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Montana: The Bucket List

Beyond Yellowstone and Glacier, there’s a world of things to see and do in Montana. Fourteen fellow truck campers recommend spectacular hikes, riveting museums, tucked-away campsites, and much more. It’s time to put Big Sky country on your bucket list.

Montana Camping Destination Bucket List

Without Montana, you would not be reading these electrons.

I’ve had the wonderful privilege of visiting Montana throughout my life. My late uncle moved to Bozeman, Montana and raised his family starting in the 1970s. From the age of six, my dad took me to visit my uncle, and later to spend time with my three younger cousins.

Having grown up in suburban Philadelphia, I had never seen The West, never ridden on an ATV, never shot a rifle, and hadn’t a clue about the big sky, outdoor-focused, drive-fast-to-the-horizon lifestyle Montana had in abundance. Experiencing all of the above for the first time was exhilarating, and left an indelible mark on me.

Why do I tell you this? Because those experiences became the irresistible itch that stayed with me through high school, college, and then a miraculous moment shortly after marrying Angela when I said, “What do you think about getting an RV and traveling the country?”

That RV became a Chevy 3500 and a Lance 1030 truck camper. From the moment that rig came together, I had Montana in my sights. Angela and I went there just in time to see my uncle before he passed. Yes, things do happen for a reason. And yes, Montana was the spark that would become Truck Camper Magazine.

Since then, Angela and I have visited Montana many times with many campers. As you’re about to read, Montana is a truck camping paradise. Every time we go back, we do new things, and make new memories.

We love Montana. Evidently, so do a lot of our readers. Get out your bucket list and a sharpie. It’s time to add some incredible Montana destinations.

Montana: The Bucket List

Elaine Spittler
2014 Ford F-350
2009 Arctic Fox 990

Red Lodge Beartooth Absarokee Mountain Range Elaine

Above: Beartooth-Absaroka Mountain Range

I haven’t just visited. I’ve lived in Montana. I want to tell you about Red Lodge, Montana. Red Lodge is in south-central Montana. It’s one hour southwest of Billings, one hour northeast of Cody, Wyoming, and two-and-a-half hours southeast of Bozeman, and Yellowstone National Park.

Red Lodge Early Fall

Above: Red Lodge, Montana in the early Fall

Red Lodge sits in the foothills of the beautiful Beartooth-Absaroka mountains. State Highway 212 runs straight through town and leads you up the Beartooth Highway to the Beartooth Pass over and into Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance in Cooke City, Montana. Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Highway, “The most beautiful highway in America”.

Beartooth Absarokee Mountain Range

Red Lodge is a small western town that caters to both winter and summer visitors. Red Lodge Mountain is good for skiing in the winter, and then there’s exploring the Beartooth Highway in the summer.

Red Lodge To Beartooth Highway Montana Memorial Day Weekend

Above: Red Lodge to Beartooth Highway, Memorial Day weekend

It is a small town with a big heart and lots of great food from five-star restaurants to the best burgers at the Red Box Car. There’s also old-time shopping and a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings in the summer.

Red Lodge Montana Below

Above: Red Lodge, Montana

There are events most weekends through summer’s end in mid-October when the road over the Beartooth Pass is usually closed for the season due to snow.

Downtown Red Lodge, Montana

In Red Lodge, there are small motels with RV hookups, as well as a KOA four miles north of town. There’s also a campground to the south of town called Perry’s RV Campground and lots of Forest Service camping on the way south as you head toward the Beartooth Highway.

Jake and Denise Schultz
2008 Ford Ranger
2017 Pastime 700FDS

Shores Of The Yellowstone By Whitney Bird

Above: Jake and Denise on the shores of the Yellowstone, photo taken by Whitney Bird

Miles City is our favorite destination in Montana because we got married there! Our friends in Wisconsin were our witnesses. They had a new camper and we had our Pastime.

Miles City Montana Halfway Wedding Destination Schultz

We Googled what was halfway between the Seattle area and the town where they lived in Wisconsin, and came up with Miles City, Montana.

