5-Day Motorcycle Getaway in Southwest Montana

Ennis + Dillon + Pioneer Mountains + Butte + Pintlers + Deer Lodge + Helena + Canyon Ferry Reservoir + Rocky Mountain Front + Augusta

Southwest Montana


71 Miles

From Ennis, take State Highway 287 west and begin your trip by exploring the ghost towns of Virginia City and Nevada City along Alder Gulch, site of the richest placer gold strike in the Rockies. Stop for lunch at The Old Hotel in Twin Bridges, a walk-up eatery with Hawaiian inspired fare. From there, take State Highway 41 south to Dillon, stopping for a selfie at Beaverhead Rock State Park on the way. Then, visit Clark's Lookout State Park for gorgeous views of the Beaverhead Valley. From there, head on over to the Beaverhead Brewing Company for some local Montana brews before dinner at Sparky's Garage. Overnight in Dillon at The Andrus Hotel, Best Western Paradise Inn or Sundowner Motel.

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Southwest Montana


120 Miles

Take Interstate Highway 15 south to MT-278 to Bannack State Park, and explore the site of Montana’s first gold discovery, now an abandoned mining town with more than 60 historic buildings. From Bannack, head west on MT-278 and north on the breathtaking 49-mile Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. Stop at Crystal Park and dig for crystals, like quartz and amethyst. If your bike is equipped for dirt, detour 5 miles to Coolidge Ghost Town. Afterward, take a break at the Wise River Club in Wise River, where the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway ends. From there, head east on State Highway 43 and then north on I-15 to Butte, and old mining town home to one of the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark Districts with a wealth of turn of the 20th century architecture, most of which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Grab a drink at the M&M Bar & Café and then head to Butte Brewing Company for pizza and beer. Overnight in Butte at the Finlen Hotel and Motor Inn, The Miner’s Hotel or Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

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Southwest Montana


114 Miles

From Butte, take I-15 west to Interstate Highway 90 heading north, then exit onto State Highway 1 to Anaconda (look for the smokestack), where you’ll ride the 64-mile Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway to Drummond. On the way, stop at The Lakehouse for a bite to eat just before Georgetown Lake. From there, visit Philipsburg, and check out what’s on tap at Philipsburg Brewing. Once you reach Drummond, grab a burger at Parker’s Restaurant—they’ve got 135 burgers to choose from! From there, take I-90 east to Deer Lodge and tour the Old Montana Prison and Auto Museum and/or the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. Overnight at the Old Montana Inn or Western Big Sky Inn.

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Southwest Montana


141 Miles

Take I-90 north to U.S. Highway 12 and head east toward Helena. US-12 winds through the beautiful Helena National Forest, over the Continental Divide at MacDonald Pass, and then through Helena. Head east on State Highway 430 to State Highway 284 and Canyon Ferry Dam and Reservoir. Follow MT-284 south to Townsend, stopping along the way for a photo opportunity at the Historic Canton Church. In Townsend, visit Broadwater Historical Museum and Goose Bay Handblown Glass. From there, head north on MT-287 back to Helena, and keep your eyes peeled for pronghorn antelope in the meadows along the highway north of Townsend. In Helena, stroll Last Chance Gulch and grab food and drinks at The Windbag Saloon or Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. Overnight in Helena at Best Western Premier Great Northern Hotel, the DoubleTree or Baymont Inn & Suites.

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Southwest Montana


150 Miles (out and back)

From Helena, drive through the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountain Front to the charming small town of Augusta. Begin on I-15 north and stop in Wolf Creek to visit Lazy I Beerworks. From there, take MT-287 to Augusta, where you’ll find the Buckhorn Bar, Western Bar and Lazy B Bar + Café…all great stops where you can toast to an extraordinary ride.

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This Google map will automatically reroute when roads are closed.

Trip Tips

Always check road reports and weather conditions when traveling through Montana, especially on seasonal roads like the Going-to-the-Sun Road and the Beartooth Highway.

It can get a little (or a lot) chilly at high elevations, even in the summer. Dress accordingly and always check the weather before you ride, especially in the spring and fall when the weather can change at the drop of a hat

Plan your route in terms of where to fuel up, and note that cell service can be spotty (or nonexistent) at times.

Know before you go.

Check the status of your destination before arriving.

Plan ahead.

Make reservations in advance and pack essentials like water.

Play it safe.

Take it slow and choose low-risk activities.

Be wildlife wise.

Learn wildlife safety. View from a safe distance, never approach or feed, and carry bear spray.

Explore locally.

Be mindful of your impact on communities.

Leave no trace.

Take your trash, including fruit rinds, with you and clean up properly.

Build an inclusive outdoors.

Make outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all.

Prevent aquatic invasive species.

Follow the steps Clean. Drain. Dry. and pull over for inspections.

Practice avalanche safety.

Check avalanche forecasts, carry gear and know your snow.

Prevent wildland fires.

Properly use outdoor equipment, learn campfire safety and check fire restrictions.

Recreate Responsibly