Plan an escape from school with a well-deserved road trip. Whether it’s a quick Saturday or a three-day excursion, southwest Montana has plenty to offer. So grab your posse and pack some munchies—there’s plenty to see within a short drive from campus.
45 min. from Bozeman
No need to wait for ski season to check out this cool mountain village. Take Hwy. 191 through Gallatin Canyon, and hang a right at the stop light. A short jaunt brings you to the Meadow Village and Town Center for concerts, art shows, and shopping. Continue up to Big Sky Resort, known for amazing skiing in the winter and hiking, biking, and ziplining the rest of the year.
1.75 hours from Bozeman
Whether you’re headed into Yellowstone Park or not, West Yellowstone is a great day trip. Take Hwy. 191 past Big Sky and you’ll run right into this historic Western town. Stroll the main drag, grab some grub, and wash it down with huckleberry ice cream. Fly fish, go for a hike in the Park, or ride some of the area’s excellent biking trails. Come back to cross-country ski or take a snowmobile tour once winter hits.
1 hour from Bozeman
Named for a gold miner that no one can remember, Pony embodies the humble small- town personality of Montana. Take Huffine Lane west through Four Corners, which brings you to Norris Hot Springs, a year- round destination where you can catch live music under the stars Friday-Sunday nights. Continue a few miles and hang a right on Hwy. 287. When you hit Harrison, turn left on Pony Road. Prepare for a walk back in time as you snap photos of historic buildings, hike up to abandoned mines, and fish for trout in the crystal-clear waters of the Tobacco Root Mountains. Top it all off with a cold one at the locally famous Pony Bar.
2.5 hours from Bozeman
Red Lodge is a gem of a mountain town with plenty to do, and it’s well worth the drive. The downtown resembles Bozeman’s own historic district, with the bonus of being situated against the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains, home of the breathtaking Beartooth Highway. Take I-90 to Columbus, then head south and amble along a cool two- line highway, winding through various small towns. Get to Red Lodge in time for breakfast at Cafe Regis, the best morning meal around. Hike, bike, and climb all day, then take your chances with the rootin’, tootin’, gun-slingin’ folk at the Snow Creek Saloon. (Hot tip: To avoid sounding like a tourist, pronounce it crick.)