Montana October 07, 2016
12 Places In Montana Way Out In The Boonies But So Worth The Drive
Montanans aren’t exactly the type to shy away from a long drive. With a good portion of our state being considered “the boonies” to the rest of the country, we don’t mind heading out to the middle of nowhere to experience something beautiful, relaxing or delicious.
These 12 places are definitely worth the drive.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Polebridge Mercantile
It doesn’t get much more “off the grid” than Polebridge. The town has no electricity and getting there requires an hour-long drive down a dirt road. But the Polebridge Mercantile, a century-old general store (and now bakery), makes it all worth it. Try a huckleberry bear claw and you’ll see what we mean.
2. Yesterday’s Calf-A
Located in the tiny town of Dell (population 143) in Beaverhead County, this schoolhouse turned restaurant serves some of the best pie in the state, and the atmosphere is unbelievably charming.
3. Smith River Region Backcountry Drive
This relaxing drive takes you from Ulm to White Sulphur Springs on Highway 330, or Mulligan Road. This is the ultimate drive to take when you want to get away from it all, and the scenery is beautiful—but map out your journey before you go, because your cell service will be non-existent for most of it.
4. Lolo Hot Springs
Lolo Hot Springs is located in the beautiful Lolo Mountains on the Montana-Idaho border. It’s a short drive from Missoula, but you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away. They’re open all year and have cabins for rent when it’s too cold to camp.
5. The Frontier Bar and Supper Club
You’ll find the tiny town of Dunkirk about 10 miles East of Shelby. It’s not easy or quick to find the Frontier Bar and Supper Club, but once your belly is full of delicious steak and potatoes, you’ll be so glad you made the effort.
6. The Wilderness Club
Just outside the small town of Eureka and about five minutes south of the Canadian border lies the Wilderness Club, the ultimate secluded resort. Eureka residents sometimes drive over 50 miles to Kalispell to do their shopping, and the resort itself is nice and peaceful. It’s also home to the top rated golf course in the state.
7. Big Sheep Creek Backcountry Byway
This 50 mile two lane gravel road takes you through the backcountry of Southwest Montana. You’re much more likely to see wildlife than you are to see another human.
8. Sand Springs
Visiting this quiet community in Garfield County is like going back in time. The population of 90 mainly consists of ranchers, and it hasn’t changed much since it was founded over 100 years ago. There’s even a one-room schoolhouse for students in kindergarten through eighth grade as well as some great abandoned buildings from the past (like the one pictured here).
9. Cooke City
Located right on the Montana-Wyoming border, Cooke City has a population of 140 and a main street that looks like it belongs in a different century. The Cooke City General Store has been open since 1886 and is on the National Register of Historic Places list.
10. The Stoneville Saloon
Who doesn’t love a nice charming dive bar? The Stoneville Saloon is located in Alzada, tucked away in the southeast corner of the state. They advertise “cheap drinks and lousy food,” but the truth is that it’s a great place to be, especially during the Black Hills Rally and Races in South Dakota.
11. Edgar Bar
The boonies is exactly where you’ll find the Edgar Bar, a place with food so delicious that people drive for hours to dine there.
12. Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area
Montana is known for its stunning wilderness areas, and they’re all very remote. But the Humbug Spires Wilderness is so primitive that it’s easy to enjoy the best of the outdoors while forgetting about the real world. It’s so remote, in fact, that you can’t drive there—once you’ve taken I-15 South to the Moose Creek exit and traveled east for 3.5 miles, you’ll have to park your car by the Moose Creek Trailhead and hike your way in.
Montana is full of hidden gems. Here are 15 spots that even some locals don’t know about.