, a museum, and a couple of bike rental shops. More information is provided above in the paragraph above on bike routes.

Flathead Lake and the Silver Dollar Bar

Flathead Lake Glacier Park Weather Montana Mountains
Link to Flathead Lake and Silver Dollar Bar info

How about some information on the drive from Coeur d’Alene to Kalispell? The first part is a stop at the famous 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar. Following the stop, is a viewing of the mountains and Flathead Lake. Another highlight among highlights!

Glacier National Park camping

RV Camping Glacier National Park

There are 13 campgrounds in Glacier National Park. However, only seven of them are suitable (and allow for) RV camping. RV campers, especially with large rigs, will need to do considerable advance planning to find a campsite that works for them. Also, keep in mind that crossing the full length of Going to the Sun road has a size limit of 21 feet (6.4 meters).

Tent Camping in Glacier National Park

There are 13 campgrounds in Glacier National Park. Six of them are strictly for tent camping. Glacier Park campgrounds cater to tent camping as many of the 7 campgrounds that do allow RV’s have a limited number of them for RV campsites. For example, Rising Sun Campground has 83 campsites and only 10 will accommodate RVs. These 13 campgrounds have over 1000 campsites. In addition to these campgrounds, there are 65 backpack campsites along the trails. These small campgrounds have a total of 208 campsites. A permit is needed for all backpack sites. The cost in 2019 is/was $7 per person, per night. Here is a link to a website that gives full details. There is a Glacier National Park backpack map included on the website.

West Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
Link to west side of Glacier National Park info

Due to the closing of the Going to the Sun road middle section, we spent the first day and a half on the west side. We enjoyed our time in the park and dinner in Kalispell. Making use of hotel reward points saved some money as well! (Hotel and airline reward points are also a subject for another post!) As the day ended, we were fired up about a visit to the east side of Glacier National Park. By the way, below is a Glacier National Park map. Still another part of the Montana Idaho Road Trip.

Glacier National Park Map – Terrain

East Glacier National Park

Glacier Park Weather
Link to East side of Glacier National Park

Our Montana Idaho Road Trip took us to the east side of Glacier National Park. I believe the eastern side is more scenic than the west side. Apparently, many agree with me as it is more crowded. There are more open vistas to seeing the beauty of the mountains, valleys, lakes, and streams. The elevation is higher, so be prepared for more effort resulting from “thinner” air. Elevations are near and far over 5,000 feet (1525 meters). The above photo shows Glacier National Park weather on the day we were there. This suddenly descended on us as we got to the Logan Pass parking lot. Please see the post, clicking on the above link.

Garnet Ghost Town in the Montana Mountains near Glacier National Park

Montana Idaho Road Trip
Link to Garnet Ghost Town post

Garnet Ghost town is 45 minutes outside of Missoula. A fascinating place to visit. The foundation that operates Garnet calls it “arrested decay”, meaning it’s not restored but the gradual decay has been stopped by keeping it in the same condition as when they took over. Garnet was not like many of the boom-towns “back in the day”. Many of the miners brought their families and settled down in the town. There are a couple of the old homes that have been restored on the inside and are for rent during certain times of the year. Another unexpected highlight of the Montana Idaho Road Trip.

Missoula on Montana Idaho Road Trip

Missoula stream Glacier Park Weather
Missoula Montana Sightseeing post

This is the last stop on our Montana Idaho Road Trip. The post includes some sights around Missoula as well as some history and terrain. The University of Montana is located here. It’s also the second-largest city in Montana.

Montana Idaho Road Trip Summary

Our Montana Idaho Road Trip was a “fun” trip for us. Both of us wanted to visit Glacier National park and Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. Coeur d’Alene has some great resorts and, of course, Coeur d’Alene Lake. Western Montana is beautiful. Much different from the eastern part which is at lower elevations and much flatter. The Driveby Tourist has now visited 14 of the 61 US National Parks. Long ways to go! So, add it to your bucket list! Take the kids! Take the grandkids! Go by yourself! (As we said back in the 60s and 70s, “whatever turns you on”.)

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Classic Rock Recollection

“The Long and Winding Road: by The Beatles

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door


The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way


Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
(Not sure if it’s a match but we drove a lot of winding roads!)

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