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Montana Scenic Loop

Scenic Drive
Late Summer at Walling Reef - Dupuyer – Dave Wedum

Driving Directions

If you prefer to arrive by air, travelers have the opportunity to fly into Great Falls, Helena, Missoula or Kalispell. Depending on your starting point, you can enjoy all the small towns (Augusta, Choteau, Bynum, Dupuyer, Browning, East Glacier, Essex, Hungry Horse, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Condon, Seeley Lake, Ovando and Lincoln) that are part of the Montana Scenic Loop, the best scenic drive in the West.

Route Description

Circumnavigate the Bob Marshall Wilderness on 400 miles (644 kilometers) of two-lane highway studded with hospitable towns and stunning views, including those in the heavily forested valleys between Seeley and Swan Lakes, where you can explore hundreds of lakes and streams.

The Montana Scenic Loop passes through just about every habitat type found in the Crown of the Continent: Wet and dry forest types, open prairie, lakes and rivers. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is flanked by the Great Bear Wilderness on the north and the Scapegoat Wilderness to the south. Surrounding this wild gem are four National Forests and a host of Wildlife Management Areas and National Wildlife Refuges. Beyond the forests are striking vistas—the Rocky Mountain Front, Glacier National Park, the Flathead and Blackfoot River Basin. Adding another layer to the beautifully wrapped package are the communities, each with their own distinct personality.

Life here is guided by nature. Breathtaking sunsets stretch over prairies that seem to go on forever. Snow-capped peaks form a backdrop for rolling hills. Swift streams tumble over rocky beds, while placid rivers cut through ancient inland seas. The sky is bigger, the vistas dramatic, and complete strangers wave hello.

Best Places to Go

The Loop comprises 15 vibrant communities (Augusta, Bigfork, Browning, Bynum, Choteau, Columbia Falls, Condon, Dupuyer, East Glacier, Essex, Hungry Horse, Lincoln, Ovando, Seeley Lake, West Glacier), each with a special personality. From high, rugged mountains to wind-swept plains, you'll travel what many people consider is the best scenic drive in the West.

Best Times to Go

Plan on your trip taking longer than expected because you’ll find your days filled with adventure. Hiking, sailing, golfing, whitewater rafting, fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing, and skiing are just a smidgeon of our recreational activities, while our scenery will dazzle you with craggy peaks, sparkling rivers, sun-kissed meadows and a wealth of wildlife. Culture, adventure, shopping, recreation, fine dining, and intriguing places to stay are just down the road. Your nature will dictate the time of year that you choose to explore the Northern Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. Most prefer the summer months, while others like the stillness of winter. You'll be pleased with every season.

What You Should Know Before You Go

There are many stretches of the loop that are wide open and you might not see another car for miles and miles. But don't worry, there is a little town just up the road waiting to greet travelers and make your stay comfortable, alluring and memorable.

Nearby Places