Fun Travels Across the United States
320 Guest Ranch Launches Fall/Winter Season in Big Sky Country With a New Sensational Rate of $139 Per Night for a Deluxe Log Cabin
Lone Mountain Ranch in the Old American West Style Plus Modern Day Conveniences Offers a True Wild West Experience
Where to Stay
Big Sky Resort:
About Big Sky Resort: Big Sky Resort, established in 1973, is located in the Northern Rockies of southwest Montana between Bozeman, Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Big Sky Resort is the largest ski resort in the United States with 5,800 acres. Big Sky Resort is owned by Boyne Resorts, a Michigan-based corporation and the largest family-run four- season resort company in North America. Boyne Resorts also owns Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, British Columbia; Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and The Inn at Bay Harbor, all in Michigan; Brighton in Utah; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River Resort in Maine; and Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Tennessee.
Latest Events at Big Sky Resort
320 Guest Ranch Launches Fall/Winter Season in Big Sky Country With a New Sensational Rate of $139 Per Night for a Deluxe Log Cabin
Unspoiled, unfettered and unimaginably beautiful, Montana’s Big Sky Country is at its most magical in the Fall and Winter. The historic 320 Guest Ranch is ready with a new seasonal rate that starts at $139 per night in a recently-refurbished deluxe log cabin with two queen beds and stunning views of the Gallatin Mountains and the pristine snow. In effect from October 1 to December 23 and January 5 to May 31, this value-added rate includes free shuttle service to/from the ski slopes of Lone Peak Mountain in Big Sky-Montana’s premier ski experience, which opens on Thanksgiving Day.
Founded in 1898, the historic ranch’s storied past is still present in the rustic lodges and log buildings, fully modernized but still opening a wide window on Montana’s history and heritage. The ranch’s many activities span an array of fall and winter sports and bring a new experience of the American West in a spectacular setting for all seasons. And, the wonders of Yellowstone National Park are just 30 minutes away.
Winter brings its own ethereal beauty and a host of activities: skiing down the mountain slopes of Lone Peak, Nordic skiing through the new powder snow, snowmobiling through the national forest, and ice skating and dog sledding nearby. The Gallatin River runs through the ranch property and superb fly fishing is available, even in winter.
The acclaimed slopes of Lone Peak Mountain in Big Sky offer excellent ski amenities, including 23 chairlifts and 11 surface ski lifts, and 5,750 acres of skiable terrain. The ski area has a summit elevation of 11,166 feet and an annual average snowfall of more than 400 inches.
Now 146 years old, Yellowstone National Park embodies the spirit and rugged beauty of the American West. Winter transforms its open spaces into an otherworldly landscape that is ideal for watching a variety of wildlife, their dark coats standing out against the snow. Not only do the buffalo roam here they take stream baths in the sizzling geysers! Winter is the best time to look for the park’s elusive wolves and there are wolf spotting tours via snow coach to their favorite spots around Yellowstone. Visitors will also see elk, moose, Bighorn Sheep, antelope and a variety of birds, including Bald Eagles. But don’t look for Yellowstone’s legendary bears they are snug in their caves, hibernating.
The 320 Guest Ranch log cabins combine a Wild West vibe with the most modern amenities and spacious, well-appointed bedrooms and living space. Each cabin and mountain chalet are equipped with telephone, desk, flat screen TV and complimentary WiFi. With fully equipped kitchenettes in select cabins and a refrigerator available guests can pre-order groceries delivered to the cabin. Many cabins include wood-burning fireplaces and the ranch provides free firewood. Daily maid service is included. Says General Manager John Richardson, “Though the ranch is modernized we still value our roots and maintain the original log buildings to stay true to our Montana location.” History buffs are welcome to browse through the numerous old photos and reading materials about the ranch
To learn more about the 320 Guest Ranch, call 406-995-4283 or 800-243-0320, or visit www.320ranch.com. To book the 320 Guest Ranch, visit us01.iqwebbook.com/3RMT348/
An array of new improvements such as new runs, a new chairlift and rental delivery services makes accessing the slopes at Big Sky Resort faster and easier. September produced 20 to 24 inches of snow. A nice base is forming on Big Sky’s more than 5,800 acres of skiable terrain and 300 named runs.
