My 2019 Montana Bucket List

My 2019 Montana Bucket List

Last year, we decided as family to explore more places in Montana. I could not believe that I haven’t taken advantage more of the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful states in the country. Montana is the fourth largest state and the third least populated. Not only that, it is rich in historical value and has lots of attractions from nature and National parks to Western history and cool festivals. We always explore and camp in the same areas year after year and I decided that I needed a change. This year I am creating a bucket list of places I want to see this year. I plan on checking every single one of my list, or at least making the biggest effort possible.

The majority of the places on my list are within driving distance, three hours away tops. My goal is to visit all 12 places. It’s not all about hiking and camping and there is a nice variety between outdoorsy stuff and fun places to explore. I have multiple State parks on my list which is crazy, but in a good way. The  summer season runs May through September so this gives me 5 months to check out all of these places. For more information about visiting Montana, check out https://visitmt.com or http://montanakids.com/. For fun books or imformative books about Montana from it’s wildlife to history and for kids to adults, check out https://www.farcountrypress.com/.

Bannack State Park– Bannack was the first state capital of Montana and established in 1862. With over 60 structures still standing, it is a great way to spend a day trip. Bannack was established when gold was discovered there and by the 1950’s was completely abandoned. Bannack is also home to the oldest and still active Masonic Lodge. When visiting the park you can go on a self guided tour or with a guide, both are both fun. The park has lots of activities such as gold panning, camping, live history weekend, ice skating and a ghost tour. I have visited here before but I want to experience Bannack Days or the ghost tour. You can also rent out teepees to stay in if you dont want to haul along your tent. For more information check out http://bannack.org/ or http://stateparks.mt.gov/bannack/

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Bannack 2016 Courtesy of Amber Chaplin
Masonic Temple, Bannack 2016- Courtesy of Amber Chaplin

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park– The largest limestone cavern in the US, the lewis and Clark Caverns are a fun place to explore. Lewis and Clark did not stop at these caverns, but President Roosevelt  named the caverns as a National Monument to recognize their expedition. Besides the caverns, there is other activitivities like hiking, canping, fishing and bicycling. thttp://stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns/

Garden Of A Thousand Buddhas– This gorgeous and unique garden is found in Arlee, Mt is very unique. There are a thousand Montana-made Buddhas in the garden. This place was established to preserve Tibetan culture but also as place to find inner peace. Also known has the Ewam Buddha Garden, this wonderful place holds different festivals and retreats https://www.ewambuddhagarden.org. Arlee hosts the annual Let’R Buck Rodeo and the Arlee Celebration Pow Wow.

National Bison Range– This National wildlife refuge was established in 1908 by President Roosevelt after buison were almost hunted into extinction. Today the refuge is home to 200-300 bison in their natural habitat and spans over 18,500 acres. You can drive or walk on short nature trails and see many different animals and plants on the reserve. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/National_Bison_Range/

Philipsburg– I love Philipsburg! This small town is one of my favorites. We have been here before but there is always something new. Last year we visited the museum and went looking for gemstones. This next year I want to be avle to take an old west photo and go to Granite ghost town. There is lots to explore and Philipsburg is know for it’s sapphire mining and outdoor activities. Philipsburg also  has the best candy store in the world, with about 72 different flavors of salwater taffy and they also ship, https://sweetpalace.com/catalog/9/taffy . For more information on Philipsburg, you can go here  http://philipsburgmt.com/.

Main Street, Philipsburg 2017
Sapphire hunting, Philipsburg 2017

Makoshika State Park– Montana has a dinosaur trail and part of it is in Makoshika State Park, located on the other side of the state. It is Montana’s largest state park and has lots to do. Besides camping and hiking, there are archaeology and dinosaur dig sites and a cool visitor center. Makoshika also has multiple ecents throughout the year at their open-air amphitheater. Parts of the park are currently closed, but if they reopen, this is something I want to try. Dinosaurs are cool!!!

Route of The Hiawatha– This unique bike trail is located in Montana and Idaho. It is 15 miles long, has 10 train tunnels and 7 sky-high trestles. Built on old train track, this is one adventure I want to try this year. It can be down hill the whole way, and a shuttle will take you back to the top. You can camp or stay at a hotel nearby. I don’t really bike but this is something I could do and I bet the views are fantastic. http://www.ridethehiawatha.com/the-trail

Glacier National Park– I am embarrassed as a Montana-native to say I have never been to Glacier. It is only a couple hours away and yet it just hasn’t happened. There is so much to see and do from watching wildlife to backpacking, as well as checking out some of the historical building. Sperry Chalet was damaged by fire two years ago and is currently being rebuilt. But I still want to see Many Glacier Hotel and Lake McDonald Lodge as well hike some of the trails. I think a backpacking trip with the kids would be great. https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/historyculture/index.htm