On The Way To Montana In The Truck Camper

We drove two days east and they drove two days west. We met at the Miles City KOA and a couple of days later, we got married right behind the museum on an outcropping where Clark and Sacagawea once stood! It’s noted in their journals.

Montana Bar Miles City

We also stopped in at the famous, “Montana Bar” just before the ceremony. The locals were not sure what to make of us dressed up in the otherwise casual bar. One of the locals bought us a round of shots. Our friends/witnesses in the photos are Peter and Lori.

WaterWorks Art Museum

There’s a wonderful art museum that’s in the former water plant called WaterWorks Art Museum. The museum is located along the Yellowstone River and housed in the concrete basins of the 1910 waterworks that produced Miles City’s drinking water for over 60 years.

What a wonderful trip! More than five years later Denise and I continue to enjoy getaways in our truck camper.

Historic Headfram Butte Montana

Above: The historic headframe in Butte, Montana

Butte is historic and we loved stopping by the mine for a photo on our way home

The KOA in Miles City is the second KOA in the franchise. The founder is from Miles City and proposed the campground franchise idea in college.

Edith Horn
2018 Ram 3500
2019 Northern Lite 10-2 EX

Big Pine Camper

After a two-week Permaculture learning workshop in western Montana, I found Big Pine Fishing Access Area on my way back to South Dakota. This campground was only a few miles off I-90 via exit 66. It rests on the other side of the mountain, so there is no road noise.

NOTE: If you are in a bigger rig, do not follow your GPS. When you get off the highway and onto Fish Creek Road, your GPS will direct you to take the first left at the fork in the road. Don’t do it. This is a steep, narrow road that traverses up and over the mountain.

Instead, continue straight, taking the right at the fork and follow the road around the mountain. It changes from asphalt to a well-maintained gravel road that follows Fish Creek to the campground. You will also find this route faster as you won’t have to drive the steep narrow twisty road and back down.

Big Pine Fishing Access Area Alberton

It’s called Big Pine Campground because the largest, oldest known Ponderosa Pine Tree in Montana lives here. It’s 350 feet tall and 200 years old. There are a few pull-over camping areas along Fish Creek in either direction of the campground. The campground itself only has three designated sites.

Get there early. When I was there in June/July, by sundown, there were about six other car and van campers looking to score this sweet spot for the night. There are signs posted, “Bear Country” so be aware and don’t leave food out. I wouldn’t recommend tent camping.

Fish Creek was wide and full of rushing water. The night sky was amazing and the sounds of the forest eased you gently to sleep.

Delmoe Lake Campsite

I also recommend Delmoe Lake Campground and Picnic Area. Once you get off I-90, it’s just over nine miles on a very curvy gravel mountain road with spectacular views. Just take it slow. The washboard road is a bit bumpy in some areas, but it’s very doable. I saw everything from 40-foot fifth wheels to car/tent campers.

If the paid campground is full, there are plenty of opportunities for free dispersed camping along the way. As you can guess, the paid campground sits on Delmoe Lake. There’s a lot to do there including fishing, swimming, ATVing, and more. It can be a bit loud during the day with all the bustling activity.

Delmoe Lake Montana

I camped in B loop which has the best views of the lake. My site was B5 with a trail directly to a beach on the lake. The lake was way down from where it should be in depth. There are no reservations at the campground. The sites are first-come, first-serve. Find your spot and drop your envelope at the entrance.


Park Rangers did patrol the area, so be sure you have your fishing license and any watercraft (such as a kayak) properly inspected. Even though there was ATV noise during the day, it’s a great location. The cool lake waters help to keep the warm summer temperatures at bay.

John Rapp
2005 Dodge Ram 2500
2008 Travel Lite 800

My wife and I were headed west from Buffalo, New York to Beaverton, Oregon and Reston, Washington to visit family and friends. We had a Boondockers Welcome cabin booked west of Anaconda, Montana (with 30A service).

The temperature was -12 degrees Fahrenheit (-24 Celsius). All of our camper pipes froze and the strainer lid snapped off. Fortunately, the Anaconda True Value is open until 10:00 p.m. They had the exact replacement.

