When visiting Big Sky Country, you may wish to stay at a dude ranch. You may be a camping enthusiast and want to visit Montana’s 54 state parks and nine National Park Service areas. While in the state you can enjoy both Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. You can walk the Lewis & Clark National History Trail and ski in Big Sky. You may be interested in visiting the battlefields of both Big Hole and Little Bighorn.
You can see the Berkeley Pit, a former copper mine, filled with fungal and bacterial species that are unique to the pit. The pit is a mile long and a half a mile wide, and filled with acidic water high in heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The brutal conditions of the water make life in the pit have to compete for resources leading to evolution. Or, visit Pompey’s Pillar to see the last physical evidence of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Clark carved his name into the rock that was covered in Native American petroglyphs. This marriage of history and nature is moving, although, some may say it’s just very old vandalism.
Montana is well known for its beautiful vistas. So, for the sake of a varied road trip, we’re taking a look at places made by people, not nature. And, we’re going toward the quirky side. The Museum of the Rockies is a wonderful offshoot of the Smithsonian, but it’s not a spot where you can touch a dino bone. But, we’ll tell you where you can!
Visiting the town of Garnet brings people back to 1895, in the time of the gold rush. Garnet was a gold town. Because of the number of people seeking a fortune, the town boomed, needing hotels, saloons, stores, a newspaper and a school! The problem with the town growing so quickly with only minors was that, when the gold was almost entirely mined by 1912, a lot of people left. Now the town is considered one of the best-preserved gold rush ghost towns in America and is protected by the Bureau of Land Management. Get more info.
The Washoe Theater was the last Nuevo Deco movie venue built in the country. The theater has only one screen. Don’t let that turn you off. It’s not about the movie; it’s about the experience. The screen’s beautiful curtain is original to the cinema and is so delicate it can’t be taken down. Tickets are around $5; balcony seating is 50 cents more. Get more info here.
Beneath the Streets
After a bad fire in 1904 burned the town of Havre down, many merchants made the decision to open their basements for business as they rebuilt their stores. The town thrived in this underground city, with tunnels connecting the stores. Now you can tour the site, seeing the saloon, dentist, butcher, laundry, bakery and more. With mannequins, the rooms are set to feel lived in and give people an insight into the underground world. Reviewers say the guides and knowledgeable and engaging and love the time-appropriate artifacts in the stores. Get more info.
Old Trail Museum
Finally, we come to the Old Trail Museum, where you can touch a dinosaur bone. The museum, located in Choteau, takes a look at the area’s past from fossils to the town’s last public hanging. There are Native American artifacts, taxidermied animals and more. Dinosaurs there range from fossils to fiberglass. And, you can touch a real thighbone from a duck-billed dinosaur. The museum is seasonal, open Memorial Day to Labor Day, so go now, while it’s open! Get more info.
We hope you have enjoyed our digital trip to Montana and that you enjoy it even more if you go in real life!