This year, there are a few more named runs. Big Sky Resort added three new gladed runs: OxBow, PB&J Way and Wild Bill. One is parallel to Swift Current Chairlift, one is accessible from the North Summit Snowfield and the third is off Horseshoe. Also, Big Sky Resort more than doubled the width of Fast Lane, the main arterial from the Madison Base Area back to the Mountain Village.
One of the most noticeable improvements is the four new carpet lifts installed this year, three at the Mountain Village Base Area and one at the Madison Base Area. One of the carpets is encased in a blue canopy to help protect riders from the elements. Crews are also reconfiguring the base area slightly to allow easier transition from one carpet to the next, and ultimately aiding the transition to a chairlift.
Big Sky Resort will operate a new chairlift in the Ulery’s Lake area called Stagecoach. The double chairlift will service guests staying in the real estate area, and brings the total number of lifts at Big Sky to 36.
However, the improvements go beyond the mountain. The resort continues to improve its slopeside services with a complete renovation of the Big Sky Sports Demo Center. That follows last year’s renovation of the Big Sky Sports rental shop, which created better flow and access for customers renting equipment. Also, Big Sky Resort is adding rental delivery services this season. Guests in select properties will not have to stop at the rental shop first to grab their equipment. Delivery services will fit guests with equipment right at their hotel or condo.
Buying tickets online early leads to the best deals. For information on lift tickets, visit bigskyresort.com/lifttickets.
River Rock Lodge
River Rock Lodge is a charming and welcoming Montana-style lodge located in Meadow Village, Big Sky, Montana. The lodge features an inviting living room lobby with a fireplace and soaring cathedral ceiling, a breakfast room, library, and 29 large, well-appointed guestrooms with wet bars, refrigerators, down comforters, Pendleton Wool blankets and plush terry robes. The luxurious Vista Suite offers a double sided fireplace, jetted tub, double walk-in shower and private balcony. In season, ski shuttles are available to the slopes at Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin. The Lodge is located 45 miles from Yellowstone National Park and 40 miles from Bozeman, Montana, and the Gallatin Field Airport.
To discover more about River Rock Lodge or to make reservations, call 866-995-4455 or visit www.riverrocklodging.com.
River Rock Lodge’s sister company, Resort Property Management, offers a large selection of luxurious vacation homes available for rent in Big Sky’s Meadow Village and up on Lone Peak Mountain. Many offer ski-in, ski-out opportunities.
To learn more about the vacation homes available through Resort Property Management or to make reservations, call 866-995-4455 or visit www.rpmbigsky.com.
The Resort at Paws Up
More like a fairytale than reality, the setting of The Resort at Paws Up in wintertime is truly magical. Here, in addition to unrivalled downhill and cross country skiing you can enjoy an abundance of other enchanting winter excursions. From sleigh rides through the woods, dog sledding in the Blackfoot Valley to ATV snow adventures and ice-skating, this wilderness sanctuary delivers a traditional and truly unforgettable experience. The hotel’s tented Spa Town serves as a wonderful place to relax and unwind at the end of an invigorating day, while the restaurant promises a feast for the senses with delicious cuisine made from the freshest local produce.
For more information, check web site www.slh.com/pawsup) (All ski lifts running)
Lone Mountain Ranch Celebrates its Centennial with New 'a la carte' Experiences for the Perfect Tailor-Made Getaway
Celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, Lone Mountain Ranch, one of the top 20 ranch and nordic destinations in America, is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Located in Big Sky, Montana, it's a longtime favorite destination for travelers looking for an authentic Western getaway - complete with 85 km of award-winning cross country ski trails, sleigh ride dinners and log cabins built before electricity.
Lone Mountain Ranch is celebrating its Centennial anniversary this year by opening their doors to more visitors that ever. Previously only available in all-inclusive, week-long package stays, Lone Mountain Ranch is announcing new ‘a la carte,’ flexible offerings to allow travelers to customize their stays at the historic Ranch. Stay in an authentic log cabin - some from the Ranch’s earliest days as the first homestead in Big Sky, Lone Mountain Ranch and enjoy year-round outdoor adventures including the best nordic and alpine skiing, fly-fishing, horseback adventures, hiking in one of America's natural wonders, dining in seasonal gourmet cuisines and much more.
Marking the onset of the property’s centennial celebration, Lone Mountain Ranch updates also include a revamped saloon where locals can pop in for live music and true customary mountain cuisine from Chef Nick Steen. For equipment rentals, local artisanal clothing and jewelry and Lone Mountain Ranch specialty items, the new Outdoor Shop will now be open seven days a week.
