Grand-Teton8

Two cousins stopping at Glacier National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip.

During September 2020, I went straight to the wild west and did the most epic road trip around Montana, Wyoming and Colorado!

The American West is known for its sky-high Rocky Mountains, fascinating wildlife, old Western towns and a lot of great adventure!

A bison at the National Bison Range

I did this fun mini road trip with my cousin where we started in Kalispell, Montana and ended in Denver, Colorado.

Our time in Montana was spent staying in Kalispell and exploring Whitefish Lake and Glacier National Park. From there, we drove south and explored the National Bison Range, Missoula and Bozeman.

A woman exploring Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

After spending a few days in Montana, we drove to Wyoming and spent two nights in the charming Western town of Cody while we explored Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Next, we made our way to Steamboat Springs, Colorado before flying home.

A woman doing a hike in Steamboat Springs on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Overall, my cousin and I had the best time on our Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip and I am so excited to share the route that we followed for eight days.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


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Montana, Wyoming and Colorado Road Trip

The Best Montana, Wyoming and Colorado Road Trip

A woman exploring the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Safety within the National Parks:

During a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, it is important that you purchase bear spray for your adventures through the National Parks. There are a lot of Grizzlies in this region of the country and there is no guarantee of your safety.

Bears are extremely wild animals and have unfortunately injured and even killed some visitors within the National Parks. Bear spray has proven to be effective and it also prevents injury to both humans and the bears.

Please, always be mindful if you are approached by a bear and don’t ever use a firearm!

When you are hiking in Grizzly country, make sure you are minding your own business, stay on the hiking paths and trails, make regular noise (such as talking, listening to music or even bring a bear bell with you) so that the bear(s) in the area are well aware that you are around and that you don’t surprise them out of the blue.

Cost for U.S. Parks:

A woman exploring Glacier National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

It costs $35 USD per standard vehicle to get into most of the big USA National Parks and $10 USD per vehicle for most State Parks. It costs more for commercial vans, buses and tours.

The $35 passes are valid for seven consecutive days. If you are doing a road trip where you know you will be seeing a lot of National Parks along the way, I recommend getting the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 USD. You will definitely save money that way!

Day 1: Fly into Kalispell and Explore Whitefish Lake

A woman wandering around Whitefish Lake on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Arrive In: Kalispell, MT

Where to Stay: Kalispell, MT or Whitefish, MT

Kalispell/Whitefish Hotel Recommendations:

Our Hotel: SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Kalispell, MT

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, Whitefish, MT

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: The Firebrand Hotel, Whitefish, MT

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: Duck Inn Lodge, Whitefish, MT

Budget Hotel Recommendation: Cedar Creek Lodge, Columbia Falls, MT

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

A craft beer in Whitefish, Montana

Where to Eat:

Lunch in Whitefish: Great Northern Bar & Grill

Dinner in Whitefish: Casey’s

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 45 minutes

Starting in Kalispell, Montana:
Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Unless you are already on a cross country road trip or you’re traveling with your own vehicle, you will need to book your flights into Glacier Park International Airport. You will also need to rent a car.

Please note that Kalispell isn’t a major city here in the United States, so if you are flying domestically, you will most likely have a layover in another city. (My layover was in Denver and my cousin’s layover was in Dallas.)

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

Since my cousin and I stayed in Kalispell, we went there first to check into our hotel before enjoying the afternoon in Whitefish, which is a 20-minute drive north of Kalispell.

If you have time, I highly recommend exploring historic downtown Kalispell. A few great things to do in Kalispell is go shopping, enjoy a nice dinner, taste some local brews at Kalispell Brewing Company and walk through the Conrad Mansion Museum, the Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell Grand Hotel and the Northwest Montana History Museum.

An Afternoon in Whitefish, Montana:
Whitefish Lake during sunset

Whitefish is a beautiful town in the Glacier National Park area that cannot be missed on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip.

The town of Whitefish is a stunning year-round destination that offers a serene lake, ski resort and other fun outdoor adventures.

For lunch and beers, I recommend going to Great Northern Bar & Grill, which is an American restaurant that offers 29 beers on tap. This restaurant and beer bar also have arcade games, pool tables, live music and an outdoor biergarten.

Casey’s is a great restaurant to grab dinner in Whitefish. Offering a woodsy-chic ambiance along with delicious food and drinks along with live entertainment, Casey’s offers a few floors along with a rooftop where you could admire views of the nearby Rocky Mountains.

