Some of the best places in Montana are located down bumpy, dusty, dirty gravel and dirt roads. We started Paradise Overland to provide an alternative to typical car and RV rentals. We provide well-maintained SUVs and trucks with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and tires designed for non-highway driving. Not only can you get to where you want to go, but you aren't worried about getting stuck along the way. Two of our vehicles have significant clearance for those really out-of-the-way places.
I have been contemplating this road trip for quite some time and finally decided to sit down and figure it out. The goal is to visit amazing places in Montana while simultaneously drinking good beer. I stuck to western Montana to keep the driving times manageable, plus it is beautiful here and totally worth visiting. A caveat - I have not done this trip, so I don't have the logistics worked out. I am listing the high points and from there it is choose your own adventure. If anyone out there wants to do this trip and document it let me know! Don't forget to check out the Montana Brewer's Trail Map to help you find your way to good beer!
Here is the driving loop starting and finishing at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport:
This article is for all the newbie campers out there (and those who know better but who are just lazy). We support you experiencing and loving the outdoors, but you need to learn proper bathroom habits when there is no bathroom available. There is nothing worse than showing up to a dispersed camp site and realizing the last four groups of campers did not do their due diligence when relieving themselves.
Steps for pooping in the woods:
Seeing a bear in its native habitat can be an exhilarating experience – it can also be terrifying. Bears are prevalent throughout the mountains and forests of Montana including our highly visited National Parks. The chances of being injured by a bear in Yellowstone National Park are extremely low: 1 in 2.7 million. The risk of bear injury is about as high as being killed by a falling tree, being hit by lightning, or dying in an avalanche. While this risk is not high there are some very simple and easy practices you can adopt to stay safe while recreating in bear country.
Bears in Montana
There are two species of bears in Montana: black bears (Ursus americanus) and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), also known as brown bears. Both species of bears are omnivores and eat many different plants and animals. They also can get a taste for human food, garbage and pet foods which lead to many negative bear-human interactions.
The Magruder Road Corridor (MRC) is a 101-mile gravel road through wilderness spanning the Idaho-Montana border. The road travels between the Selway-Bitterrot Wilderness in the north and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in the south. These two wilderness areas make up the largest block of land with no roads in the contiguous US. The actual road was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. The MRC was created when the Central Idaho Wilderness Act was passed in 1980 creating the corridor through the two wilderness areas.
The MRC spans from Elk City, Idaho to Darby, Montana. Along the way there are numerous campgrounds, lookout towers and other waypoints. The real draw of traveling this road is the difficulty is high enough most people either can't drive it or won't want to. The road is one-lane most of the way with limited turn outs for passing. You need a high clearance vehicle with 4WD, a dirt- or mountain bike or OHV. The average speed is 12-15 miles per hour in a vehicle.
Amy Bowser is the co-owner of Paradise Overland with her husband Jon. In their free time they explore anywhere they can get to with their Toyota and roof top tent.