Enviably located only 20 miles from Yellowstone National Park with 25 daily flights coming in to the nearby city of Bozeman, Lone Mountain Ranch is the perfect escape for families, business retreats, weddings and honeymooners or anyone looking to re connect with nature. Year-round guests from all over the world are greeted with authentic luxurious accommodations, local and seasonal gourmet cuisine, and an array of outdoor activities including Nordic and alpine skiing, fly-fishing, mountain biking, sleigh rides and horseback adventures.
For more information about Lone Mountain Ranch, visit www.lonemountainranch.com, follow on @lonemtnranch or join on www.facebook.com/lonemountainranch>Facebook.
About Lone Mountain Ranch:
The legendary Lone Mountain Ranch is a rustic luxury guest ranch blending authentic Western heritage with deluxe hospitality service in Big Sky, Montana. Since 1915, Lone Mountain Ranch has offered some of the breathtaking natural views and expansive trails in North America, located at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Upscale private cabins, gourmet local and seasonal dining and a wide range of outdoor adventure and relaxation experiences are available to guests 365 days a year, no membership required. Lone Mountain Ranch was voted the #1 Nordic skiing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout 2015, Lone Mountain Ranch will celebrate ‘100 Years in Big Sky.’ Lone Mountain Ranch is owned and operated by the visionaries at Makar Properties, LLC. For more information, visit www.lonemountainranch.com.
Lone Mountain Ranch in the Old American West Style Plus Modern Day Conveniences & a True Wild West Experience
A hundred years ago recreational activities in the old American West were filled with fishing, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and true nature-based, community adventure. Fast forward to today in the unincorporated town of Big Sky, Montana and you'll find the same -- but lots more! Lone Mountain Ranch - a direct, short flight to a legendary guest ranch, is located on 148 acres of pristine snow-capped terrain. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lone Mountain Ranch - originally homesteaded in 1915 - offers a true Wild West experience with the same amenities of a modern day resort.
Rich history Lone Mountain Ranch is an important piece of Montana heritage, and will mark its centennial anniversary this year. It has evolved from a homestead to a dude ranch to a boys camp to a highly sought vacation spot all while offering unparalleled adventure and exceptional service. Many of the original 1915 structures from the Ranch’s period as a homestead including the very first cabin on the property and many of the design elements are still in place today.
Incredible location - Lone Mountain Ranch has some of the most breathtaking views and expansive trails in North America (it's literally the gateway to Yellowstone National Park). Big Sky also offers the biggest skiing mountain in the nation - and Lone Mountain Ranch alone offers a scenic and diverse 85 km trail system (skiing right past a group of bison isn't uncommon).
Unparalleled Adventure - There is a huge array of experiences we create and curate for guests, from winter sleigh rides and Nordic and Alpine skiing to summer fly-fishing and hiking adventures - visitors can experience the West in the way that feels true to them. Then when they make it back to the lodge, they're greeted with 5-star accommodations, local and seasonal gourmet cuisine and the kind of rustic warmth that only happens in the true American West.
And with a variety of packages - from an all-inclusive, week long family vacation to a romance getaway, to a ski, sleigh and stay package - there is something for every type of traveler. The only thing all of Lone Mountain Ranch guests really have in common is an adventurous heart and love for the land.
What to See & Do
Fly-fishing Instruction, Casting, Fishing in Blue Ribbon Trout Streams with Noted Outfitter, Brian Kimmel
Southwest Montana’s blue-ribbon trout streams and trophy trout lakes offer some of the most challenging yet rewarding trout fishing in the world! When it comes to learning about the Zen of flying fishing, Brian Kimmel may be one of the very best persons in Montana to connect with. A native of Montana and a fisherman since he was 5, yes age 5, Kimmel has invested 30 years in learning the waters and fish habits of the trout-filled rivers that flow through the Big Sky state.
It’s not just us saying so he has been featured on Fly Fishing of America television and Great Outdoor Games television, as well as in countless magazine articles and during public speaking opportunities. In fact, Brian is recognized by the leader in the fly fishing industry, the Orvis Company, as one of the very best guides in the fresh water world. He is the recipient of the coveted “Orvis Guide of the Year” award, given annually for excellence in guide development and providing an exceptional outdoor experience.
