Located at The Bridge near Three Forks (if you don’t know what we’re talking about, you’ll just have to head to the festival grounds to see the unusual backdrop), Rockin’ the Rivers really is rockin’. The lineup keeps things pumping well into the night, and you’ll love the headliners this year—everyone from Cheap Trick to Dead Fervor will be coming out to play. But there’s more to an event than just the music. Here’s the rundown of everything you need to know about the festival and how to prepare.
Small-town charm runs rampant at the Manhattan Potato Festival. Manhattan has been around since the mid-1800s and is a town that has been home to a diverse range of ranchers and farmers. An earthquake in 1925 destroyed many of the town’s original buildings, so the main drag has a distinct 1920s feel. Old US 10 passes right through Main Street, and there’s a whole lot of quaintness to check out. Immigrants from the Netherlands arrived in the Gallatin Valley in the 1800s, ready to grow barley for nearby malters, and the agricultural industry grew from there.
Held the third weekend in July, Bannack Days celebrates the history of this local ghost town, a testament to days gone by and the frontier past that is still alive in the region. The town was founded in 1862 when John White struck gold (well, panned it) in Grasshopper Creek. Prospectors made a rush to Bannack, hoping to strike it rich too, and with them came enterprising businessmen of the age ready to profit off of the influx of people. The town began to grow.
When summer comes around, we get excited about sunshine and exploring. One of the best day trips from the Headwaters is a drive to Yellowstone, the country’s first national park. Gardiner and West Yellowstone are both less than two hours away from Three Forks, so you can even make the loop through for a change of scenery as you go and return. Here are our favorite stops along the way to help you really make a day of it.
If local music ranging from folksy to bluegrass, jazz, blues, gospel and beyond is your scene, you’ll want to mark Music Days at the Caverns in your calendar. Just down the road from Three Forks at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, you’ll find a music festival that takes local entertainment to a new level.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park isn’t far from Three Forks, and it’s well worth a stop. This scenic spot rounds out the triple crown of state parks surrounding the Headwaters region. Here’s all you need to know when you’re planning a trip to this significant historic site.
Spring weather starts to get nicer and nicer as the pages on the calendar turn, but sometimes it’s still iffy whether your hike will take you into a snow flurry or shorts weather. Enter: the spring drive. And when you take it to the ultimate scenic level, it elevates your road wandering experience. Here are some of the best scenic drives around Three Forks that’ll get you out churning miles and burning rubber—in the best way possible.
June in Gallatin county is like the mecca of good times to be had. The patios are open, Music on Main has started up, the Farmer's Market is in full swing, the Art Walk kicks off, and the list goes on. At the top of ours sits the much anticipated Headwaters Country Jam--a three day, rip-roaring outdoor festival in the heart of the valley.
As the county seat of Madison County, Montana, Virginia City keeps the history of the Victorian Era alive. After booming in the late 1800s with the advent of a gold rush, the town practically froze in time once the gold ran out. Today, it’s vibrant display of living history with a thriving community of reenactors and local historians. Roam the town, check out the shops, and still make it back to Three Forks in time for a nightcap before bed. Here’s what you should add to the agenda when you take a day trip to Virginia City.
Missouri Headwaters State Park flies under the radar as far as Montana parks go, but if you give it the chance, it’ll blow you away. Just a short jaunt from Three Forks (as in, five miles away by car or bike), it’s about as easy to get to as you can get. Here are a few of the top reasons to check it out.
We’re talking about a lot more than just the name of a hotel here—when it comes to icons of American history, Sacajawea ranks near the top. Most people familiar with the history of the western states know the name well, aware of her for her contribution to the flowing river of exploration and expansion in this country. The checkered past between European invaders and native peoples finds a brief moment of peace in the chapter of her story that involved working with the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
But who was Sacajawea, really? And how did she help shape the Missouri Headwaters Region that we know today? Her story goes far deeper than just her role as an interpreter and guide for the Corps of Discovery. Read on to find out more about the woman who helped shape the country’s history.
Even though this area often sees less snowfall than the other side of the valley (we’re looking at you, Bridgers!), it’s still Montana winter fun over here in Three Forks. When the snow flies hard in the Headwaters, you can’t beat a snowshoe stroll in this scenic region. Follow your feet wherever they take you, but it doesn’t hurt to guide them in these top snowshoeing directions.
Winter in Yellowstone isn’t a season you want to miss. With the benefit of fewer crowds, a more savage landscape, and a snow-fueled paradise for wildlife, it tops just about every other season for exploring the nation’s first national park. Here’s your ultimate guide to exploring Yellowstone under winter’s hush.
Winter in the Headwaters is a time to slow down, take a deep breath, and relish the quiet of the season. That stillness, and a break from summer’s hustle and bustle, makes for the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the region. From early Native American tribes living in the savage landscape, to the intensity of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and on to the days of the settlers, there is plenty to discover.
When winter comes knocking, you want to find the ultimate in stunning scenery to complement the fluffy white blanket of chill. While the Headwaters region may get less snowfall than the other side of the valley, you can still find plenty of winter wonderland to satisfy your inner Jack Frost. Head out to find these top spots for some winter scenery.
Change is in the air, and fall in the Headwaters region is the perfect time to relax, unwind and relish some activities you can only enjoy in autumn. Southwest Montana is all awash with fall colors and alpenglow sunsets, and a break from summer crowds means you have all this bite of Big Sky to yourself to enjoy. So saddle up, and set out to test some of these unforgettable tastes of fall fun.
Southwest Montana hasn’t lit up most people’s radar for fabulous fall foliage yet, but that day is just around the corner. With riverbanks lined with aspen and cottonwood all around this little corner of the Big Sky, the autumnal displays throughout the Missouri Headwaters region are out of this world. Check out these spots in the heart of Three Forks and beyond for fall colors to get you in the spirit of changing seasons.
Ennis, Montana, makes for a convenient stop on the way to just about any place you could want to check out in southwest Montana. Self-proclaimed as “an hour from anywhere,” Ennis is just a quick jaunt from Norris, Virginia City, Yellowstone and Three Forks. This is the place to slow down for a minute and get immersed.
Autumn in the Headwaters region makes the perfect time to visit. Between the satisfying chill in the air, the crisp leaves underfoot, and the sips and nibbles you just have to sample—plus a few fun surprises—you’ll fall even more in love with fall in Three Forks, Montana.
Get a taste of the Wild West without having to go far when you take a day trip jaunt to Virginia City. This historic town was Montana’s first territorial capital, boasting up to 10,000 residents in its mining-town heyday. Gold was king as miners flocked here to seek out a spot along the riverbanks where they could get their pans in in search of gold nuggets.
After the boom of the gold rush days, Virginia City’s history took a turn, leading up to the controversial and swashbuckling Vigilantes who took justice into their own hands against the infamous Road Agents. History lives on here, with plenty to do without staying stuck in the past.