Two Days in Southern Montana & Idaho [Missoula, Craters Of the Moon, Hamilton, Bitterroot Valley]

After our 3 Days in Glacier National Park, Teddy and I continued our 12 Day Road Trip through southern Montana and into Idaho.

We left the Glacier Park lodge in the morning and began south toward Missoula. The skies had started to become a little smoky in the area where the sun looked like a hazy blazing orange. We grabbed coffee in Columbia Falls at Copper Mountain Coffee before heading south. There was a cute store called Great Gray Gifts I had found on my first trip to the area a few years ago and since we were headed that way, we decided to stop. They have clothing, stickers, a coffee shop, some snacks and other gifts. We then continued on to Missoula.

We had planned to go to Sweet Peaks Ice Cream but although their hours showed open on the door, they were closed. We browsed the Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop before going to Tamarac Brewing Company for lunch. We stopped in a few shops downtown before heading back to the car. We had initially planned to hike the M trail, but with the wind, the wildfire smoke started to cover the sky and the air quality was quite poor. We were hopeful that if we were able to get further south, things would get better.

While we were hopeful, we were wrong. With the recent wind changes, the further we drove south, the worse it got. Teddy had hiked the trail in Blodgett Canyon before, and from the pictures he showed me, I had wanted to hike it too but the smoke was too much of an issue. We ended up hanging out at our hotel, catching up on sleep from our early mornings, and then headed to a dinner in town. It was a simple dinner but so good. We checked out the town of Hamilton where some scenes of the show Yellowstone are filmed and got to see the entrance to the ranch where filming occurs.

The next morning, we had initially planned a route toward the Ketchum, Idaho area through Red Fish lodge, but there were intermittent road closures along the highway because of the fire so we ended up taking a different route. We would have loved to spend some time at the lodge and go out on a few hikes but we will have to do that during our next visit. Rather than hiking the Fishhook Creek Trail, we instead drove over toward Craters of the Moon National Monument.

We had planned to visit the park regardless on our trip but ended up seeing it a day early. Luckily skies were incredibly clear here and we were able to explore the park. We stopped at the Visitor Center before going out on the Loop Road. Our first stop was the Devil’s Orchard Nature Trail which is a half-mile long. Then we checked out the Spatter Cones and the Inferno Cone before driving the rest of the Loop Road and heading to Ketchum.

Since this was our last evening of the trip, we went to Ketchum for dinner at the Pioneer Saloon. It was okay but not as good as it was hyped up to be. We did like the vibe of the saloon though. It was dim but had old western themed items as decor. We walked around the town of Ketchum before going back to the hotel.

The next morning, we had to figure out how to dispose of our bear spray since we can’t travel with it. We were able to find a local recycling center that would take it and then started a few hours toward the airport. We stopped in Shoshone for breakfast and grabbed our last Dutch Bros coffee before heading back east.

This trip was truly the trip of a lifetime. We had so much fun visiting 5 new states together and quite a few National Parks and Monuments. We got to see so much wildlife, endless small towns, waterfalls, and beautiful mountain ranges. We learned about the geography of the area and those who lived there long before we did. It will also have a very special place because we got engaged in the Tetons.


  1. Awesome write-up! A good friend just moved to Missoula, so I’m hoping to do a similar to this next summer, so appreciate all the great ideas of places to see.

Leave a Reply