Kimmel offers fly fishers -- from the novice to the most discriminating -- an adventure of a lifetime. He customizes the instruction to meet the needs of each guest. Angler’s can learn to become one with hard fighting southwest Montana trout, the region’s solitude and achingly beautiful surroundings, while promoting a deep respect for the natural balance and harmony of the river and its wild environment. Fly fishing instruction packages are available June through October, weather permitting.
To learn more about the Getaway to Grow Wildlife Safari, Yellowstone Excursion or Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing package opportunities, contact Susie Leach, general manager, at 406-995-4455 or 866-995-4455 or visit www.riverrocklodging.com.
Skiing through the trees was an objective of Big Sky Resorts Mountain Operations Department as they expanded the Resort?s skiable acres to 5,800. Enhancing the tree skiing experience through extensive glading will bring new runs and more fun for intermediates to experts this winter season. The expanded terrain will be included on the new trail map design revealing a different aspect of Big Sky's terrain and the new runs.
The Southern Comfort chair lift, off of Andesite Mountain, saw the most improvement through glading with two new intermediate runs. The new 'Lizette' run is located between the runs Deep South and Sacajawea and the new 'Pomp' run is located between Sacajawea and El Dorado runs. Both runs are named after Sacajawea's children. A section of the Ponderosa was also widened.
Another new intermediate gladed run can be found between the runs, Lower Morning Star and Mr. K, named 'Lois Lane.' A new black diamond run named 'Soul Hole' can be discovered between Lobo and Calamity Jane runs. Both of these new runs are accessed via Swift Current chair lift on Lone Mountain.
The Mountain Operations crew upgraded the tree run, Tango Trees, below the Lone Peak Triple lift through selected thinning and removal of standing dead trees in the previously gladed area. On the southern exposure of Lone Peak, the crew did careful thinning of select trees on the Dakota Gully run. It will now be regularly groomed, changing its designation to “intermediate” allowing more skiers/riders to enjoy the Dakota chair lift.
“Another goal beyond improving the tree skiing experience was to continue to promote healthy forest and improve wildlife habitat,” said Mike Unruh, Mountain Operations Director at Big Sky Resort.
In addition to the four new ski runs and expanded skiable terrain, a new trail map will be revealed this winter season rendering majority of Big Sky Resort's terrain on a single side of the trial map with two additional insets of Lone Peak. The insets will focus on the southern face of the Shedhorn/Dakota area and the eastern face the more technical and advance runs.
“The most important element of a trail map is to show the trail system in the clearest and simplest way” explains Jim Niehues, resort illustrator who designed the new map. “The representation of the slopes, how it skis, the feeling you get from skiing the different terrain...the essence of the Mountain.” Niehues continues, “The new trail map image breaks the mountain into three very distinct areas and the transition from one section to the other is easily followed. I am very proud of the new image.”
Billings, a county seat, is a major trading center for a vast area of southeastern Montana. It was named for Frederick Billings, lawyer, railway promoter, and philanthropist. He was one of the original stockholders of the Northern Pacific Railway and secured the right-of-way for that line to cross Montana. In 1879 he became president of the company. (from Cheney’s Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
Bordered on the north by distinctive rock formations known as rimrocks, Billings was established in 1882 with the coming of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Two years later the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroads arrived and further boosted the economy. Today it is a major shipping center for cattle and other agricultural products. Billings is where Montana Territory began, and where your historical and cultural passport to the legendary West begins. Use Billings as a central point to the best western attractions, events, hospitality, shopping and cuisine.
Regional accommodations specialize in making the road-weary traveler feel welcome and safe. Put up your feet, kick back, and relax at one of the many and varied hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and historic lodges in and around Billings.
What to See & Do
is a modern concert, trade show and rodeo arena, surrounded by the fairgrounds, pari-mutuel horse-race track and superbarn complex. New Expo Center and Pavilion buildings overlook a relaxing lake park. MetraPark is a stellar entertainment complex, home of the state's largest event Montana Fair.
The Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts
is the largest theater between Minneapolis and Spokane. It recently acquired the largest movie screen in that area. The theater presents hundreds of productions yearly, with over half of them performed by national and international professional touring companies. From Broadway musicals to African dance, the Alberta Bair Theater has it all!
The Yellowstone Art Museum
is a unique and important visual arts center for Montana and the surrounding region. Founded in 1964 by a local group, it is now a fully-accredited museum. Success has caused the Yellowstone Art Museum, to outgrow its facility; and has recently undergone $6.2 million expansion.