Unfortunately, the sewer pipe and its contents into the holding tank were also frozen from the gate valve back six inches. Cleaning that out with a hammer and chisel earned me quite a few points.

Anaconda MT Snow On Roads Chain Up Sign

After driving on SR1 for some time in blustery snow squalls, we turned and left the blacktop. There was still 15 miles to go in 15 inches of fresh snow on a frozen dirt road.

One particular set of instructions was, “Mind the cliff”! How? We can’t even see it to miss it! Lucky for us, we made it.

Upon leaving two days later under beautiful clear blue skies, we could see the precarious nature of the cliff that was approximately 1,000 feet down!

Anaconda, Montana was so beautiful that we would go back in any weather. And now I’ve added more insulation and installed pipe heat tape to the whole system.

Carlos Armas
2019 Ford F-350
2013 Arctic Fox 990

Montana State Park Fees

I recommend Missouri Headwaters State Park Campground north of Bozeman. I don’t think it is all that well known to those outside of the area. It holds a lot of historical importance in the early years of American history, and was discovered by Lewis and Clark. It’s not the most spectacular place in Montana, but it is beautiful all the same.

Montana Arctic Fox Camping

There are very good interpretive signs and replicas of the early history there. This is where the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers come together to form the Missouri River.

Three Forks, Montana

Greg Hill
2021 Ford F-350
2020 Wolf Creek 850

Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana

Above: Upper Missouri River Breaks

I recommend visiting Fort Benton, Montana. There’s a nice visitor center in Fort Benton where you can get information about the area. There’s also a hotel from the 1800s in Fort Benton.

Fort Benton Hotel Is From The 1800s Montana

We liked the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. There are several BLM camping areas right on the water. We had a BLM site at Wood Bottom Campground which is inside the national monument and right on the water. It’s free.

Wood Botton Campground In National Monument Montana

There are dry camping in sites, or boondocking, depending on how far you drive in.

Lewis And Clark Marker Is On Their Trail Inside The National Monument Montana

Above: The Lewis and Clark marker is on the trail inside the national monument.

There are lots of dirt roads to drive, lots of opportunities to hike, and parts of the Lewis and Clark route to explore. And the sunsets were amazing!

Flathead Lake, just south of Kalispell, is also a great area to explore. There’s lots of hiking and some challenging Jeep trails there. I also recommend visiting the small towns and trying the local food.

Ken Manning
2016 Ram 3500
2018 Northern Lite

We stopped at a great place not far from I-90 called Lewis and Clark Caverns. What isn’t named after the two great explorers in Montana?

There’s a small campground with cabins and about 40 campsites. A short drive up the hill is the parking area for the cave tour. It is reasonably priced at $15. After a short hike, you are given a tour of the caves.

There’s a short tour, a medium tour, and a longer tour. We chose the medium tour and enjoyed the host and the detailed information she gave about the caves and their history.

The cave is well-lit with handrails and steps through the more difficult parts. We had a great time and it was not overly crowded in September. Due to its proximity to I-90, it can be busy during peak summer months. It was well worth the stop!

We camped at the Lewis and Clark State Park Campground located at the base of the hill. Campsites range from $4 to $34 per night depending on the season and amenities. Cabins and wall tents are available from $36 to $66.

Mary Carder
Chevy 2500 HD
2013 CampLite 8.6

Route Of The Hiawatha Entrance Arch Just Past The Saint Paul Tunnel

Above: Route Of The Hiawatha entrance arch just past the Saint Paul Tunnel

For the hikers and bike-riding truck campers among us, we enjoyed The Route of the Hiawatha; rails to trails. It was my favorite rails to trails I’ve ever ridden. It’s one of only fifteen in the country to be named a Hall of Fame trail.

It’s incredible with nine tunnels and seven sky-high trestles with glorious views of the Bitterroot mountains. The first tunnel is over one mile long of complete darkness, dripping water, and cold temperatures! It requires headlights on your bicycle, or a flashlight if on foot.

