Tag Archives: hiking

Hiking Glacier

RED LODGE POST

Glacier National Park boasts over 700 miles of trails. A hiker’s paradise to be sure. No matter the trail, magnificent scenery can be seen in every direction. Four nature trails are very popular:

  • Forest and Fire
  • Hidden Lake
  • Running Eagle Falls
  • Trail of the Cedars
  • Swiftcurrent Nature Trail

Trails often mentioned by hiking pros are:

  • Iceberg Lake
  • Grinnell Glacier
  • Highline Loop
  • Cracker Lake

The National Park Service wants hikers to have a fun time and an enjoyable experience when hiking in the park.

Highline Trail Glacier NP
Highline Trail, Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior.

Some good advice is offered by the National Park Service and hiking professionals:

  • Always take along bear spray
  • Let someone know where you are going (including route), description of what clothing you’re wearing, when you plan to return, and a description of your car (including where parked and license plate number)
  • Don’t count on cell phone service in the park
  • Be prepared to help yourself as help from others may be a long time coming
  • Get familiar with the hazards associated with hiking
  • Learn about the trail(s) you will be hiking on before you go
  • If available carry a map of the trail(s)
  • Always check the weather before heading out on a trail
  • Stay close together with your hiking group
  • Above all always hike with a group for safety

Some good advice to prepare yourself for hiking:

  • Wear suitable hiking shoes
  • Take along first-aid supplies
  • Carry plenty of water
  • Pack some food and ready-to-eat snacks
  • Physically condition yourself for walking in rough, often steep, terrain
  • Tackle only trails that match your abilities and condition
  • Be prepared for changes in weather conditions
  • A light rain jacket and suitable clothing (think layers) are essential
  • Take along sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent
  • Carry a sturdy water-proof backpack

There are many challenges in hiking Glacier as there would be in any mountainous area. It’s unlike a stroll in a city park. But the rewards that come with hiking Glacier are well worth the effort.

The publishing world has many guides for happy and successful hiking. Read one.

Consider:

  • Day Hikes of Glacier National Park Map-Guide by Jake Bramante
  • Top Trails: Glacier National Park by Jean Arthur
  • Day Hiking: Glacier National park & Western Montana, by Aaron Theisen

Excellent trail maps by the National Park Service are online.

The authors of Hiking in Glacier have published a very good online guide to 65 trails in Glacier. They did some sifting and came up with a list of the 10 best trails in the park.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy

Snapshot of Missoula

RED LODGE POST

Missoula (pop, 74,428) is home to the University of Montana. College towns tend to have a distinctive vibe, different from regular cities. Missoula does not completely fit this picture, since the city and the surrounding towns have some industry, especially related to forestry. And Missoula draws lots of tourists.

One major interstate highway, IH 94 going east, connects Missoula with Billings and states in the Midwest.  Going west from Missoula, IH 94 leads to Spokane and Seattle. Many flights arrive daily at Missoula International Airport. Missoula is far away from other centers of population. It’s a drive of 200 miles to Spokane, and Billings is 342 miles to the east.

Missoula
Aerial view of Missoula. Photo courtesy of Missoula Parks and Recreation, City of Missoula.

Missoula is a destination for outdoor activities. The Bitterroot River Valley and surrounding mountains south of town offer almost limitless opportunities for hiking, bicycling, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. For beautiful scenery, a drive south of Missoula in the Bitterroot Valley is special. The Bitterroot Mountains, carved by glaciers during the Ice Ages, are spectacular to see and experience.

Missoula has a shopping mall with lots of national chair stores. Beyond that shopping is spread throughout the city. Many stores are owned by local businesses, especially restaurants and shops that cater to needs of people who seek fun in the outdoors.