The Moss Mansion
captures turn-of-the-century life when the Preston Boyd Moss family lived in the 1903 red sandstone structure. Visitors see original draperies, fixtures, furniture, Persian carpets, wall coverings and artifacts during one-hour guided tours. Seasonal exhibits are featured . Designed by the famous American architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Western Heritage Center
Visit “Our Place in the West: Places, Pasts and Images of the Yellowstone Valley 1880-1940.” Discover the past with interactive computers, hands-on exhibits, videos and a theater.
Montana's only wildlife park is nestled in 70 acres of lush Montana green. Follow Canyon Creek along Zoo Montana's winding nature trail. Then stop and watch the otters play as you discover the native and exotic animals in their natural habitats. Whether you're looking for bronco busting rodeo action or the relaxation of fishing or hunting, you'll be in good company around Billings. Watch Montana's wildlife by grabbing your binoculars and heading to the plains or hiking in the mountains that surround Billings.
Billings is the gateway to
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Bighorn National Recreation Area, Yellowstone Park, the Yellowstone River and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.
Here, vast ranches, farmland and stockyards are situated just outside the conveniences of a modern city. Billings features broad, treelined avenues and the metropolitan flavor of Montana's tallest buildings. Billings is easily accessible by air or interstate highway.
Where to Eat
Two Dog Flats Restaurant
While staying at magnificent Glacier National Park in July 2016, my husband and I ate at this restaurant located on the east side of the park. It was convenient to walk to it from the cabin we rented, and we ate there several times during our stay - breakfast, lunch and dinner - rather than drive to the west side or leave the park to search for another place to eat. We weren't disappointed with any of the meals, for the view of the mountains and the friendliness and efficient servers added to our pleasure. The menu is limited, but there's something for everyone. Prices are a bit on the high side, but that's expected since most visitors realize quickly that driving elsewhere is long and tiring. A bonus at this restaurant is free WiFi - and the servers were always kind enough to let us sit at the table after finishing our meal to check for e-mails. If you're staying at the park's Rising Sun Motel or Cabins, it's just a short walk (3 minutes) to get to the restaurant.
Where to Stay
Rising Sun Motor Inn ad Cabins
We tried to reserve a motel or hotel room 6 months before we expected to arrive, but all but one accommodation was available - a cabin. We knew in advance it only had a double bed and bathroom, but were shocked when we walked in a found a tiny room with a desk at one end, a sink in the middle of the room, and one chair at the other end. Fortunately there were two windows with greenery outside, but it was impossible for us to pass each other in the room without one of us sitting on the bed. Equally crazy was the shower alongside the toilet bowl. It was so small that I couldn't bend down to wash my feet!!! And I'm only 5'6" tall. My husband, who is 6' tall really had a bad time of it trying to soap up and rinse and couldn't bend down at all. Aside from these downers, it was clean and maid service changed the towels each day - but the steps going into the cabin were extremely high and without a railing, I had to grab my husband's hand so as not to fall. The inside of the cabin was what you'd call 'rustic' or just dingy - but since we had no choice, we made the best of it since we were right inside Glacier Natioinal Park and were out from early morning to late evening driving the Rising Sun road which is fantastic and exciting.
If you go, try to make your reservation a year in advance to assure a motel accommodation or a hotel on the west side of the park.
For information and reservations: Glacier National Park Lodge, P.O. Box 2990, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.; phone (406-732-5523 or (855) 733-4522.
Where to Eat (Restaurants I tried)
The Raven Grill & Bar
The decor here is tired-looking and unappealing, and as the server recited the specials, he didn't include the prices. Having looked over the menu a minute before, we asked him the difference between the 'special' rib eye steak and the one on the menu. We were told the special had a sauce on it for $10 more. We opted for the one on the menu because $60 just for the steak dish was costly enough without spending an extra $10. We also had to ask what kind of potatoes came with the dinner because we couldn't decifer the definition on the menu. It was simply scalloped potatoes given a fancy name. Dinner came with a salad that was plain iceberg lettuce with a sprinkling of shredded carrots on top and a couple of cherry tomatoes - with the only dressing available - the house dressing that was tasteless. When our main course arrived, we were pleased because the steak was huge. We quickly found out that besides being difficult to cut, it consisted of 60% FAT. Even though the little we could eat was tasty, the entire meal was a true disappointment. The "included" bread listed on the menu was just a piece of cold Pita bread sliced in half. We would have returned the steak, but the server never came back - until he cleared the table, noticed all the fat remaining and never asked how everything was. Our impression: This restaurant charges high prices for what we considered poor quality food, acts snooty, and the noise level was very high. Our meal, that was extremely costly for what we got, was totally unenjoyable, and the worst steaks we ever got. If you want to eat here, sit at the bar in a separate room where it is a bit quieter, although we were told the menu is the same.
