It’s no secret that Montana is home to some of the most beautiful views the country has to offer, especially here in the valley where we live. While other parts of the state offer sweeping views of endless prairie, Belgrade and it’s surrounding areas bring 360° mountain views, deep-cut canyons, rolling countryside, abundant wildlife, and raging rivers for the interested sightseer. One of the best ways to soak them all in is merely taking a good drive, which anyone who lives in Montana knows, is required if you want to get just about anywhere other than down the road. That’s why today we’re looking at the most scenic drives near the Belgrade area.
The Bozeman Pass
If you’re looking for an excuse to hit the open road, give the Bozeman Pass a try. Like many roads, this one can get gnarly in the winter months and is best enjoyed in spring and summer. For any drive, make June a priority as the rainy season has turned the grass lush colors of green that haven’t dried out yet. Our best tip? Go at sunrise. We promise that the view of the sun rising over the ridge of the mountains will be well worth any bit of grogginess you may feel.
Take the pass just 30 minutes down the road, and you’ll end up in Livingston, a place that is quickly becoming one of Montana’s best gems as areas like Bozeman become more and more full. Pop into Coffee Crossing for one of the best lattes in the state, grab brunch at Gill’s or hit Faye’s for a more vegetarian and vegan-friendly option that will still knock your socks off.
This one is especially great as it sits just a few minutes outside of town, and you can technically be on the pass in less than 15 minutes from downtown Belgrade. She winds past famous landmarks like the M and Drinking Horse Trail and continues down into the canyon, leading you through the Bridgers one stunning view at a time.
You can take her to the Bridger Mountains for some skiing in the wintertime or go all the way to the Gallatin National Forest. Bridger Canyon is especially great for the outdoor enthusiast, as anyone who’s looking to get out of the car for a bit can enjoy ice climbing, skiing, biking, and hiking in the summer months.
If once you reached Livingston via the Bozeman Pass and still have a little adventure left in you, you could hook a right off the interstate and make your way down Highway 89 through Paradise Valley for some of the state’s most staggering sites. Something about this valley feels incredibly magical.
The Gallatin and Absaroka mountain ranges seem to rise up out of the Earth just off the edges of the highway on either side, creating a sense of quiet smallness as you drive through the winding valley alongside the Yellowstone River. Stop off at the Old Saloon, established in 1902, for a hometown vibe and stiff cocktail, or treat yourself to a soak in one of the nearby hot springs.
Most of the locals in Belgrade know there are two ways to get to Bozeman, either via the interstate or down Jackrabbit. But instead of turning towards Bozeman when heading down the latter, we highly suggest you just keep on going and immerse yourself in Gallatin Gateway.
The ribbon of Highway 191 runs through the valley as you head for Big Sky, cutting through the canyon and lacing its way along the Gallatin River. Viewers can appreciate massive cliffs that shoot up from either side of the road, the quickly changing water, and the deep, expansive valleys along the way. Top your trip off in the summertime with a hike at Lava Lake or Oussel Falls, or in the winter, head on up to Big Sky for a local brew at Beehive Basin or a posh cocktail at Olive B’s.
Have a favorite route when it comes to taking in the scenery? Tell us in the comments!