Montana is hands down my absolute favorite state in all the United States. I had seen countless photos of this beautiful state for years, wondering when I’d ever get a chance to visit. Being able to finally visit, and by car – which is probably the best way to experience any state – was such a blessing and privilege. I love the mountains, forests, and the tranquility of rural-ness, and Montana gave me everything I ever wanted. I’d jump at the opportunity to visit again. The only place I’ve ever been that can rival the beauty of Montana are the fjords of Norway (Norwegian Fjords: Beautiful, Magical, Breathtaking.).
I was on a 2-day road trip with my friend, which began in Phoenix, Arizona, with our destination being The Idaho Panhandle: Esto Perpetua.. Our route took us the entire length of Utah, from south to north, through the eastern half of Idaho, before finally entering into Montana. We then drove through the entire western half of the state for approximately 6 hours, passing through the cities of Butte, Missoula, and Deer Lodge. I later came back to Montana twice to first visit the Ross Creek Cedars, Montana: Some Really Big Trees. and then to explore epic Kootenai Falls and Suspension Bridge (Beautiful Montana).
While our drive was mostly done via the I-15 – a major U.S. highway that is typically quite heavily traveled – the part through Montana was unexpectedly and beautifully light and peaceful. We were easily able to appreciate the surrounding beauty unencumbered by traffic and crazy drivers. We went past small Montanan town after small Montanan town, plus the larger cities mentioned above.
One wild thing that happened while in Montana was the random snowstorm we found ourselves in. As we approached the Idaho/Montana border, it suddenly hit. In mid–June. Unfortunately, turning around and heading back wasn’t an option, so we had no choice but to push on. As we tracked the storm via the weather app, we pushed through, sitting in silence as we drove 45mph on the interstate. Freak snowstorms can continue to happen in this part of the country up until July, so best to be aware and prepared.
We briefly stopped in the snow-drenched town of Deer Lodge for gas, home of the historic Montana State Prison (very bummed that we didn’t get to visit), before continuing on. We eventually outran the storm, with the snow just ceasing, like popping into another dimension. Once firmly away from the storm, it was bright, sunny, warm, and extremely welcoming. This is the Montana I’ve always pictured in my mind, an exact replica almost 🙌🏼. There were green rolling mountains, deep turquoise rivers, and huge, open, royal blue skies with beautiful fluffy white clouds. I fully understood why Montana markets itself as “Big Sky Country” – that’s exactly what it is.
Overall, this blog is more of a shout-out to Montana, as it’s truly one of the most beautiful and best states I’ve ever been to. In my opinion, it even tops Hawaii, the American Southwest, the Smokey’s and Rockies, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. I’ve yet to visit Alaska, so we shall see if Montana holds onto her crown after that. But for now, this breathtakingly peaceful, friendly, and tranquil state firmly holds the title. 👑
P.s. After leaving Kootenai Falls, there was one photo opportunity that I had mentally bookmarked on my way to the falls that I wanted to stop at. Here is where I snapped one of the best scenic pictures I’ve ever taken (please see below). As I was taking my pics, a truck drove by me, stopped about 50 feet away, slowly turned around, and came back towards me. I thought “Great. I’m about to be featured on some true crime podcasters weekly podcast”. Luckily for me, it was just an elderly couple wanting to make sure my car hadn’t broken down or that I needed help, something I appreciated immensely. I constantly met super nice and helpful people like this up in Montana and Idaho. ❤️