Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Montana

State 24:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is


Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889. The capital is Helena.

We visited Glacier National Park in 2006 on our very first cross country RV trip. The National Park had just opened back up after a wildfire when we arrived at Johnson’s RV Park.  The smell of smoke was heavy in the air and many firefighters were still in the area. Our campsite sat on top of a hill overlooking St. Mary’s Lake.

St. Mary’s Lake

Driving from the eastern entrance of Glacier National Park to the western entrance in West Glacier on the 55 mile long steep and curvy Going to the Sun Road was the highlight of our visit. After wandering around West Glacier we turned around and returned to St. Mary the same way we came. We also enjoyed exploring the St. Mary side of Glacier.

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana

The next year we traveled to Montana again, this time to visit the Little Big Horn National Monument near Hardin. While we were in the area we made a day trip to Big Horn Canyon.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
Little Bighorn Battlefield
Bighorn Canyon

Earlier in that same trip we had gone through snow storms in Minnesota so we kept an eye out the weather after we left Hardin. We made a quick overnight stop in Garrison, Montana. Everything was fine when we went to sleep that night. The next day we woke up to several inches of snow. We were headed west with more snow moving towards us from the east so we skedaddled out of there as fast as we could and arrived safely at our next destination in Washington.

After the storm in Garrison, Montana

Several years later we enjoyed spectacular scenery as we traveled through Montana on the way to Alaska. We spent a night at Cardwell Store and Campground and three nights in Great Falls before crossing into Alberta, Canada about 120 miles north of Great Falls.

Mountains in the distance in Cardwell, Montana
Mountains in the distance in Cardwell, Montana
Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT
Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT
Snow on the mountains between  Butte and Great Falls
It was snowing over the mountains between Butte and Great Falls

In Great Falls we took care of some business and stocked up on supplies before continuing north to Canada and Alaska. We also got to do a little sightseeing.

Statue honoring Lewis and Clark at the Visitor's Center
Statue honoring Lewis and Clark at the Visitor’s Center
Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls and Dam

On our way home from Alaska two and a half months later we spent two more nights in Montana as we traveled east towards Georgia.

A Bear cub with fish in our campsite in St. Regis, Montana
A Bear cub with fish in our campsite in St. Regis, Montana
Montana Sunrise
Montana Sunrise at Camp Three Forks

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri

Washington to Wyoming

Day 96: Monday, August 19, 2013. Currently in Sheridan, Wyoming

Grand Coulee Dam, Washington
Grand Coulee Dam, Washington

Our homeward journey took us through Washington state where we passed by Grand Coulee Dam. We left the state highways behind when we got on I-90 east of Spokane. We traveled through the panhandle of Idaho into Montana where we had several miles of a long, steep grade before crossing the Continental Divide.

Our first night in Montana was at Campground St. Regis where wood carvings are scattered around the campground. As we continued east on I-90 through Montana we passed by a wildfire close to the west bound lanes. Flames could be seen from the interstate and the the fire crews were hard at work. We spent our second night at Camp Three Forks where I woke up to a beautiful Montana Sunrise.

Two nights in Sheridan, Wyoming for chores and then we will continue to be homeward bound.

Days 16 and 17: Here comes the sun!

Days 16 and 17. May 31, 2013 – June 1, 2013. Dick’s RV Park, Great Falls, Montana

If you are receiving email updates and reading this as an email you are missing out on many features of our blog. Please click Wandering Dawgs to view our full featured webpage with much better views of the photos, maps, and more!

Friday was rainy all day but Saturday we finally had a beautiful, warm sunny day.

Unfortunately, Saturday was our last day in the lower 48 before crossing the border into Canada so the morning was spent taking care of all the last minute things we need to do before continuing our trek north.

Once the chores were done we took a tour along the Missouri River on River Road. A busy walking and biking trail runs beside the river. A huge city park near the river was filled with families enjoying the beautiful day. Several parking areas along the road offer great view of sights along the river.

Our drive began at the Welcome Center where a statue honoring Lewis and Clark overlooks the confluence of the Sun and Missouri River. Blondie enjoyed our stop at the city dog park where she could run and play. We stopped at some of the overlooks to view the falls.

This may be our last post for a while. We will be crossing the border into Canada on Sunday, June 1 and will be staying in two national parks without internet.

Day 15: Beautiful Montana

Day 15: May 30, 2013. Cardwell, MT to Great Falls, MT. Dick’s RV Park, Site 81. 190 miles traveled. Over 2000 total miles since leaving Georgia.

By far, this was the most spectacular travel day we have had on this trip. Although it was overcast all day, the rain finally let up for most of the drive. We continued to see pronghorn antelope in the fields and mountains all around.

Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT
Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT

After traveling west on I-90 since Minnesota, we started north on I-15 in Butte, Montana. Overlooking Butte, sitting atop the Continental Divide at 8510 feet above sea level is Our Lady of the Rockies statue. We could see her high up on the mountain beside the interstate.

We crossed the Continental Divide twice today. The first time was we were at 6398 feet and just past Butte. We crossed it again a little later. As we climbed into the higher elevations the trees changed to Lodgepole Pines and the grassy slopes became rocky formations.

As we continued north to Great Falls, we drove out of the mountains to lower elevations. We crossed the Missouri River several times. We saw several semi trucks with tandem trailers, and one with three trailers. We don’t see that at home!

Before we left home we knew we would need to get new tires for the fifth wheel. We stopped at a tire store in Great Falls to get that chore out of the way before we arrive in Canada on Sunday. We had lunch at a Boston’s Restaurant next door to the tire store and less than two hours later we were setting up at Dick’s RV Park.

Day 14: Rainy Day Driving in Montana

Day 14: May 29, 2013. Sheridan, Wyoming to Cardwell, Montana. Cardwell Store and Campground. Site 32. 314 miles traveled.

Today we knew we were truly in the mountains. Henry negotiated steep 6% grades on I-90 in the rain. Off in the distance, between rain showers, we could see the Rocky Mountains. The rain was coming down so hard we couldn’t see them at times. We eventually crossed into the high plains and the Big Sky Country.

We crossed the Little Bighorn River not far from the Little Bighorn National Monument which memorializes the Battle of Little Bighorn where Custer’s Last Stand took place. We also passed a few Lewis and Clark Historical Sites.

The rain finally stopped as we pulled into a small RV park/gas station/store/casino in Cardwell, Montana. We were surrounded by mountains and enjoyed watching magpies and blue birds flying all around. Several rabbits hopped through the campground. We watched a Great Blue Heron flying right over our heads and a Bald Eagle soaring high above the trees.