Rails To Trails, Idaho and Montana

The eastern portal of the Route of Hiawatha is still barely in Montana, near Taft. This is the portal where nearly all visitors access the trail because it’s literally all downhill from here and with a much bigger parking area. Shuttle buses deliver riders with their rented or personal bikes, and pedestrians from the western Pearson trailhead in Avery, Idaho, back to the east portal in Taft.

We chose to boondock at a beautiful site along the river only a quarter mile from the Pearson trailhead because we like our solitude and don’t mind the climb.

Another lovely Montana spot is Earthquake Lake which is a rest stop off Highway 287 in Cameron, Montana. There are walking paths and a free visitor center that offers interesting displays on plate tectonics, earthquakes, a working seismograph, movies, lectures, and information about the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake that destroyed the mountain and created the lake.

Gillespie Road Boondocking Spot Clinton Montana

Above: Gillespie Road boondocking spot in Clinton, Montana

We loved a beautiful boondocking spot just southeast of Beavertail Hill State Park in Clinton, Montana. It was off the same I-90 exit as the state park and about three miles up Gillespie Road. It’s a Forest Service road with a lovely view of the Clark Fork River.

My husband enjoyed a challenging gravel bike ride up to the top of the mountain. The road was not bad and it did not require four-wheel drive. However, there wasn’t room to turn around a tow vehicle.

Bakers Hole Campground On The Madison River, Montana

Bakers Hole campground in West Yellowstone is the perfect base camp for exploring that area. It’s $33 per night with electric. This is also the closest campground to Yellowstone.

We also loved bicycling on the wonderful ski trails around the city of West Yellowstone.

Town Of West Yellowstone At The Entrance To The Ski Trails

This trip included sixteen states, nine national parks, many great hiking and biking spots, and multiple family visits over 73 days in our little truck camper. We plan to return to see so much more of Montana.

Michael Morin
2022 Dodge Ram 3500
2023 Arctic Fox 1150

Saco, Montana Camping

Above: Camping in Saco, Montana

Highway 2 is a beautiful ride. We stopped at the Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs for the night. The campground was nice and the camping fee also included your admission to the hot springs, indoor pool, and hot tub.

Saco Montana Pool at Buffalo Hot Springs

We also met some locals who were camping there next to us and were super friendly. We had great conversations and it was the perfect place to stop and relax after a long day of driving.

Yves Chartrand
2021 Ram 3500
2021 Lance 960

Clark Canyon Reservoir MT In Winter

Above: Clark Canyon Reservoir, Montana

The Clark Canyon Reservoir has an excellent dispersed camping setup. It’s free for up to 14 days. I was there in February and the toilets were open, but no other services were available.

There were fantastic views and it was very quiet. It helped that nobody else was there at the end of February 2023. I have no idea why the place was not full. It would be a great place to visit in warmer months.

Another good place to stay is Dick’s RV Park in Great Falls, Montana. Again we were there at the end of February 2023, and we were able to dump our tanks and fill them up with water. Not many RV parks can provide that level of service in the winter.

The staff was very accommodating to us arriving on a Sunday unannounced, yet we still got a good spot close to the restrooms and WIFI. That was all for $39 a night.

Mark Zeisberg
2016 Ford F-250
1997 Shadow Cruiser

We have explored northwest Montana several times over the years. We are zealous boondockers and discovered a spot deserving our return.

Another Full Moon Rise Over Koocanusa Montana

Above: A full moon rise over Lake Koocanusa, Montana

Libby Dam backs up the waters of the Kootenai River creating the beautiful Lake Koocanusa (Kootenai + Canada + USA); a sportsman’s paradise. This part of the country is mostly Forest Service and timber company land and is only about 10 percent privately owned. Working Gaia GPS, we found this site.

Bluffs Of Dodge Creek West Kootenai Montana

Above: Bluffs of Dodge Creek, West Kootenai, Montana

A small access two-track to the west side of the lake (opposite Rexford) bordered private, fenced property, and had a short, loose sand section; just enough to concern most two-wheel drive truck owners. This opened up to multiple stone fire rings (no fires when we were there, too dry) and shaded parking on a bluff about 125 feet above the water.