Smith River State Park– The availability to float on the Smith River is based on a lottery. It’s 4 days long!!!!  This is to reduce the impact on the river and the habitat. Who wouldn’t want to go on a boating or kayaking trip? It’s a 59 mile stretch starting in White Sulphur Springs and ending in Ulm. The fishing on the Smith River is epic and some of the best fishing in the state. It would be fantastic to win the lottery but if we don’t we might try with one of the licensed outfitters. http://stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river/

Magruder Ranger Station– The historic road is both in Montana and Idaho.  Last year we went for the first time to explore the Magruder Corridor which I mentioned in this post, Our Adventures- The Magruder Corridor. The goal this year is to make it all the way to Elk City, Idaho! We will be renting a forest service cabin and hope to see all of the things we missed last year.

Some other places that I would love to  visit and will probably end up on my 2020 Bucket list are the Yaak,  The Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Chinese Wall, and Yellowstone National Park. I also want to visit Joe, Montana and Nevada City. Be sure to follow us to see how many things we check off our list this year. To be continued…

Comments

  • jen

    2 years agoReply

    well this made me miss Montana something fierce. I used to live by the bison range. I can remember lots of walks and drives around there just being peaceful….

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      I have never been even though it’s only like 2 hours away.

  • Meagan

    2 years agoReply

    What a cool idea, my family and I should do something like this for things in our area! We never go anywhere 😛

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      Some of these places I’ve never been to and I’m from here!!!

  • Tricia Snow

    2 years agoReply

    Such a great idea! I love this trip!

  • Ivy | livin the life of ivy

    2 years agoReply

    I love this! I’ve been meaning to do something like this around my area.

  • Amber

    2 years agoReply

    Way cool! I want to visit Montana soon. I’ll have to this to our summer itinerary.

  • Rachel Newlon

    2 years agoReply

    Montana is such a beautiful place! I visited once, and wish I had had more time. Thank you for this…I can now add to my list of things to do next time I’m there.

  • tiffany

    2 years agoReply

    We live in such a diverse country – this looks like an area I need to add to my travel list!

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      Montana is beautiful and there is so mcuh to see and do from natural history and archaeology to American history.

  • janice sisemore

    2 years agoReply

    Looks like a fun trip

  • Nicki

    2 years agoReply

    What a great list. Montana is one of my favorite states too!

  • Katie

    2 years agoReply

    Thanks for all the places to visit! My fiance and I are always look for unique things to do when we are in a new state.

  • Kathy Phillips

    2 years agoReply

    This would be an amazing place to visit. Montana is beautiful. The pictures are gorgeous.

  • Tricia

    2 years agoReply

    Montana looks beautiful. I’ve never been so this was a cool discovery…thanks for sharing

  • Judean

    2 years agoReply

    I never thought of visiting Montana – what got me was “Montana is the fourth largest state and the third least populated. ” I would like to relax with nature – hiking, visiting small towns, etc. I pinned this for future reference – thanks for sharing!

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      It’s very peaceful and beautiful. I dont think I will ever see all of it in my lifetime.

  • Jennifer Morrison

    2 years agoReply

    I have visited Montana many times, but have never been to any of these sites! I will have to start my Montana bucket list.

  • Laura

    2 years agoReply

    I’ve always wanted to go to Montana! Now I really do! Great post!

  • Susan Franklin

    2 years agoReply

    We plan to take an RV road trip from Arizona (or maybe start in Colorado) up to Banff Canada in 2020, and Montana is one of the states I’d like to visit. Having your list of things to do in Montana is wonderful!!

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      You should go through Colorado and stop at Rocky Mountain National Park. If you went through COlorado and are going up through Montana, you should alos stop at Yellostone and Grand Teton and Jackson Hole.

  • Mary

    2 years agoReply

    I have always wanted to visit Montana, because growing up in NJ, I was amazed that there was only one area code for the whole, huge state of Montana! I’m not sure if that’s still the case. Anyway, I pinned this post because eventually I want to get there. Great post!

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      There is still just one area code. Montana is the third least populated state and the 4th largest so it tells you how much of it is open space.

  • T.M. Brown

    2 years agoReply

    We have never been to Montana, but we have always wanted to visit all 50 states. I’ll have to annotate all of these places to visit just in case we get up there in the future.

    • admin

      2 years agoReply

      You should!!

  • Kathy

    2 years agoReply

    Glacier is on my bucket list too. The only place I’ve been in Montana was west Yellowstone when we visited Yellowstone National Park. We plan on taking the 2000 mile trip in the next few years. I will keep this list and add some of them to my list when we go there.

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