A few other awesome things to do in Whitefish is swim and sunbathe on the lake at Whitefish City Beach. You could also rent a boat, jet ski, fish, kayak, canoe and so much more.

Day 2: Day in Glacier National Park

A woman on the Hidden Lake Trail at Glacier National Park

Where to Stay: Kalispell, MT or Whitefish, MT

Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Whitefish: Loula’s Café

Lunch in Glacier National Park: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.  

Huckleberry Pie Snack in Hungry Horse: The Huckleberry Patch

Dinner in Whitefish: Tupelo Grille

Estimate Amount of Driving: Between 2 to 4 hours

Best things to do in Glacier National Park:
St. Mary Falls in Glacier National Park

Our second day in Montana was spent exploring the fascinating wonders of Glacier National Park. (It will take you over a half hour to get to the west entrance of the park from Whitefish and over 45 minutes from Kalispell.)

During a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip, it is a MUST that you explore Glacier National Park! We only spent one day in Glacier due to timing and our schedule, but we could’ve easily spent a full week exploring the entire park.

A woman hiking in Glacier National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Some of the popular hikes to do in Glacier National Park are to Iceberg Lake; the Highline Trail, which is a long, but scenic route; Hidden Lake Trail and Overlook, which is the scenic hike my cousin and I did; St. Mary and Virginia Falls, which is the other hike my cousin and I did to see jaw dropping waterfalls and Avalanche Lake Loop, which is a beautiful hike through a cedar forest to a breathtaking lake.

A couple other great activities to do in Glacier is see the sunrise at Lake McDonald and take a glacier boat tour.

Dinner and Drinks in Whitefish:
Huckleberry pie from Northwestern Montana

After our fun day exploring Glacier National Park, we stopped in Hungry Horse and tried huckleberry pie at The Huckleberry Patch and it was absolutely delicious!

(Huckleberry is a fruit that is found in Northwestern Montana. Locals will take these delicious berries and create tasty treats with them such as pie.)

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Before grabbing dinner, we visited The Lodge at Whitefish where we enjoyed appetizers and a glass of wine. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful lodge because it is stunning inside and offers beautiful views of Whitefish Lake outside!

From there, we stopped back in Whitefish for dinner and drinks. My cousin and I enjoyed a taste of New Orleans at Tupelo Grille and we also got to watch a local band perform.

Afterwards, we grabbed a few craft beers at Bonsai Brewing Project, which is an adorable brewery that is located in a cute house and there is also a biergarten outside on the lawn.

Day 3: A Scenic Drive through the National Bison Range, Lunch in Missoula and Spending the Night in Bozeman

A woman enjoying her time at the National Bison Range in Montana

Where to Stay: Bozeman, MT

Bozeman Hotel Recommendations:

Our Hotel: Hampton Inn Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: RSVP Hotel, Bozeman, MT

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Lark, Bozeman, MT

Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Outpost Montana, Belgrade, MT

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

Duck pad Thai from Bozeman, Montana
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Kalispell: Skyes Diner

Lunch in Missoula: Tamarack Brewing Company

Dinner in Bozeman: Feast Raw Bar & Bistro

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 6 hours or more

National Bison Range:
A herd of bison at the National Bison Range

Another great road trip stop on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado route is the National Bison Range in Charlo, MT. (It will take a little less than two hours to drive from Kalispell and over two hours to drive from Whitefish to the National Bison Range.)

It will cost $5 USD per standard car to get into the National Bison Range.

When you arrive at the National Bison Range, there are a few scenic drives that you could do. The drive that my cousin and I did with our car was the Red Sleep Mountain Drive that is open from mid-May to early-October.

This 19-mile, one-way loop gains 2,000 feet in elevation and takes around two hours to drive through.

Antelope at the National Bison Range

Not only can you see bison at this range, there is also elk, White-Tail and Mule Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears, coyotes and more. There are also over 200 different species of birds.

For those who are on a time limit, it is best that you either do the West Loop, which is a short, one-mile drive, along with the Prairie Drive, which is a 14-mile two-way traffic drive!

You could also go on a hike within certain areas of the National Bison Range. Most of the hiking trails are within a mile long and they are easy. You could enjoy the Nature Trail, Grassland Trail, Bitterroot Trail and High Point Trail.

Lunch in Missoula:
The Hip Strip in Missoula, Montana

Located an hour south of the National Bison Range is Missoula, Montana. Overall, the city of Missoula is filled with hip restaurants and breweries, local shops and a thriving music scene.