Dodge Creek Where It Enters Koocanusa Lake Montana

Above: Dodge Creek where it enters Lake Koocanusa in Montana

We found a billy goat trail down to Dodge Creek with a small waterfall where the creek enters the reservoir for fishing and water access. During the hottest part of the day, swimming in the crystal clear water lined with colored stones and cliffs was refreshing like nothing else.

Structure On Ends Of Town Wisdom Montana

Above: Structure on ends Of town, Wisdom, Montana

Near Big Hole National Battlefield, we stopped in the (don’t blink or you’ll miss it) town of Wisdom, Montana. It was our eat-out night, so we went to a tavern and engaged in cultural exchange. Fortunately, the local know-it-all instilled more than dinner and a drink.

Steel Creek, Beaverhead National Forest, Montana

He also directed us to a little used National Forest Service campground, Steel Creek in Beaverhead National Forest. It has the standard tables, fire rings, and several pit toilets and bear boxes. It is set near a small creek at the base of several large rock formations and outcroppings.

Steel Creek Campground, Montana

Scott Hannaford
2018 Ram 2500
2021 Adventurer 89RBS

Butte Mine Tour Montana

We visited Butte, Montana and went on a mine tour that took us underground. The photo above is of the mine shaft tipple at the start of the mine tour. During the tour, they showed us how they mined copper underground.

Butte Mine Tour Montana

There is also a museum that we walked through that has all the old buildings from the mining era. The museum is right near the University of Mining. You drive right through the university grounds to get to this display.

There were apparently over 70 of the shaft tipples in the 1800s when copper was king. I can only imagine seeing all of these on the horizon.

You can take a tour of the city of Butte by trolley. It starts at the Information Center and it’s about an hour long. They show you all the old homes that the copper kings lived in and other historical sites around the city of Butte.

Butte Mine Tunnel Montana

Pictured above is the walkway to the observation platform that overlooks the huge open pit lake that is filled with arsenic from the old mines. Arsenic flows into this lake along with rain and snow melt.

We were told that they were polishing the water. In other words, they are finishing the purification of this water before it is released back into the streams. They are only able to remove so much. They’re also looking into other ways to remove the toxins from this lake. Apparently, they can use the impurities for other uses.

Butte Mine Lake, Montana

We stayed at the KOA at Butte, which was handy. There are a lot of walking trails around Butte. There is also a statue of Louis and Clarke with the First Nations Chief pointing out across the river.

On the other side of the river, there are remnants of a smelter that once made the copper into ingots. There’s still an old powerhouse there where you can look upriver from this park and walk along the trails.

There are so many hiking trails to see the sites. At one spot there is information sharing that there were four or five powerhouses on the river that supplied power to the mines and city.

When leaving Butte, you can stop at the side of the road to read information about the surrounding area. There are still quite a few mine heads to the old mines around the town of Butte. Some towns are gone, but you can walk to them. There is so much to see and do around Butte that there is never enough time.

Great Falls is another nice place to visit, again lots of trails.

David Sponable
1990 Chevy R-3500
1995 Lance Lite 195

This past summer of 2023, I spent twenty days traveling around Montana. I went to interpretive centers, local museums, battlegrounds, state parks, national parks, and many other points of interest. For this report, I will focus on two locations that are quite different.

Montana Old Fort Benton

The first location is Fort Benton, Montana. There is an amazing amount of history to be learned here. I spent three days and three nights at the Fort Benton Canoe Launch Campground. It is located at 205 Fairground Loop, Fort Benton, Montana 59442.

The RV sites are gravel, fairly level, and have 30-amp electric. Water, pit toilets, a dump station ($2), and showers/flush toilets ($2), are available at the nearby fairgrounds building. The cost was $22 per night and it’s self-pay. There is a camp host.

There’s a reasonable amount of space between sites, but little shade. Overall, I found the campground nice. It has a great view of the high bluffs (breaks) of the Missouri River. The campground is close enough to walk to the village and there is a paved path called the Levee Walk that starts at the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center a short distance from the campground.

Bicycling would also be easy as the streets from the campground to the village are not very busy. I rode my on/off-road motorcycle around.

