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skibumette Jun 26th, 2006 01:57 PM

best route to Great Falls MT
We're traveling from Yellowstone/Gardiner to Great Falls and trying to decide whether to drive up Route 89, which includes the Kings Hill Scenic Byway -- or to take I-90 to Three Forks (stopping at Missouri Headwaters Park), then 287 to Helena and I-15 to Great Falls. Although 30 miles longer, this could also allow boat trip at Gates of the Mountains for Lewis & Clark buffs. Recommendations? Thanx!

kureiff Jun 26th, 2006 02:03 PM

Both ways are nice.

I just travelled Three Forks to Great Falls last night after my husband got done kayaking near Three Forks approximately three hours after he said he would be done. But that's not your question. :)

Kings Hill scenic byway is a nice road and it's a pretty drive. But I actually prefer the route from Three Forks to Helena and then I-15 to GF. Although, just be aware that the road between Three Forks and Townsend is under heavy construction for about a 15 mile stretch.

The Gates of the Mountains tour is fun. Also interesting is Mann Gulch if you've read Norman McLean's book "Young Men and Fire."

The trip from Helena to GF on I-15 is beautiful. Most of the trip is through a canyon and along the river. It's especially green right now. You can watch all of the fly fishermen on your way to Great Falls.

Be and sure and check out the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. Have a great trip!

kureiff Jun 26th, 2006 02:04 PM

Forgot to add that even though the second route is 30 miles longer, it will probably take the same amount of time or less due to the interstate.

bob_brown Jun 26th, 2006 02:04 PM

US 287 is no bargain. I tried it once and have stayed off of it ever since.

I get off of I 90 and take state route 69 to a little town called Boulder where I join I 15 and follow it to Great Falls.

US 89 is not much slower because the speed limit on Montana highways is usually more than you want to drive anyhow except in short stretches.

The last time I was in Montana, most limits were 70 mph and I would not want to drive over 65 on some of those roads.

US 89 goes through the Belt Mountains and you get some added scenery.

kureiff Jun 26th, 2006 02:14 PM

Three Forks to Great Falls along 287 takes about two and half hours.

Three Forks to the turnoff to hwy 69 and then through Boulder takes two hours and forty minutes.

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