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One Tank Trip for Montana Camping
Total mileage / average drive time:
209 miles – 3 hours, 38 minutes
Have you ever been to a place where every inch of it looked like a beautifully rendered painting? Where the sky is a perfect shade of blue, the grass a rich vibrant shade of green and the mountain ranges large and imposing but still exceptionally beautiful? We’d venture to guess if you’ve found such a place, it’s a good bet it’s Montana.
Our first location is located in the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains and poised in the northwest corner of Montana, within a short drive to the Canadian border. Kalispell contains the very essence of Big Sky Country and is within short distance to some of the states most enduring treasures like Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, and one of the purest found anywhere. With a surface area of around 191 sq. miles, Flathead is a little larger than Lake Tahoe and is deeper than the average depth of the Yellow Sea and the Persian Gulf. A drive along the coast, and it’s hard to believe man-made dams didn’t take a hand in creating it. For the angler, there are few places better in the state to set your line in hopes of catching a big one. But with a lake this big, there’s enough open space for canoes, kayaks, windsurfers, boats and more with little chance of you feeling cramped. Within the town, you’ll find a wealth of historic buildings mixed with modern convenience. One of the centerpieces of this quaint town is the Conrad mansion, one of the most beautifully preserved pre-1900 mansions in the state. Occupied by Conrad descendants until 1964, the mansion is now a museum where the history of the town and its builder comes alive with many period pieces including three generations of children’s toys. Rich in history and beauty, it’s the perfect break from your adventures in the wilds.
88.5 miles – 1 hour, 31 minutes
From Kalispell, let’s take a scenic drive along US-2W to Libby. Lying on the flank of the impressive Cabinet Mountain Wilderness in an area carved by the Kootenai River, Libby contains a wealth of beauty and serenity like few others. Close by you’ll discover the beauty of Kootenai Falls, the largest undammed falls in the state, offering unforgettable and breathtaking views as the Kootenai River drops 300 feet in elevation as it travels down river. This is considered a sacred site to the Kootenai tribe and after just one visit you’ll see why. For the perfect viewing, traverse the swinging bridge that crosses the river. Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights, but wow, what a view! Better get your fishing poles back out as we head to Lake Koocanusa. This 90 mile long lake not only has an incredible view, it’s the perfect spot to boat, fish or just spread out a towel, have a nice picnic and marvel at the view.
69 miles – 1 hour, 14 minutes
From scenic Libby, let’s hop onto MT-37N for another incredibly scenic drive into Eureka. This leg should clock in at around 70 miles or so. Tucked away in this corner of the state you’ll find an array of scenic treasures and Eureka is definitely one of them. Originally known as the Tobacco Plains, the area surrounding Eureka was once home to the Kootenai Indians and the northern section of US-93 was originally an Indian trail later used by fur traders and pack trains traveling into Canada and beyond. If you head out exploring the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, you’ll find an abundance of beauty, pristine lakes, more fishing than should be legal and incredible mountain drives. Eureka is often used as homebase for those wanting to explore Canada, just eight miles south of the city.
51.1 miles – 53 minutes
Moving on, our last stop of the day takes us to US-93S for the 51 mile drive into Whitefish. Surrounded on three sides by majestic mountain peaks, Whitefish is the ultimate getaway for the ski lover. Summer months bring gondola rides through this alpine village, chuckwagon dinners and a wide array of music festivals. Golfers will enjoy Montana’s only 36 hole golf course located here, surrounded by the beauty of both mountains and lakes. A big surprise for travelers is the Whitefish Lake City Beach, surrounded by breathtaking views and enough sandy shores to spend the afternoon building a sandcastle before you head into town to treat yourself to a first class dining experience or get a little shopping in.
Check out the 2011 One Tank Trip For Montana
Check out the 2010 One Tank Trip For Montana
Woodall's Recommended Campgrounds in Montana
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