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Old 01-28-2022, 09:08 PM   #1
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Western Montana/Northern Idaho Attractions

We're planning a trip starting in mid-April of this year up into Montana, Idaho, Washington State, then back down south along the Oregon coast. We're familiar enough with Oregon, being one of our frequent destinations, but this will be our first time to western Montana and northern Idaho. We might also venture north into Canada for a few days but haven't decided on that yet.

We did Jackson, Grand Tetons and Bozeman a couple years ago, purposely avoiding Yellowstone because we don't like crowds and NP aren't too dog friendly. No plans for Yellowstone this trip either, but we're wondering what we ought to try to see out in western Montana, Coeur d'Alene etc. We really enjoyed downtown Bozeman last trip and wonder if Missoula might be a worthwhile stop as well. We aren't into fishing, but nothing wrong with camping along a mountain stream, though DW does insist on full hook-ups. Hiking, shopping, museums, roadside attractions are all things that interest us. The natural beauty of the area is perhaps enough in itself, but we're always up for new, interesting towns.

BTW, we stayed in Virginia City last trip up this way and really enjoyed it.

Thanks in advance for whatever suggestions you might have to offer.
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CamJam1 View Post
We're planning a trip starting in mid-April of this year up into Montana, Idaho, Washington State, then back down south along the Oregon coast. We're familiar enough with Oregon, being one of our frequent destinations, but this will be our first time to western Montana and northern Idaho. We might also venture north into Canada for a few days but haven't decided on that yet.

We did Jackson, Grand Tetons and Bozeman a couple years ago, purposely avoiding Yellowstone because we don't like crowds and NP aren't too dog friendly. No plans for Yellowstone this trip either, but we're wondering what we ought to try to see out in western Montana, Coeur d'Alene etc. We really enjoyed downtown Bozeman last trip and wonder if Missoula might be a worthwhile stop as well. We aren't into fishing, but nothing wrong with camping along a mountain stream, though DW does insist on full hook-ups. Hiking, shopping, museums, roadside attractions are all things that interest us. The natural beauty of the area is perhaps enough in itself, but we're always up for new, interesting towns.

BTW, we stayed in Virginia City last trip up this way and really enjoyed it.

Thanks in advance for whatever suggestions you might have to offer.
Definitely worth seeing the Niagra of the west. https://www.tfid.org/309/Shoshone-Fa...agara%20Falls.. I took this photo.
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Old 01-29-2022, 12:38 AM   #3
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If you Liked downtown Bozeman the you'll love downtown Coeur D'Alene. Western Montana is great for fishing and hiking. I have spent three weeks (over three years) at Glacier Nat'l Park. I'm not a hiker but you could spend a long time there and not see it all. If you go make sure to do the Red Bus tour. It's not really a bus but it's a great way to see the park.
https://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/red-bus-tours
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Old 01-29-2022, 02:44 AM   #4
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Definitely worth seeing the Niagra of the west. https://www.tfid.org/309/Shoshone-Fa...agara%20Falls.. I took this photo.
We stopped at Shoshone Falls last year on our way back from Oregon. Spent a lovely couple hours there and had a picnic lunch under the trees in the park. Definitely enjoyed that one!
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Old 01-29-2022, 02:55 AM   #5
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If you Liked downtown Bozeman the you'll love downtown Coeur D'Alene. Western Montana is great for fishing and hiking. I have spent three weeks (over three years) at Glacier Nat'l Park. I'm not a hiker but you could spend a long time there and not see it all. If you go make sure to do the Red Bus tour. It's not really a bus but it's a great way to see the park.
https://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/red-bus-tours
Thanks for the suggestions. Coeur d'Alene is definitely on the list. Glacier sounds like a "must see" as well. Just not sure if we'll get to it this trip or not. Some friends of ours also suggested the Bitterroot Valley.
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Old 01-29-2022, 09:46 AM   #6
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Glacier is awesome. But if you donít like crowds, not the place to be. We really enjoyed Libby, Mt. and the surrounding area. Lots to see and do. Priest Lake ,Idaho is probably my favorite place to go. Absolutely pristine. Rent a pontoon boat and enjoy the lake. If you like to fish, numerous rivers to pick from. Love Big Sky and the Gallatin River area also. Coer dílaine is a unique town. A lot of sites to visit and great local breweries.
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Old 01-29-2022, 10:54 AM   #7
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Depending on your activity level there is https://www.allwhitefish.com/nature/..._the_trees.php. Nice views and not strenuous.

In summer months this https://skiwhitefish.com offers several options.

The town of Whitefish has some interesting shops and good restaurants. In Missoula there is a nice minor league baseball stadium where the Missoula Paddleheads play, https://www.milb.com/missoula Also the

As Missoula is a college town lots of brew pubs and eateries are available. Big Dipper Ice Cream on Higgins is quite good. Old fashioned walk-up with outdoor seating.

This area frequently has many activities in addition to the old Carousel. Events Calendar | Carousel For Missoula

If history interests you check out https://lewisandclark.travel/nomination/lolo-trail/

I'll skip Glacier due to crowds. It is spectacular though.

Have a great time!
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:06 AM   #8
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Check out Flathead Lake just south of Glacier. Also Wild Horse Island at Flathead. In Central ID go to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area between Stanley and Ketchum, just north of Sun Valley.
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:49 AM   #9
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Great tips y'all, and many places I was not aware of! Thanks!!
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:55 AM   #10
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Great tips y'all, and many places I was not aware of! Thanks!!
Flathead lake and Glacier is a must see. Missoula too for the Breweries. If you do Glacier, schedule 2 days minimum. Any less is not enough.
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Old 01-29-2022, 12:03 PM   #11
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Hard to believe some will skip a national park because of crowds or having a dog. The parks are unique... nothing like them! Go the shoulder seasons.

Google the towns in the areas you'll be for things to see and do. They'll have lots of recommendations depending on your interests.

Idaho is a favorite of ours. If going to Missoula then check out Salmon, Challis, Stanley (Sawtooth Mtns.), over to 55/95 north to McCall. Continue north to Lewiston (take a Snake River boat ride). The state park is awesome with huge shade trees. Then north to Sandpoint/Bonner's Ferry area. Beautiful.
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Old 01-29-2022, 01:22 PM   #12
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Glacier National Park is now requiring a reservation for admission most of the summer season. Last minute reservations require lottery level luck.
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Old 01-29-2022, 10:25 PM   #13
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Hard to believe some will skip a national park because of crowds or having a dog. The parks are unique... nothing like them! Go the shoulder seasons.

Google the towns in the areas you'll be for things to see and do. They'll have lots of recommendations depending on your interests.

Idaho is a favorite of ours. If going to Missoula then check out Salmon, Challis, Stanley (Sawtooth Mtns.), over to 55/95 north to McCall. Continue north to Lewiston (take a Snake River boat ride). The state park is awesome with huge shade trees. Then north to Sandpoint/Bonner's Ferry area. Beautiful.
We're probably going to be in the Whitefish area 3rd week of April, so perhaps early enough to avoid the crowds at Glacier NP. But really, why would anyone want to spend their vacation waiting in a traffic jam when the areas outside the park boundaries are magnificent too? To each their own I guess. In any case, your suggestions are much appreciated and we are looking at the Sawtooth Mountains and Challis on the way up from Az.
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:19 PM   #14
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Missoula is home to the smoke jumpers and they have a museum there
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