Location: 118 Park Sreet, Gardiner, MT 59030, 406-848-9171
The food was so good and so reasonably priced, that we ate here twice. The dining area is rustic but nice, the servers were friendly, and service was fast. If you're alone, they even offer a free town newspaper that you can read while you dine. My husband ordered a fish platter that came with a huge piece of fish and several large shrimp, plus fries. I had the Prime Rib sandwich complete with horseradish sauce and dipping juice, plus the fries. Everything was served hot, was tasty and the entire staff and atmosphere made this our 'come back to' place to dine if we ever visit the area again.
Location: 303 2nd Street Souoth, Gardiner, MT 59030; 406-848-9175
Location: Gardiner Market, 701 Scott St, Gardiner, MT 59030-7775
Located right outside Yellowstone National Park, campers - and those who stay in motels and hotels in this town - will find everything they need - from groceries, firewood, insect spray & more - in this small but well-stocked market. It's also good for those who book motels with microwave ovens & refrigerators (as we did) so you can buy juice, muffins, etc. & have it in your room for breakfast. Saves a lot of money and time instead of going out for breakfast. Also saves lots of money from buying staples at the Yellowstone Nat'l Park's camp store. Great selection of sandwiches, meats, cheeses and more for making breakfast, lunch or dinner as well as snacks.
Helena owes its existence to the discovery of placer gold, quartz gold, silver, and lead. Helena became the “Queen City of the Rockies” with the boom brought on by the 1864 gold strike. The first gold strike came in 1852 in Deer Lodge Valley; however, the rush for gold in Montana didn't start until 1862 with the strike at Bannack. In 1864 a group known as the “Four Georgians” (John Cowan, Daniel Jackson Miller, John Crab, and Reginald, or Robert Stanley) stumbled upon gold in what is now Helena's main street. The claim was staked and named “Last Chance Gulch.” The “Four Georgians” worked the gulch until 1867, when they went back East, taking large amounts of dust with them.
As the gulch began to fill with people, the miners decided they needed to come up with a name for the town. The “Four Georgians” originally named it Crabtown after John Crab, one of the founders. Searching for a new name, the miners decided on a name of a town in Minnesota, pronounced Saint Hel-E-na. The pronunciation changed, emphasizing the first syllable of Helena, and “Saint” was dropped from the name.
In 1875, Helena became the capital of Montana Territory. When Montana became a state, the fight for the location of the state capital pitted ‘Copper King' Marcus Daly of Anaconda against rival William A. Clark, who supported Helena. Helena won, and in October 1898, ground was broken for the State Capitol Building.
What to See & Do
The historic downtown area of the capital city is situated in a steep gulch with parts of the city perched on surrounding hillsides. This picturesque setting opens up into a wide valley to the north. On the upper-eastside sits Montana's State Capitol.
The State Capitol building
is an excellent example of Greek Renaissance architecture, and the murals inside depict Montana historical themes. Helena's glorious past can also be seen in the spectacular 19th-century mansions, historic Last Chance Gulch businesses, and restored pioneer dwellings.
The Last Chance Tour Train
features informative, entertaining tours of the city. The tour begins at the Montana Historical Society. A one-hour train ride provides a spectacular tour of the Capital City, complete with a lesson in Helena's colorful history.
The St. Helena Cathedral
an imposing edifice, overlooks the downtown area. Modeled after the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, and a replica of the Votive Church in Vienna, the cathedral is a magnificent addition to its Rocky Mountain setting. Stained glass windows, white marble altars, statues, and genuine gold leaf decorate the sanctuary. Outside, majestic twin spires rise 230 feet above the street.
Original Governor's Mansion
constructed, in 1888 concentrate on the history of the house and its furnishings. It contains 20 rooms and seven fireplaces, all restored to turn-of-the-century elegance and furnished with antiques and holds tours.
The Montana Historical Society
founded in 1865, houses one of the country's most important collections of Charles M. Russell art in the Mackay Gallery; the Haynes Gallery features the life and work of noted frontier photographer F. Jay Haynes.
