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Aug 5th, 2012, 06:45 AM
  #1
123
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Montana

We are going to Montana the 22nd of September to Oct. 6th. We need help with an itinerary, such as short hikes, where to go for the best scenery, good places to eat, and where to stay. Thank you for your help.
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Aug 5th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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How are you getting there and where are you coming from?
You may be too late to be able to go over the Going to the Sun Road. You will be able to drive up as far as Lake McDonald from Whitefish.
My favorite way to arrive in Whitefish is on the Amtrak Empire Builder.
My DW and I spent our 30th anniversary at the Meadow Lake resort near Columbia Falls, Montana.
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Aug 5th, 2012, 08:50 AM
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For scenery, Glacier is a must, but as already mentioned, the road through the park may be closed.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/4235940274/
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Aug 5th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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I think you may be too late for the Going to the Sun Road from the west side, although you may be able to access it from the east side if you drive from Whitefish around Highway 2. It's worth a visit to the east side of the park as it's much more scenic than the west side.

http://www.hikinginglacier.com/glaci...e-sun-road.htm
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Aug 5th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Montana's a big state. Are you going to Glacier? I didn't see that in the title or body of your post but everyone so far has replied regarding that area. I ask simply because I've had people ask me personally about Montana when they really should be asking about Wyoming since Yellowstone is where they want to go.

If you are going to Glacier and will be on the east side, and have a passport, we really enjoyed going up to Waterton when we were out that way last year. It was early September and still quite warm. I don't know how it might be later in the month. And I'm sure it varies from year to year.

A bit more detail from you would help people give you more specific answers.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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We're flying into Billings, and renting a vehicle. We're not planning to go to Yellowstone. We do want to go to Glacier. Have we made our plans for Montana a couple of weeks too late?
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Aug 6th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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As others have said, the Going to the Sun Road may be closed by then due to snow, but you never know. In any event, be sure to rent a car with 4WD, just in case.

You seem to have a lot of time. Is there some reason you were not also considering Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons?

I think you'll be surrounded with beautiful fall colors at that time of year, wherever you go in the area, and there will be plenty of hikes to choose from. Just check out the Visitors' Center.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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I have to echo panecott's question re: Yellowstone and the Tetons. Even if the 22nd and the 6th are flying days, you'll still have 13 days. You might want to at least consider including these 2 in case there are snow issues in Glacier.

As to whether or not you've planned your trip to Glacier for a couple of weeks too late - maybe, maybe not. Last year was unseasonably hot when were there the first week of September. We wore shorts every day, and many of the animals were still up at the higher elevations.

The same was true of Yellowstone during the middle of September, the Tetons and even down into SW Colorado around Ouray at last of the month. We had hoped to see the aspens in full color but only the ones at the highest elevations in Colorado had begun to turn.

This year could be the same, or it could snow, or anything in between. I'd say your best bet is keep an eye on the weather forecasts and be ready to change your plans/destinations, if you need to. Unless you've been to YS and the Tetons before, or for some other reason just don't want to go there, you wouldn't be facing a ruined trip if you had to skip Glacier or cut your time there short and go to YS instead. IMHO

While we found Glacier to be beautiful, we still prefer YS and the Tetons. We've been to YS in 3 seasons, lacking only Spring. We missed the Tetons the winter we went to YS but the logistics and time constraints made it impossible to include them. Still want to see them covered in snow.

That whole area is such a beautiful part of our country, with tons of hikes (easy to extreme), that wherever you end up I think you'll enjoy it.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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Even if Going-to-the Sun is closed, the drive was east to west via East Glacier is nice trip. Not as scenic as the other, but still interesting. And, as noted above, Waterton is well worth it if you have time.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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Go to the Little Big Horn Battlefield, south of Hardin.

Tip: MT is very big.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 06:27 PM
  #11
123
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Thank you for the info and slide shows. Any more info you have to help us enjoy the state of Montana would be appreciated. Thanks again!
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Aug 7th, 2012, 03:17 PM
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Billings does not offer much. Has A WalMart on the west side of town and a Costco not far from the airport.

Residence Inn (refuse a room over the industrial dryers...earthquake level shaking all day/night.)Stay here either first night or last night if rtning to fly out of Billings.

You could go southwest a little ways first night after getting supplies (get everything you need here as it will be cheaper, more available) in Billings to Red Lodge & stay a couple of nights at Blue Sky Cabins to see the wildlife, scenery...you need to bring your own supplies for food..they only provide breakfast.

http://www.blueskycabins.com/

Then you could go south on BearTooth Hiway depending on the weather.
http://www.beartoothhighway.com/

When you reach the end of Beartooth, you can go into Yellowstone or if the weather/road is good go North thru part of Yellowstone, thru Bozeman a cute college town with nice amenities and hiking, then on to Glacier.

http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/...llegetown,218/

Some hints: As said above, Montana is a Big state with lots of driving: seriously check your distances... Small towns take their speed limits & Police duties seriously...just luv giving tickets to visitors.

Keep an eye on the gas tank and plan for gas stops. Gas Buddy an Iphone app is helpful.

Also weather, animals and roads are unpredictable. Plan for a radio/internet or telephone road check. Many places do not have internet or cellphone.

Remeber animals are unpredictable...driving at night, dusk or dawn can be life threatening for you and the animal...having an SUV helps (check Ins coverage)so be preapred.
Healthcare is also very isolated.








http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/...llegetown,218/
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Aug 7th, 2012, 03:37 PM
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A few miles south of the small town of St. Mary on US89 we encountered a whole herd of horses on the highway. They were licking the salt off the highway near MP 20.It took several minutes to get past them and on our way again.
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Aug 8th, 2012, 08:24 PM
  #14
123
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Thank you for your help and slide shows. It will really help us make plans for the trip.
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