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 brings your road wandering apex of awesome. Here are some of the best scenic drives around Three Forks that’ll get you out and burning rubber and churning up the miles—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.
Getting boots on the trail in Montana is more than just great exercise. This way of seeing the countryside takes you off the beaten path to experience the wilds of the Headwaters region of the state. Right around the town of Three Forks, you’ll find miles of solid trails to keep you entertained, whether you quest after views, wildlife or natural wonders.
When summer comes to the Missouri Headwaters region of Montana, that means floating season is here. You can’t go wrong with a little river time, especially when the lazy waters of the Jefferson, Gallatin and Madison come together at the confluence of the Missouri River in the heart of Three Forks to give you plenty of floating and boating options.
Floating is a part of Montana culture in and of itself, and any culture involving warm water and cold microbrews over the course of a long summer afternoon deserves to be explored! Here’s everything you need to know for a day of floating fun.
Untold mysteries and wonders lie under the mountain at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, and opportunities to explore are just steps away, letting you get underground to help beat the summer heat with natural air conditioning. At the park, you’ll find a cafe and two gift shops, two visitor centers, plus more than ten miles of hiking and mountain biking trails to explore. And of course, the park’s namesake is not to be missed. The good news is that this cave has a tour for everyone.
History meets modern luxury at the Sacajawea Hotel, where a prime photo op waits around each decorated corner. The Sacajawea Hotel Instagram account is an easy go-to for all the tripspiration you could ever need, and the photo inspiration is enough to get you going on Instagram adventures of your own.
In Montana, Instagram is its own language, with scenic vistas and too-cute spaces that are so photogenic, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture stunning memories in photo form. At the Sacajawea Hotel, Instagram is just another way to express yourself while you take in these utterly Instagrammable spots.
With so many activities in Three Forks, it can be hard to fit everything in when you have a busy schedule. If you’re feeling bold, take some tips from this Headwaters adventure guide, and get out there for some adrenaline-pumping fun at the Headwaters of the Missouri.
You don’t have far to go for a relaxing family getaway. Around the Missouri Headwaters, you’ll find small-town charm and all the amenities, with luxury accommodation that the whole family will love at the Sacajawea Hotel. And then prepare for adventure, as the area offers activities that you and your little ones can enjoy together.