13 Western Montana Travel Resolutions for 2013


Do you make travel resolutions? As I sit here in front of a toasty fire at the beginning of 2013, I’m thinking of all the things I’d like to see and do this year in Western Montana. So, I wrote them down to share with you. What do you think of my list?

1.  Snowshoe at Lolo Pass

My husband, Alan, and I took a trial run up to Lolo Pass in November where snow was already covering the ground. I’d like to return this winter to snowshoe on the 3-mile dedicated trail. For a $5 fee per car, visitors have access to groomed snowshoe, cross-country and snowmobile trails.

2. Take a winter drive to Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph offers photographable mountain scenery at any time of the year. Alan and I are anxious for a winter road trip to photograph a frozen wonderland. Are you a cross-country skier? The groomed trails at Chief Joseph offer some of the best skiing in Montana. The Bitterroot Cross-Country Ski Club is offering free lessons on January 19, 2013.

3.  Float the Bitterroot River

I’ve lived in the Bitterroot Valley for the last two summers and haven’t yet experienced a lazy float down the Bitterroot River. It’s time to change that.

4.  Take a walk at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge

I’m looking forward to abundant wildlife viewing on the 2½ miles of nature trails at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. Did you know there’s also a half-mile wheelchair accessible trail in the wildlife viewing area? I’ll be brining my camera.

5. Road trip to Painted Rocks State Park

On a road trip to Painted Rocks State Park south of Hamilton, Alan and I will bring a picnic lunch as well as our cameras. Maybe we’ll finally see a moose.

6.  Take a Missoula Brewery Walking Tour

A walking tour of Missoula breweries is a good way to check out the local brews. To be on the safe side, we’ll make a weekend of it by booking a hotel or bed and breakfast. Drinking and driving is never a good idea.

7.  Enjoy an ice cream at Missoula’s Big Dipper

While we’re in Missoula drinking beer, Alan and I will save time for one of the Big Dipper’s signature ice creams. Will it be as good as our Big Dipper cone that we sampled on a road trip to Helena?

8.  Explore the Magruder Corridor

101 miles of unimproved dirt roads through a mountain wilderness is enough to excite any 4-wheel-drive enthusiast, especially Alan. Will we drive the entire Magruder Corridor? Check back this summer to read my report.

9.  Go Glamping at Paws Up Resort

If we make it on all 101 miles of the Magruder Corridor, Alan’s going to owe me. I’ll collect with a weekend at the luxurious Paws Up Resort . A tent on the banks of the Blackfoot River with ensuite bathroom and twice-daily housekeeping service suits this travel princess just fine.

10. Mine for Sapphires in Phillipsburg

On a visit to Gem Mountain in Phillipsburg, will we mine for sapphires the easy way at the indoor gravel wash station in the store, or opt for the mine experience that’s 22 miles west of Phillipsburg on Skalkaho Pass Road? Will I find a sapphire worthy of wearing? I’ll let you know.

11. Shop at the Missoula Farmers Market

I’m saving a Saturday in late spring to shop at the Missoula Farmers Market.

12. Visit Bannack State Park

At Bannack State Park near Dillon, Alan and I plan to explore gold mining history in this well-preserved ghost town. A July visit during Bannack Days offers a celebration of pioneer life.

13. Go four-wheeling on Elk Meadow Road

We noticed Elk Meadows Road on our November drive up Highway 12 to explore Lolo Pass. This summer, we’ll be exploring the road in our Jeep. Check back to read about our experience.

What do you think of my 13 Western Montana travel resolutions for 2013? If you have any experiences to suggest, please leave a comment. I’ll add them to my Western Montana travel list.

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Donna L. Hull writes about active travel for baby boomers at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel. She is also the author of My Itchy Travel Feet, Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas, available at Amazon Kindle, Nook and iTunes.