This summer I spent six weeks riding through the northwestern States. Although it was impossible to cover each in detail, I’ll post highlights over the next few months. I hope they inspire travel plans for you.
10 Highlights of Northwestern Montana
- Kootenai Falls. Originating in British Columbia, the Kootenai river dips down into Montana before heading back up into Canada. Just west of Libby, MT, the river drops 90 feet in a short distance. These falls are considered sacred to the Kootenai Indians whose ancestors inhabited the area.
- Swing bridge. Not for the feint of heart, this swinging bridge across the Kootenai is accessed from a path not far from the falls. It provides an excellent view of the falls and connects you to hiking trails on the other side of the river.
- Ross Creek Cedar Grove. Enter this grove and you know you’re on hallowed ground. Except for the walking path and benches, the ancient cedars thrive in an ecosystem untouched by humans. It’s silent, clean, green, immense, powerful. Plan to spend quiet time here.
- Rosauers Grocery Store in Libby. It was a delight to find this grocery store in a small frontier town. Well-stocked with healthy, nutritious food, organic snacks and fresh produce, it was a treat to stock up for the road.
- West side of Lake Koocanusa. Accessible only in good weather, this road twists, turns and changes elevation as it follows the Lake, created when the Libby dam was built across the Kootenai River. It’s remote and there are no services, so plan accordingly.
- Highway 56. Connecting Highway’s 2 and 200, this road is a most pleasant scenic ride with sweeping curves through mountain valleys. There was very little traffic, even in the height of summer.
- Woodland RV Park. I loved this little park in Libby. Considering it was in town, it was quiet, had lots of shade sites and was only $16 for two nights. That included water and electrical hookups. Showers were 50 cents more.
- Libby Dam. It’s hard to find a major river in the northwest that isn’t dammed. This massive structure, a joint venture between Canada and the US, is easily accessible and has an informative visitor’s center. It’s a scenic ride along the Kootenai River to get there and the gateway to Lake Koocanusa.
- Town of Libby. A lovely, northern frontier town once thriving because of natural resources, the rugged natural surroundings have evolved into a mecca for outdoor activities. Home to a high concentration of eagles, which you’ll see soaring over head, it’s dubbed the City of Eagles.
- Canadian Rockies in British Columbia. Somehow the mountains seem dramatically higher once you cross the border into Canada. Given their close proximity, it’s worth a trip into BC just to experience them.
These were the treasures I enjoyed while in the area. I’d love to hear about any I missed. What are your favorites in the area?