How to Plan an RV Trip to Montana

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A mountain reflects on the surface of a lake in Montana.

Is there a more iconic Great American vacation than an RV trip to Montana? It’s home to the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and more.

Rich with natural beauty, Montana is a state you must visit and explore! You can enjoy vibrant city life and natural wonders; there are endless things to see and do here!

Let’s start planning!

How to Plan an RV Trip to Montana

Montana is the largest landlocked state, slightly bigger than Japan. Yep, it really is that huge. With such a large state and many things to see and do, it can be tricky to plan your perfect RV trip to Montana.

Read on to get our tips to make your trip planning smooth and easy.

The bright teal Snake River runs through a forest in Montana.

When Should I Visit?

Although there’s a lot to do in Montana year-round, we think visiting during the summer is ideal. Specifically, plan your RV trip between June and August for the best experience. Summer is gorgeous in the mountains, and that big Montana sky will seemingly never end! 

Top Destinations in Montana

Rule number one of any good RV trip: Plan your stops! If you try to wing it in a state as large as Montana, you’ll likely miss out on some of the best things to do and see. So, we wanted to share our favorite destinations in Montana to help you plan. 

Glacier National Park

Address: 64 Grinnell Drive, Glacier National Park Headquarters, West Glacier, MT (Headquarters)

About: Glacier National Park became a national park on May 11, 1910. Forests cover more than half of the park’s 1 million acres, and there are over 700 miles of trails. Glacier National Park features over 200 waterfalls, 26 glaciers, 175 mountains, and 700 lakes. The snow-capped mountains, the crystal lakes, the fields of wildflowers–what beautiful sights!

Driving on the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road that crosses the Continental Divide is a must. It’s breathtaking!

Where to Stay: West Glacier RV Park, 350 River Bend Dr, West Glacier, MT 

The mountains in Glacier National Park looks like the Swiss Alps but they can be seen here in America!

Garnet Ghost Town

Address: Garnet Main St, Drummond, MT 

About: Step into the late 19th century when you visit this abandoned mining town in the Garnet Mountains. Presently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Garnet Preservation Association manage it. Once a booming town of 1,000 people, miners deserted it decades later when they could no longer find gold.

The Garnet Ghost Town includes a visitor center and self-guided trails with interpretive signage. It’s named one of the country’s coolest ghost towns by Travel + Leisure and is one of Montana’s most intact ghost towns.

Where to Stay: Bearmouth RV Park, 1611 Drummond Frontage Rd, Clinton, MT

West Yellowstone

Address: West Yellowstone, Montana 

About: With over 4 million visitors yearly, a trip to this town will make your stay memorable and enjoyable. It’s home to the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, where you can see Old Faithful. And, it’s the most popular entry point to the park.

While in town, visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to see live grizzly bears and wolf packs. There’s also the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum, where you can learn about the town’s early days.

Three national forests surround the area in addition to the national park.

Where to Stay: Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park, 210 S Electric St, West Yellowstone, MT 

Buffalo graze on grass in Yellowstone national park, a great place to visit while on an RV trip through Montana.

Flathead Lake

Address: 17768 US-93, Lakeside, MT (West Shore/Flathead Lake State Park)

About: Ahhh, the lake. Enjoy exploring the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Dubbed Western Montana’s biggest playground, this body of water is nearly 30 miles long and 15 miles wide. Plan to spend your days boating on all that water. Or how about swimming and fishing on the 160 miles of shoreline?

This Flathead National Forest lake is over 300 feet deep and is well-known for its clarity. And, interestingly, the same Ice Age glaciers that carved Glacier National Park sculpted this natural lake, too. 

Where to Stay: Polson Motorcoach Resort, 200 Irvine Flats Rd, Polson, MT or
Rollins RV Park, 23711 US-93, Rollins, MT 

Planning Your RV Route to Montana

Several routes will get you to Montana so that you can begin your vacation. From Washington, take I-90 into Montana. Or, come up from the southeast from Wyoming on I-90.

If you’re traveling from the east, head west on Interstate 94 from North Dakota. Finally, you can also take Interstate 15 from Idaho, turn onto Highway 20, and head northeast into Montana.

Pro Tip: Use an RV travel planning app like RV Life Trip Wizard that will plan an RV safe driving route and help estimate fuel costs.

What Cities Should You Visit?