The Museum of Gold
collection at Norwest Bank displays gold dust to nuggets as big as 244 ounces. This tribute to Montana pioneers is valued at $600,000. The Helena area is known for sapphires as well as gold. By 1888, an estimated 50 millionaires made Helena their home. Last Chance Gulch produced an estimated $3.6 billion (in today's dollars) in gold over a 20-year period. The Spokane Bar Mine is one of half a dozen digging sites, and numerous old mines and settlements exist nearby. The Archie Bray Foundation was established in 1951 on the site of a brick factory and attracts artist from around the world. Tour the studios and grounds of this unique endeavorin the ceramic arts.
The Missouri River
flows nearby with several lakes within a short driving distance.
Holter and Hauser Lakes
created by two of the three dams on the Missouri River in the Helena area, are perfect for outdoor recreation including fishing, swimming, camping, water-skiing and boating.
Canyon Ferry Lake
just 20 minutes east of Helena, is a large reservoir on the Missouri River that offers recreation in all forms.
Camping, sailing, boating, swimming and fishing
are just the start. You'll also see ice boaters here in the winter.
Gates of the Mountains
as Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River in this area, Meriwether Lewis was struck by the steep canyon walls and noted ‘the Gates of the Mountains' in his journal. Boat tours are available at the Gates of the Mountains, 16 miles north of Helena off I-15.
Helena is just eight miles from the Continental Divide, and it is surrounded by mountains and National Forest Service land. The Elkhorn Wildlife Management Area, managed by the National Forest System, is a 129,000-acre area that is home to many indigenous animals, including big game. Elevation: 4,090 feet.
Where to Eat
We stopped by Eddies Corner for gas but decided to go inside the diner nearby for lunch. We were happy we did because this cozy place welcomed us with friendly smiles and the food was ample and delicious. We both ordered omeletts that came with fries and were huge portions complete with our choice of toast. The coffee was also excellent and our server kept coming by to refill the cups.
This place was built by Eddie McConnell in 1949 when he realized the potential of "The Crossroads of Central Montana." in 1951 the property was purchased by the Bauman family and with a few exceptions prior to February 2014, the doors had not been locked in all those years - due to the efforts to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-long, no matter what time of day.The gas and diesel is also available 24 hours with a credit card.
Inside, you'll find a group of pictures on the wall that show the many changes to the corner over the years. Eddies Corner offers a full line of home cooked foods - nothing is pre-made, pre-cooked, or frozen. Meats, salads, soups and stes are 'from scratch.' Since we felt the coffee was outstanding, we mentioned it - and were told that the restaurant has a naturally soft water artesian well that was drilled in 1958 and is 1375 feet deep.
If you feel like a bit of gambling, try one of the poker or keno machines in the lounge, or pick up a snack for the road, or buy a souvenir for friends or relatives. Motel rooms, a laundromat, shower facilities, RV parking and a 50 ton truck scale are also available.
Location: 65000 US Highway 87, Moore, Montana 59464
Where to Stay
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
Family vacations are a great thing, but sometimes a quiet retreat is in order. Couples and singles looking for an adults-only vacation this fall need look no further than Mountain Sky Ranch.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is nestled in the heart of Paradise Valley, within 8,000 acres of beautiful, rugged countryside and less than an hour away from Yellowstone National Park. The historic cattle ranch first began welcoming guests in 1929 - and some of the guest cabins date back to that first year. While these historic structures are reminders of the early American West, the services and amenities offered at the ranch are those of an upscale guest ranch resort. From savory gourmet meals to barbecues, the dinner menu at Mountain Sky features the finest in continental and Western cuisine.
Guests can choose to relax in their cabins, or take part in a variety of activities including guided hikes or horseback rides, fly fishing instruction, yoga sessions, two-step dance instruction with the wranglers, or a tour of Yellowstone Park. Depending on the day's offerings, guests may also choose to journey to the historic Vink Ranch for a tour of refurbished buildings dating back to the early 1900s, ride or hike to an authentic barbecue dinner, or experience the crisp fall air on a morning ride or hike ending with a hearty breakfast and a steaming cup of coffee cooked over a cozy campfire. Evenings at Mountain Sky include a hors d’oeuvres hayride, guitar music around the lounge fireplace or simply relaxing in a welcoming guest cabin.
For more information on the Take Me Away Getaway Package for couples or singles call 800-548-3392 or visit www.mtnsky.com.