Founded in 1846, Fort Benton was a trading post and the farthest upstream that the large steamboats could travel on the Missouri River. The walking path has several informative panels explaining the history of the buildings, the village, and the surrounding area.

The Chamber of Commerce office is in the original brick firehouse on the main street. The staff is very helpful, and I collected numerous brochures, informational pamphlets, and maps about Fort Benton and the entire state of Montana. I visited several points of interest including the Interpretive Center, Old Fort Benton, Museum of the Upper Missouri, Museum of the Northern Great Plains, and the Grand Union Motel.

The interpretive center has exhibits and information about the natural and cultural history of the upper Missouri River. I spent about two hours there soaking in the information.

Montana The Company Office In Old Fort Benton

The Old Fort Benton is being rebuilt and has several rooms and structures that contain period artifacts, clothing, furniture, and informational panels with explanations of life and trading during its heyday. I found the blacksmith’s shop and the company office very interesting.

Montana A Display In The Starr Gallery

Next door to the Fort is the Museum of the Upper Missouri, Starr Gallery. The museum explains the history of the Fort Benton area. This trading post and village were part of the Wild West in early times. Gangs and outlaws lived and committed crimes in the area. There are newspaper articles and items of significance in the gallery along with other information about day-to-day life and times. There is a lot of information to take in even though the building is not very large. I spent about two-and-a-half hours here and I didn’t read or look at everything displayed.

The Museum of the Northern Great Plains and Agricultural Center is quite large. It explains the history of farming in Montana and the neighboring states, starting with the Homestead Act Days up to modern times. There are numerous tractors, planting devices, plows, harrows, and pieces of harvesting equipment from horse-drawn times to huge engine-powered units. I enjoy seeing and learning about the engineering of machinery, so I spent most of the morning here.

The Hornaday Buffalo (Bison) and Western artwork gallery are located in an attached building on the property. The Buffalo were displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC from 1888 until 1957. The Bison were put in storage and later tracked down, restored and placed on display here in Fort Benton. There’s also a Homestead Village exhibit that recreates a main street of the 1920s.

The Grand Union Hotel Montana

I ate lunch at the historic and restored Grand Union Hotel. It was built in 1882 and has beautiful woodwork in the restaurant and lobby area. It was a beautiful day, so I ate outdoors on the patio overlooking the river. The food was delicious and the prices were reasonable for a tourist town.

I travel with a kayak, so I put it in the river at the campground launch and paddled upstream. I am a reasonably strong paddler, but it was quite a workout going upstream. I found myself thinking about how difficult it must have been for the Lewis and Clark expedition to fight the current on their long journey.

There’s a boat launch downstream from the campground where you could paddle downstream to and take out there, but it probably takes 20 minutes or less to cover that distance. The downstream boat launch is a nice, paved ramp that accommodates power boats on trailers.

Along The Levee Walk Montana

I enjoyed my time at Fort Benton. The campground has everything someone with a truck camper might need; power, water, and a dump station. There’s also a grocery store, laundromat, fuel, and plenty to do close by. The people are friendly, the area offers beautiful views, and the area is steeped in history.

The second location that I will talk about is very different from Fort Benton.

Nelson Creek Recreation Area is a US Army Corps of Engineers campground. I believe that you can stay up to fourteen days and camping is free. The recreation area is on the shore of one of the arms of Fort Peck Lake and is located off Montana Route 24 about 50 miles south of Fort Peck, or 20 miles north of the intersection of Rt. 24 and Rt. 200.

Montana Camping Spot At Nelson Creek

The Nelson Creek Road to the campground is a seven-mile gravel road that was in pretty good shape with some washboard, but nothing severe. The only facilities here are pit toilets. There is no potable water, electricity, or dump station. It’s dry camping only. There isn’t a beach here, although many of the campsites have water access. A paved boat launch is also available for power boat access.

Montana Kayak Across Nelson Creek Bay

Above: Across Nelson Creek Bay, Montana

It was quite hot during the day while I was there in July, but it cooled off during the evenings. I went swimming, kayaking, and rode my on/off-road motorcycle on some of the Fish and Wildlife Service roads in the area. There were places on these so-called “roads” where anything but a dirt bike or quad ATV would not be able to travel through.