Since Missoula is mainly an education center and a commercial hub, few big attractions are in the city. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation appeals to a few folks. A carousel will surely keep the kids happy if they are traveling along. The downtown has a historical importance, with a few places listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Given the mix of people who live in and visit Missoula, it is obvious why the city is noted for its excellent dining and drinking places. The Shack just off Higgins Street downtown snags many customers. Bernice’s Bakery is always a good choice. Every visitor should stop at Worden’s Market and Deli. Many young adults hang out at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill. For upscale dining, try the Pearl Café. The décor at the Pearl has an intimate feeling that appeals to many who pay big bucks for dinner.

Bayern Brewing is more than a place, it’s a destination for many. Many beer labels sold here. Dancing Trout, Dump Truck, and Face Plant show this guys have an imagination when choosing names for Bayern Brewing beers. A part of the brewery, Edelweiss Bistro serves food sourced from local farms and ranches. Order a Weisswurst, two poached white sausages served Bier Hall-style with a pretzel and Händlmaier’s Sweet Bavarian mustard. $9. Yum!

Read more about  Missoula and the Wonderland region.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy

Snapshot of Bozeman

RED LODGE POST

Bozeman (pop.48,532) is a small city with a big city attitude. The city sort of feels like it would fit nicely anywhere in the Rocky Mountain region.  Say as a neighboring city to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Main Street in the downtown area is always busy.  A beehive for sure.

From Bozeman, travelers can easily reach many popular vacation hot spots in southwest Montana. The north entrance to Yellowstone, near the small town of Gardiner, is south of Livingston on U.S. Highway 89.  And the west entrance to Yellowstone, near the small town of West Yellowstone, is directly south of Bozeman on U.S. Highway 191.

One major interstate highway, IH 94, going east, connects Bozeman with Billings and states in the Midwest. Going west from Bozeman, IH 94 leads to Missoula, Spokane and Seattle. Many flights arrive daily at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

Bozeman June 26, 2015. Photo courtesy Bozeman Convention and Visitors Bureau. From Comprehensive Plan, Logan Simpson.

Bozeman is an education center and a vacation hub. Montana State University is headquartered in Bozeman. The city has limited shopping in a traditional way. But many stores supply visitors with all sorts of goods for having fun in the outdoors.

Is Bozeman a party town? Maybe. Many bars and good restaurants are ready to serve visitors. Some great dining choices here, even extra nice places like Plonk Wine which, you may have guessed, has imported wines from Europe that can set you back $400 a bottle.

Bozeman offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. At the top of the list is fly-fishing for trout in the Gallatin and Madison Rivers. During winter months, many ski bums head for Bridger Bowl near Bozeman. Hiking, bicycling, and whitewater rafting are other major activities enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts.

Two attractions standout in the Bozeman, leaving aside Yellowstone. The Museum of the Rockies with its splendid dinosaur collection is a must see. If wildlife is of interest, Montana Grizzly Encounter is a few miles east of Bozeman.

Lots of traffic on Bozeman streets at most hours of the day. Parking spots are hard to find especially on Main Street downtown. City leaders have noticed.  Parking lots on streets to  the north and south of Main Street are ready to serve drivers.

Bozeman tends to cater to visitors who have fatter wallets than most. But some of the outdoors stuff is FREE.

Red more about Bozeman and the Wonderland region.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy

Yellowstone National Park

RED LODGE POST

Millions of people will visit Yellowstone National Park this year. And why not? This park is America’s Wonderland.

Most come to see nature in all its glory at Yellowstone. As for wild animals: elk, black bears, grizzly bears, gray wolves, buffalo, moose, mountain goats, and bald eagles live and thrive in Yellowstone’s wild ecosystem. To see these magnificent creatures in a natural setting is stunning.

Be patient and observant if you are eager to experience wildlife. Wildlife come and go on their own schedules and are found in different areas of the park. Their lives and activities reflect seasonal patterns of nature. It’s good to have a pair of quality binoculars for best viewing.

Then there is the landscape. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River rivals the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The canyon of the Yellowstone River is a huge slice cut out of the earth, caused by action of the river over millions of years. When you see it close-up, it’s hard to imagine how the forces of nature were able to create the canyon.