You can have your cake and eat it, too, in Montana. You get to experience the wonder of nature with its many forests, mountains, lakes, and glaciers, plus the big-city culture and amenities. Here are some of the coolest cities you’ll find in the Big Sky state. 

Missoula, MT

Your RV trip to Montana wouldn’t be complete with a visit to its cultural hub, Missoula. Located halfway between Glacier National park and Yellowstone.

This eclectic mountain town gives you the cultural vibrancy of a college town with beautiful views out your window. You can see bison, enjoy gourmet food, catch an art show, or float down the river.

Every tourist can find something to enjoy here!

Missoula, Montana is a gorgeous city in Big Sky country with large hills and a river running through it.

Bozeman, MT

Nicknamed “the most liveable place,” Bozeman has a downtown scene brimming with local flavor and goods. Plus, there are all the outdoor adventures nearby, like fly fishing, an area favorite pastime.

Drive to nearby Yellowstone National Park, which is less than two hours away. Or drive just under an hour to the Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park.

Bring your sightseeing indoors. Visit one of Bozeman’s many breweries to learn about the brewing industry that dates back to 1867. Or visit the Museum of the Rockies, which has one of the largest dinosaur collections in the U.S., including the biggest T-Rex skull.

Billings, MT

The Beartooth Mountains surround Billings, which offers Montana’s highest climbing peaks. Billings is the largest city in the state and is famous for its Rimrock Bluffs, towering geological sandstone formations throughout the city.

While in Billings, you can visit the Western Heritage Center to learn about the people of Yellowstone River Valley. Or check out their national monuments, the Battle of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand. The Yellowstone River also runs right through town.

Finally, this city offers the state’s only walkable brewery trail.

Helena, MT

This “Queen City of the Rockies” historic city is the capital of Montana. While here, you can tour the State Capitol. Then, later on, hike up Mount Helena at the Mount Helena City Park to see the Capitol from afar.

Downtown Helena is the most historic mile in the state. Stroll through the downtown pedestrian mall at Last Chance Gulch. And visit the Great Northern Town Center to see many locally-owned shops and microbreweries.

Explore the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, which surrounds the city and is a whopping 2.8 million acres! Here, you can visit the Interpretive Center to follow the journey of Lewis and Clark.

What Activities Does Montana Offer?

Montana, known as “Big Sky Country,” is the fourth largest state in the U.S.

When visiting, explore the seven state forests and 53 state parks. Stop and soak in one of the many natural and developed hot springs, if you can! 

Outdoor adventurers should catch a ride on a llama through the mountains with a llama trek adventure. Go on a fly fishing trip, or try your hand at one of the many water sports, like paddling or whitewater rafting.

If you want to hit the road, visit the stops along the Montana Dinosaur Trail or the Montana Brewers Association’s Brewery Trail. Take in the breathtaking views along the Beartooth Highway scenic drive.

Montana is known for having some of the best Fly Fishing in the country, a must do activity on your RV trip!

Where to Stay During Your RV Trip To Montana

You’ll have plenty of options to camp in Montana’s splendid outdoors. Stay in Glacier National Park or one of the many national forests or state parks.

You’ll find a lot of open space for dispersed camping, which is free camping on public lands. There are more than 30 million acres of BLM land throughout the state. And, you can camp on national forest land that the U.S. Forest Service manages.

If you’d rather have hookups for water, sewer, and electricity, there are also many private RV campgrounds and resorts throughout the state.

When preparing for your RV trip to Montana, pack for a range of temperatures. If you’re camping on public land, check your route beforehand to get comfortable with the road and terrain. Consider driving into your spot before pulling in your RV to make sure you can access it. And review any local rules and regulations for your campsite.

Finally, respect and share space with Montana’s wildlife. You’re in bear country. Be bear aware and store your food appropriately while camping.

Ready For Your RV Trip To Montana? 

Whew. You might need a vacation after this vacation with all there is to see and do.

We hope this list helps you plan the Montana getaway of a lifetime. Even if you can’t get to all these destinations, you’ll still enjoy the beautiful Big Sky Country on your RV trip to Montana!

1 comment
  1. Good stuff Jason!
    A couple of additional treks to consider:
    Livingston, MT and south through Paradise Valley along the Yellowstone River on Hwy 89 to the North entrance to the park.
    And, Ennis, MT on Ennis Lake and south along the Maddison River on Hwy 287, also into the northwest park entrance.
    An amazing state!

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