Motorcycle Along Fish And Wildlife Service Road Number 496 Nelson Creek Montana

Other roads are dirt and sand. Most four-wheel drive vehicles would be able to access these roads with little problem. The campground was not crowded, and the spaces were fairly far apart. Some people ran generators at times, but the volume was reasonably low.

This area is far from any services, so I suggest that campers be stocked up and prepared to be self-sufficient for the length of their stay. The closest population center with supplies and fuel to the south is Jordan, Montana; about 55 miles away on Route 200. If arriving from the north, I recommend getting supplies and fuel at Glasgow, Montana about 65 miles from the campground. There is lodging and a local convenience store at Fort Peck, but not much else.

Montana Nelson Creek Sunset

I enjoyed my time at Nelson Creek swimming, kayaking, motorcycling, and watching the beautiful sunsets. The lack of light pollution at night allowed me to see the stars and planets in all their glory.

I camped in many different types of places in Montana and enjoyed them all. There is so much history and beautiful landscapes.

The original plan for the summer of 2023 was to spend about 100 days traveling to Glacier National Park and then explore Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories, and then spend about a month in Alaska before returning home to northern New York State.

Plans changed when I started having transmission problems on the Campbell Highway near Faro, Yukon Territory. I managed to get the truck, camper, and enclosed trailer to a campground in Whitehorse, Yukon. I found a 47-year-old used transmission in a salvage yard in Atlin, British Columbia, and installed it into the truck at my campsite with some help from Anthony, an employee of the campground. I greatly appreciate his help and we still keep in touch via texts and pictures.

The process of finding a transmission and acquiring parts to get back on the road is a story in itself. After a test drive, minus the camper and trailer, to Skagway, Alaska, I decided that I should head closer to home rather than farther away. I headed back to Montana and crossed the border at Sweetgrass. I made my way to Shelby where I stayed at Sheloole Campground. It is the city’s RV Park. This is where I decided to travel around Montana instead of heading straight home. I am glad that I continued exploring.

Just before I left on this trip, I wrote down an old saying, “Sometimes the detour is the road that you are meant to travel”. I decided to embrace this attitude when I had problems on my trip.

Casey Myers
2010 Ram 3500
2001 Alpenlite

For a nice little RV park in a ranching/farming town near some Lewis and Clark historic sites, consider a few nights’ stay in Dillon, Montana at our favorite place, Southside RV Park.

There’s a great scenic drive near Dillon. Go south on the freeway to 278 and then take 73 north to Wise River. Along the way, you’ll see a picturesque mountain stream. You can stop at Crystal Park and dig for crystals in a scenic mountain setting. Just south of Dillion is the ghost town of Bannock which is worth a tour.

Helena has a beautiful cathedral and there is a great Indian artifact museum near Ronan, Montana. Here’s the link:

We also have spent several trips camped at the 7th Ranch RV Park just outside of Garryowen, Montana while touring Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Montana is a beautiful state with lots to do.

Dave Riddle
2015 Chevrolet 3500
2017 Host Mammoth

Although it’s been many years, and about three campers ago, we thoroughly enjoyed spending time at Lewis and Clark Caverns near Whitehall, Montana. It is in a state park with an entrance fee, at least for non-residents.

Another very memorable stop was a visit to Big Hole National Battlefield, near Wisdom, Montana. The battle was between the Nez Pearce and the US Army in 1877.

We camped at a nearby forest service campground. What made this particular visit so memorable was a Native American, whose great-grandfather had fought in the battle, telling the story of the battle at the evening campfire. Both places are worth visiting for their historical value. It’s easy to include at least one on a Yellowstone visit.

A final experience would be driving Highway 12 either from Missoula/Lolo, Montana, or Lewiston, Idaho across Lolo Pass. It’s a beautiful drive along the Clearwater River, Lachsa River, and Lolo Creek. There are places to boondock along the way (at least on the Idaho side) and an amazing drive the entire way.

Click here to read about other destinations in the United States, Canada, and around the World.


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