One feature along the canyon is nothing short of spectacular. This is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. It’s magical, the waterfall and canyon converge in space, making the Lower Falls one of the most photographed scenes in America.

Panoramic landscapes in Yellowstone are uncommonly beautiful and inspiring. Hayden Valley (central Yellowstone) and Lamar Valley (northwest Yellowstone) are the stuff of travel posters. Yellowstone Lake (southeast Yellowstone) is another huge attraction.

Other features found on Yellowstone’s landscape are very different from anything found elsewhere in America. Features on the landscape such as geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots are significant attractions. In part, Yellowstone owes its appearance to volcanic activity deep below the surface of the land. Emblematic of it all is Old Faithful geyser near the western edge of the park.

Yellowstone is also a mecca for outdoors activities, such as camping, hiking, boating, and fishing. Some visitors take guided trips while others take part in programs led by park rangers. Yellowstone officials like to say they have something for everyone.

Yellowstone National Park is unrivaled for its natural bounty, a sensory experience cherished and remembered by all who come. Outdoor activities in nature are a bonus. Memories are made in Yellowstone.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy

A Lot to Love in Lewistown

RED LODGE POST

A small town feel with big time dreams.  Lewistown answers the call from all those who make this town home and to all who visit.

With miles upon miles of paved walking and biking trails you can explore the town on foot and see the historical views, bubbling spring creek, and wildlife all while staying within minutes of city center.

Surrounded by four mountain ranges Lewistown’s opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting are endless.

Visit for the famous Chokecherry Festival in September and you are guaranteed a good time from morning to night. The famous painter, Charlie Russell, has a namesake dinner train that travels along miles of the Old Milwaukee rail system.   With entertainment on board and outside you are sure to enjoy your journey.

Lewistown offers a variety of dining as well.  You can get many styles of food, and all eateries offer friendly service, with gusto and a smile.  The dining experience will keep you wanting to come back again and again.  Lewistown offers plenty of good lodging options to suit everyone’s needs.

There’s more fun year-round in Lewistown.  In the spring, enjoy the opening of the Central Montana Museum, a visit to ways of the past at Pioneer Power Days, and join in at Montana’s Longest table for a taste of foods produced in Montana.

Summer offers golfing, car racing, and the annual Montana Poetry gathering.  Fall gives way for fossil hunting, homestead tours, and the famous Bale Trail.

In the winter season, the North Pole Adventure Train takes trips to the North Pole (well, Lewistown’s North Pole).  There are ski hills nearby, and the mountains offer places to snowmobile, snowshoe, or go cross-country skiing.

Lewistown comes together for an annual Christmas stroll on Main Street having s’mores, parades, bonfires, and, of course, the man in red, Santa Claus, makes a stop!  It’s a community event of sharing and friendship, and so another season ends, with a magnificent celebration showing why Lewistown is so special.

So much is nice in Lewistown that you may even want to stay on and make Lewistown your new home.  With an excellent school system, parks scattered through the town, and established youth activities families are sure to find many opportunities to stretch their legs or put down roots.

Karisa Perryman
Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce
408 NE Main
Lewistown, MT 59457

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy

Guest ranches in Montana

RED LODGE POST

Montana
Photo courtesy Summer Star Ranch, Helena.

Montana is the heart of the West. You can experience a western lifestyle when staying at a guest ranch. Wranglers saddle-up the  horses when guests are ready for horseback riding, a most popular activity. Of course Montana’s guest ranches offer much more, activities galore. Here are a few of the ranches:

So how to choose the best fit. You want to pick the right guest ranch to satisfy your interests and needs. The Montana Dude Ranchers’ Association provides valuable insights. Paradise Guest Ranch is helpful too. Other tips are shared by the Dude Ranchers’ Association.

Travel tip: Before you go be sure to ask the guest ranch about their horses. How many do they have? Are the horses suitable for pros as well as riders with little or no experience. What sort of terrain is near the ranch’s corral? Horseback riding on flat land is okay, but trails off in the hills and up in the mountains are more fun.



https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy