Update: This post was completed right before the Yellowstone flooding and closure.
There are places you hear about and always want to see in person and for me one of those places is Big Sky, Montana. There is something about the name that evokes the west and I was very excited to see it. Lee had made the drive up that way to Bozeman but a couple of times I chose not to go because the skies were overcast. When you go to Big Sky you want to actually see it so I was excited when we finally had a decent weather day and could head that way.
The drive north on 191 is very beautiful and goes through the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park and a big chunk of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. It also is close to the Gallatin Mountain range and drive along the Gallatin river were spectacular. I didn’t come close to capturing it but here are a few pics.
When we reached Big Sky initially it looked like any other tiny town, but on a whim I saw a sign and asked Lee to make a left. That was a great choice because the real town is off the highway and was absolutely charming. There is definitely money here for sure and the real estate is outrageously priced (I checked) but I really liked the town’s vibe and beauty.
The town has all kinds of amenities including local grocery stores, restaurants, golf course, and even a movie theater. Since it is only 45 minutes to Bozeman from there they don’t have to have all the big box stores in town. There is even a park with a waterfall that we want to go back and explore later. The hike was a little long for the time we had but definitely want to go back and check it out.
The coolest part was we turned a corner right outside of town and saw two Mountain sheep very close to the road. I had Lee stop and we walked across the highway and took these pictures from a safe distance. They could have cared less about us and we had all the time in the world to watch them.
I really liked it there and can’t wait to go back and explore more but we also wanted to see Bozeman. West Yellowstone is roughly equidistant between Idaho Falls and Bozeman and of the two I definitely liked Bozeman better. It has a great small town vibe feel and the people were much friendlier than the ones I had met in Idaho Falls. And although both drives are nice the drive to Bozeman is absolutely gorgeous. Since we were in town we stocked up on things we can’t get in smaller towns and ultimately headed back. We were going to take a less traveled route on our way back but it started raining pretty hard again so we just went back the way we had come. There are lots of cool small towns in that area and we can’t wait to go back and explore more.
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