Drive about 25 miles east from Great Falls on US 87 past Belt, turn south onto US 89 at Armington Junction rest area. The next 71-mile stretch is dubbed the Kings Hill Scenic Byway. You’ll drive through the charming mountain towns of Monarch and Neihart, cross Kings Hill Pass, then into White Sulphur Springs. There are hot springs here and the water is used at the Spa Hot Springs to heat one large outdoor pool and two smaller pools. You don’t need to be a motel guest to soak, just pay a small fee and enjoy the thermal waters. If you forgot your swimming suit you can even rent one! This town features a unique Castle Museum built as a home by an early day resident.

Continue traveling about 36 miles to Townsend on US Highway 12 through the Big Belt Mountains and a scenic canyon, then to Helena on US 287. From Helena to Great Falls you can take I-15 and the frontage road. The terrain on this 90-mile route will amaze you with rocky cliffs, grassy mountains and the Missouri River. The canyons through Prickly Pear Creek display millions of years of breathtaking glacial erosion and seismic evolution. For a break, stop in and enjoy the locally owned shops and eateries in Cascade, about 25 miles southwest of Great Falls.

14 miles from Cascade near the town of Ulm is First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park. The park is 4 paved miles from Ulm and there is a visitor center at the base of the buffalo jump. It’s well worth the 4 miles off the highway to learn about Native American culture before the introduction of horses and firearms. Drive back to the frontage road and take the final 11 miles of your journey into Great Falls.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Distance: 264 miles [450km]
Highlights: A perfect drive for geology enthusiasts and those wanting to stop and enjoy the thermal waters of White Sulphur Springs

A special thank you to Central Montana for this content.