Glacier National Park, Part 4 - More Montana

The skies seem endless in Montana.

For us, traveling all the way to Montana is a cross country trek.  We have to make the most out of the experience while we are there.  Glacier National Park was the the main focus of our trip, but what else is there to do there?  Depending on your timing, you can pack in a few more activities in addition to a grand national park.  
The pioneer home at the Museum of the Rockies.

Glacier National Park, Part 4 - More Montana

We have loved every trip that we have taken out west.  We have also made our trips to Montana during the summer months of June, July or August.  I am not a fan of the cold, and prefer to visit somewhere with a more temperate climate in the summer that gives us a break from the intense heat and humidity of the deep south.

We had a little extra time during our adventure, and everything we did was worth the time and effort.  I felt like we got an excellent taste of Montana through each experience this summer.  Plus, my in laws are excellent hosts.  Everything added up to a vacation worth sharing!

We flew in and out of Bozeman.  Flight prices were less expensive into Bozeman.  And, we were able to get a direct flight from Atlanta.  My in laws live near the airport, so this was the best option all the way around.  It is a long trek to Glacier from this start point.  We had nearly a 6 hour drive on our first day after we arrived.  Even with a long drive, we made it work.  And you can too!

We loved our lunch at the Mission Mountains Mercantile.

Mission Mountains Mercantile

We drove to Polebridge on our first day.  At lunch, on the drive, we stopped at a little place called the Mission Mountains Mercantile in Condon, MT.  They have a delicious deli, coffee and ice cream.  The outdoor dining area has gorgeous views of the mountains and is landscaped with lush flowers.  While my in laws had stopped here before, they were even unaware of the outdoor seating area.

If you need some additional provisions and supplies on your way, you could stop there for lots of different necessities as you escape into the wilderness.  They have everything from all of the huckleberry souvenirs that you can imagine to basic staples, beer and wine. 

The Canadian Border was a fun detour.

Canadian Border near Polebridge

Polebridge is only 22 miles from the Canadian border.  We decided to take the drive up and look around.  It was a fun little detour before leaving this area of the park.  The road is dirt and can be rough in patches.  Plan to travel slow and take your time getting there.  If there has been rain, it will be really muddy.  We had a 4 wheel drive truck.  This is another consideration if you are renting a vehicle while at Glacier.

There isn't much to see once you get to the border.  But, it was memorable.  The drive was interesting.  And I'm always down for a good road trip!

The main stage at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte.

Montana Folk Festival

The Montana Folk Festival is a free outdoor music festival.  They have a variety of stages set up with various artists performing throughout the day and evening for 3 days.  We took advantage of this event that is held annually in Butte, Montana on the Saturday before we left.  We saw a fantastic gospel group as well as a south Louisiana Zydeco and blues group.  The eclectic mix of music and vendors was so much fun.  

They have craft vendors, food trucks and drinks for sale.  Plus there are plenty of water bottle stations for refilling those water bottles in the intense summer sun.  While we were there we got caught in a hail storm.  It seems that weather can change quickly there and you should plan accordingly.  Pack a rain jacket and have it on you.  I made a huge mistake by leaving my jacket behind that day.  But, it turned out fine.


Sculpture in the Wild

On our way back from Glacier, we planned a stop in Lincoln, Montana to enjoy the Sculpture in the Wild installation project.  The art is unique and inspiring.  I enjoyed reading about each piece and seeing the work in nature.  The paths were wonderfully maintained and provided little nooks and crannies for hidden gems along the way in addition to the large projects on display.  It was worth the stop.  

Children can run along the paths and explore freely.  It is perfect for travelers of all ages.  Plus, you can enjoy as much or as little as you like.





Norris Hot Springs

Norris Hot Springs is located near Bozeman, Montana.  You can spend the afternoon soaking in a natural geothermal pool.  They have food and drinks on site.  This is a much more rustic hot spring and has basic amenities.  But, it was just right for us.  

The soaking pool is wooden.  People sit around the edges snacking and enjoying drinks.  The changing rooms were adequate, but there are no regular bathrooms.  There are only porta potties on site.  Some of these basics are a little too basic for some tourists.  

The food and drink selection was perfect.  They offer plenty of both light and hearty snacks.  The beer and wine selection offers something for everyone.  There is a 3 drink maximum that they keep up with on your arm band they provide when you check in.  I had been dying to do a hot spring like this, and was glad that it worked out for us to do it!


Museum of the Rockies

The Museum of the Rockies is a well curated collection of exhibits located on the campus of Montana State University.  They offer stationary exhibits like the dinosaur, Yellowstone, enduring people and pioneer home exhibits.  However, they also host changing exhibits that offer new and exciting content regularly.  

We saw and amazing Northern Plains exhibit that featured the Apsáalooke women.  I loved everything about this exhibit and was so glad that we were able to see it.  The photography, artwork, and stories told by this exhibit were worth the visit alone.


Depending on your route and length of time you have to spend in Montana, you could do quite a few fun things.  It also might be worth checking on dates for things you want to take in like the Montana Folk Festival.  This festival was so well done and would be worth planning to do this as part of your Montana trip.  

This is my last post in the 4 part series on our trip to Glacier National Park.  If you missed any of these posts, go back and check them out.  I've enjoyed sharing this journey with you, and I hope you found it to be beneficial.  Please feel free to drop me a line to ask questions or share your thoughts.  You can also add a comment below.

Until next time...happy camping!