Go West: Hit the Road on the Ultimate Adventure Through Wyoming and Montana

Reconnect with yourself in Montana and Wyoming

Flathead Lake Lodge_Wrangler Horses
Courtesy of Flathead Lake Lodge

As cities grow bigger and skyscrapers grow taller - a sense of claustrophobia can sometimes set in, and a yearning grows for wide, open spaces where the grid of modern roads can't be fit into an untamed landscape.

While wild, vast spaces have shrunk, they still flourish in our heartland and for those seeking the crossroads of adventure and natural beauty, and to unplug - the solution is simple. Go west.

Wyoming and Montana are two of the brightest jewels in America's wilderness. Every year visitors go in search of the untamed landscape that these states embody, to hike, bike, camp and breathe clean, fresh air. But only visiting landmarks and national parks misses a crucial point.

These states are so much more than just forests, mountains or farmland. Yes, the aptly named Big Sky country offers stunning views both day and night, but the towns of Wyoming and Montana are also havens for western culture, arts and culinary hotspots, making these states not just a thrill seeker's dream but also a gateway to the past - and future.

To fully appreciate the beauty and vastness of this breathtaking area of the American wilderness, nothing is better than a road trip. Follow this trip for the ultimate experience of all Wyoming and Montana have to offer.

Wyoming

CASPER downtown
Discover all the city has to offer by exploring downtown Casper. Courtesy of the City of Casper

Start in the second largest city in Wyoming is Casper - a quaint, rugged town. Casper sits at the center of the historic Oregon, Mormon and California trails. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center provides information about the history of these crossroads, including nearby Independence Rock, which was used as a landmark for the Oregon Trail. Guided tours with Historic Trails West explore the trails in covered wagons to offer visitors a glimpse into the lives of the early pioneers.

But Casper isn't just about historical museums - it is also an art hub. Picasso and Dali adorn the walls of the Nicolaysen Art Museum (or The Nic to the locals) and the David Street Station acts as an outdoor concert venue and general community gathering point with events all year long. Afterwards, stop by one of the many craft breweries like Frontier Brewing and Taproom for a cold one or head to Backwards Distilling Company for something a little stronger.

CASPER Waterfall
Garden Greek Falls is nestled in the Casper mountains. Courtesy of City of Casper

Nature is still at the heart of any city in Wyoming. After checking out the city - head to the outdoors. Go to Ugly Bug Fly Shop for a guided fishing experience and catch rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout in the North Platte River. If fishing isn't your thing, spend a day hiking or biking nearby Casper Mountain which has spectacular views and a midday picnic spot at Garden Creek Falls.

Jump back in the car to head north to the Wind River Indian Reservation. The reservation is the home of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes and is an opportunity for a glimpse into the Native American culture. The highlight of the half and full day tours is grave site of monument and grave site of the famous Lew and Clark guide, Sacajawea.

Any roadtrip through the wild west wouldn't be complete without a stop at Yellowstone National Park. The park straddles Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is known for hot springs and geysers including the famous and aptly named Old Faithful. The hydrothermal system is vast and worth exploring throughout the park as is the wildlife, which includes moose, elk, wolves, bison, black and grizzly bear. For the more adventurous, make this a longer stop by renting a cabin or rough it at the campground.

Montana

Once you crossover into Montana, be sure to stop in Helena, the state capital of Montana. Along with the capitol buildings, there are a handful of breweries such as Lewis and Clark Brewing and Ten Mile Creek for the craft brew enthusiast. Art galleries, a theatre, ghost tours through a cemetery and a visit to Boulder Hot Springs are all options for a quick stopover in the capital.

MILLS WILDERNESS ADVENTURES_White River
A trip with Mills Wilderness Adventures includes crossing White River on horseback Courtesy of Mills Wilderness Adventure

When your legs start to cramp from being in the car too long, you can switch to another mode of transportation. For the novice horseback rider, Flathead Lake Lodge combines nature and luxury with a stay in a log cabin. This is the place to learn to ride a horse, and end the day with a swim in Flathead Lake. The lodge has multiple options for couples or for the whole family.

Flathead Lake Lodge_DOCK
The whole family can enjoy Flathead Lake Courtesy of Flathead Lake Lodge

If you are a more experienced rider, or are just looking for an adventure book with Mills Wilderness Adventures. The weeklong trip ventures into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.and travels through the Sun River Game Preserve, along the White River and past landmarks such as the Chinese Wall and Gladiator Mountain. Guides will take you fishing, hiking and horseback riding through otherwise inaccessible areas, and through game reserves with an abundance of wildlife in its natural habitat (including the possibility of getting up close with bears).

Just south of the final destination, Whitefish, Montana is another town that is more than meets the eye. In the summer, go swimming in Whitefish lake, take a hot air balloon trip, climb through the trees in an aerial adventure park or go golfing at Whitefish Lake Golf Club. IIn the winter, skiier and snowboarders should go to the top of Whitefish Mountain.

Glacier National Park (PC_ Tia Troy
The views of Glacier National Park embody the "big sky" attributed to Montana. Tia Troy

End the trip at Glacier National Park which interestingly straddles the border between the US and Canada. Glacier National Park connects to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, and though the two are separate, the two parks have a history of close cooperation. Guides will take visitors south from Canada into Montana with The International Peace Park Hike and then back by boat. Only Americans and Canadians can make the crossing (make sure to bring an ID), but anyone can visit the two parks separately. Visitors can explore the park with guided tours by boat, bus, hiking, horseback and even rafting.

Whether looking for a luxurious place to relax against a breathtaking backdrop, or seeking the adventure of a time past, Montana and Wyoming offer the opportunity to connect with wilderness in a way not usually available. Go west to discover the beauty of the American wilderness.

Go West: Hit the Road on the Ultimate Adventure Through Wyoming and Montana | Culture
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