Without a doubt, Montana has some of the most scenic countryside you’ll find in the continental United States. From the towering mountains of the Rockies in the west to the expansive skies found above the eastern prairies, Montana is the perfect place to take a motorcycle tour on your next holiday. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best motorcycle rides you can take in the Big Sky Country of Montana.
#5. US Highway 12 – Onward From Missoula to Lewiston
Coming in at number 5 is the curvy highway of US 12 running through the Lolo and Nez Perce-Clearwater National forests. What makes this motorcycle route so scenic is that it closely follows the winding bends of both the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers. On this ride you’ll take in rolling hills, rocky mountain cliffs, and the dense and lush pine forests of Orofino. There are plenty of camping spots and opportunities to see all of the wildlife Montana has to offer from deer to elk, bears, moose, to eagles and hawks, and maybe even a gray wolf if you are lucky. US Highway 12 from Missoula to Idaho is a true sight to see from the seat of a motorcycle.
#4. The Secret Backroads of 141
This especially scenic motorcycle ride begins in the town of Avon, just west of Helena, and ends 32 miles north at Highway 200. On this route you’ll come across the true heartland of the great state of Montana. Along Route 141 you’ll come across lush farmland with roaming cattle, the beautiful Garnet Mountains, rolling hillsides, and enough picaresque landscape views that you’ll be surprised how often you pull over to take a photo of the skyline. Route 141 is one of Montana’s best kept secrets.
#3. The (Pre)Historic Highway 89
Mile for mile, you won’t find a more spectacular route to take than Highway 89 from Yellowstone National Park to the northern Glacier National Park. The motorcycle ride is certainly a long one, taking 6 to 7 hours to travel the route’s 350 miles. But it is more than worth it. Not only will be get a chance to behold Montana’s current natural wonders—green pastures, mountain backdrops, and crystal lakes—you can experience wonders of the past as well. Stop in the town of Choteau to take in marvels of the prehistoric age where you can see the very first dinosaur egg ever discovered. This motorcycle ride is the perfect way to spend time at two of the world’s most beautiful and renowned national parks. Be sure not to miss out.
#2. Beartooth Pass
Beartooth Pass is easily the most dangerous of the motorcycle rides to be featured on this list. With its extreme ups and downs (nearly 12,000 feet in some stretches of road), US Highway 212 will surely leave your knuckles white with nervousness. Don’t expect many guardrails to keep you from careening off the side of the road, so take it slow and steady when you can. On your way up the 50 or so miles from Red Lodge to Silver Gate, you’ll see all Montana has to offer. From frigid tundra to secluded forests, snaking rivers, and absolutely stunning mountaintop views. Find out why many riders consider Beartooth Pass to be the quintessential motorcycle ride in all of Montana.
#1. The Glacier National Park Loop
No matter if you begin in the town of West Glacier or further east in Saint Mary, the looping circle through the Glacier National Park will be one of the best experiences riding a motorcycle during your life. Stretching close to 150 miles along Highway 2 and Highway 89 and then back along the Going-To-The-Sun Road you’ll see the Glacier National Park as few people get to see it. Just riding upon the Going-to-the-Sun Road alone is worth the price of admission for motorcycle riders up to the challenge. With a small window during the summer to traverse this road, you won’t want to miss the Mount Everest of motorcycle rides. Just be sure to plan carefully and be ready for steep and dangerous ascents through the Rocky Mountains. Happy trails!