Plan Now for a Southeast Montana Getaway

2024-01-10 22:30:54

Big skies, big rivers, big hospitality, big legends and big adventure. Yep, we’re big out here in Southeast Montana. Whether you are winter dreaming or one for spontaneous planning, your story is waiting to be written. Southeast Montana is expansive, with adventure and discovery at every mile marker. Trade the interstate for the two-lane and make your way to Southeast Montana.

Burgers and Brews

Photo by Cassie Solberg

Embark on a burger lover's epic journey across Southeast Montana’s Burger Trail, where a whopping 23 restaurants beckon with irresistible options that'll leave you struggling to choose a favorite. The diverse array of burger styles guarantees a mouthwatering experience, from the zesty Stuffed Jalapeno Popper burger at 3 North in Acton to the tropical delight of the Mango Burger at June's Bungalow in Miles City. Let’s not forget the savory satisfaction of the Frisco Burger at Big Game Tavern in Baker and Ekalaka’s Favorite Cowboy Burger with locally made honey barbeque chipotle sauce. Oh, and did we mention the fun part? By downloading the Burger Trail passport you will earn fabulous prizes like the highly-desired “I’m A Burger Boss” T-shirt and stickers. It's not just a foodie adventure; it's a feast for your taste buds with some exciting rewards thrown in. As you navigate the Burger Trail, you'll discover the true spirit of Southeast Montana captured in each bite.

Thirsty? You may want to plan out a couple of days in Billings for your Southeast Montana brew tour. Montana’s only walkable brewery trail is located in the heart of downtown Billings. This self-guided tour is made up of six breweries, two distilleries and one cider house, all within easy walking distance. Walk this 1.5-mile brewery route and enjoy historic sites along the way.

Dinosaurs and Digs

Photo by Carter County Musuem

Out here in Southeast Montana, legends loom large over the land. But what’s even bigger than those tales of the past? The actual creatures – now extinct dinosaurs -- that inhabited the area millions of years ago.

From the north to the south, east to west these mysterious creatures once roamed what is now the state of Montana when the land looked much different. Think tropical climate, complete with a sea where creatures swam and plants flourished. Now, several eras later, Southeast Montana is a hotbed for dinosaur fossils. 

Looking for a way to explore the history of dinosaurs in Montana? Hop on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, made up of 14 locations across the state, specializing in telling the stories of the relatively unknown. Three locations in Southeast Montana: Carter County Museum, Frontier Gateway Museum and Makoshika State Park will get you started on your adventure.

Get A Little Western

Photo by Visit Montana

In these parts, people aren’t afraid to look you in the eyes or pull up a barstool to spin a yarn (or two). Western hospitality comes with the territory, and Southeast Montana is nothing if not authentic. We’re talking cattle brandings, big hats and boots with spurs where the Old West meets the new. Find your inner cowboy and discover Montana’s genuine side. If you want to experience farm or ranch life under the big Montana sky, put on shoes that can tolerate a little mud and prepare for an unforgettable experience.

We suggest Dryhead Ranch to climb into the saddle and prepare for the ride of a lifetime on a cattle drive. If you’re looking for a genuine western ranch experience along with true solitude (read: no mobile service here), Mahlstedt Ranch is the perfect place.

Take in the History

Photo by Visit Montana

What defines history if not a compilation of narratives from diverse viewpoints? In Southeast Montana, the allure of natural landscapes intertwines with the captivating tales of the Old West, entwined with the legacies of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, whisking you away to days of the past. Follow the brave paths of Lewis and Clark or delve into the intricate interplay brought by ranching and railroads across the prairies.

Undoubtedly, the resilient individuals, families and indigenous communities who call Southeast Montana home are a robust and tenacious bunch. Explore the myriad museums, heritage centers and historic sites scattered throughout the region to immerse yourself in their experiences, read their narratives and comprehend their journeys. This, indeed, is the essence of history.

Without history, our tales cease to exist. Craft your own narrative Out Here.

*NOTE: The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument will undergo a major renovation, starting in 2024. For the most up-to-date information on construction restrictions, see the website.

Outdoor Enthusiast’s Options to Explore

Photo by Visit Southeast Montana

Outdoor adventure is synonymous with Southeast Montana. Try flyfishing with an outfitter on the Bighorn River, a blue-ribbon trout stream. Or, go above the Yellowtail Dam to Ok-A-Beh Marina and rent a pontoon to the explore the massive Bighorn Canyon. If you are into hiking or biking, try the Calypso Trail in the Terry Badlands Wilderness Area or Makoshika State Park’s trails. There’s plenty of room for birding, rock-collecting or just about any outdoor adventure you can fathom.

The Fun Doesn’t Stop After Dark

Photo by Nathan Satran Photography

The stars are brighter out here in Southeast Montana, where the darkest skies make for an unforgettable nighttime show. In fact, Medicine Rocks State Park has been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary- meaning it has the darkest of the dark skies. The park is nestled between Ekalaka and Baker in Eastern Montana. It’s your perfect place to get away and lose yourself in the wonder of the cosmos.

Our Trail to the Stars consists of 46 places in eastern and central Montana that are ideal for stargazing. Some are just on the outskirts of a town, while others are delightfully out in the middle of nowhere. Just you and an explosion of stars and planets. And, if you plan your visit with a lunar calendar, you might even see an awe-inspiring meteor shower or the hauntingly gorgeous northern lights.

Seize the moment to mark those vacation days, arrange that PTO and plan now to embark on an epic journey Out Here.