One of the best places to grab lunch and enjoy good food and beer is at Tamarack Brewing Company that overlooks Caras Park. I totally recommend getting one of their beer flights so that you could taste a few of Tamarack’s great brews.

Visiting a brewery on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

After lunch, I recommend walking around the Hip Strip of Missoula and if you have time and want to do a hike, definitely make your way up to the M, which is a large concrete structure on the side of a mountain that overlooks the entire city.

A few great museums to check out in Missoula is the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, the Montana Natural History Center and the Missoula Art Museum.

Evening in Bozeman:

Bozeman, Montana is a three-hour drive south east of Missoula and it was where we spent the night before heading into Wyoming the next day.

Not only is Missoula a great city to stop in during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip, Bozeman another destination that cannot be overlooked.

After settling into our hotel in Bozeman, my cousin and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at Feast Raw Bar & Bistro, which features an amazing epicurean dining experience.

A few popular things to do around Bozeman, Montana is to go skiing and snowboarding in the winter at either Bridger Bowl and Big Sky.

The city also boasts the Museum of the Rockies, which features the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils and Montana State University is also situated in Bozeman.

There are also great hiking trails, hot springs and other fun outdoor adventures in the Bozeman area.

Day 4: Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming

A woman enjoying Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Cody, WY

Cody Hotel Recommendation: Chamberlin Inn

Avocado toast for breakfast in Bozeman
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Bozeman: The Farmer’s Daughter

Lunch in Yellowstone: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.  

Dinner in Cody: Proud Cut Saloon

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 6 to 7 hours

Day in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming:
A happy woman exploring the Morning Glory pool in Yellowstone on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Before my cousin and I departed Bozeman for Yellowstone National Park, we fueled up at The Farmer’s Daughter, which is a lovely farm-to-table café!

It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get from Bozeman to the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The first place we stopped at once we got into Yellowstone was Mammoth Hot Springs, which is a 15 to 20-minute drive south from the north entrance. (We mainly stayed on the Grand Loop Road.)

After checking out Mammoth Hot Springs, I recommend making your way to see Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It’s a little out of the way (we unfortunately didn’t have the time to see it), but it’s totally worth it because of how breathtaking it is!

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an hour drive south east from Mammoth Hot Springs and 30 minutes east from Beryl Spring.

Beryl Spring is another cool spot to check out in Yellowstone National Park as it is one of the hottest springs there.

A woman walking around Excelsior Geyser Crater at Yellowstone National Park

Located 20 to 25 minutes south from Beryl Spring is the Fountain Paint Pot and Red Spouter. At this spot, you could also see Fountain Geyser and Morning Geyser.

From there, we drove another 5 minutes to Excelsior Geyser Crater (in the Midway Geyser Basin) where you could see the aqua blue crater itself along with the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring!

At the end of the day, make sure you do not miss out on seeing Old Faithful along the Upper Geyser Basin. It is a 10-minute drive south from the Midway Geyser Basin and it’s Yellowstone National Park’s most famous geyser.

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful is a frequent and predictable active geyser that will erupt around 20 times a day and will last around 10 minutes. The average time between eruptions is usually between one to two hours. It is definitely one of the top tourist attractions at Yellowstone and it is totally worth seeing!

Once my cousin and I saw Old Faithful erupt, we took a walk along the Upper Geyser Basin before leaving the park to go to Cody.

Some of the best spots to check out on the Upper Geyser Basin is Castle Geyser and Morning Glory Pool.

Evening in Cody, Wyoming:
A woman walking through the gardens at Chamberlin Inn in Cody, WY

After exiting the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, my cousin and I made our way to the old Western town of Cody, Wyoming where we spent the night at the lovely boutique hotel – Chamberlin Inn. (It will take around two hours and 45 minutes to drive from Old Faithful to Chamberlin Inn in Cody.)

Once we were checked into the Chamberlin Inn, we enjoyed dinner at an authentic Western saloon called Proud Cut Saloon. A trip out west would not be complete without a Western saloon experience.

**Chamberlin Inn Special Offer**
A woman playing Chinese checkers at Chamberlin Inn in Wyoming

Chamberlin Inn is offering a special rate for their Classic Queen room (with a free upgrade offered upon arrival, based on availability)!

Also receive a $25 USD gift certificate that is redeemable at the hotel’s cocktail lounge during your stay (one voucher per stay). You also have a choice of either a One-Day Pass to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West OR receive a $20 voucher at Wyoming Trout Guides.

Please use promo code PLAY and click here to get this great package! (This package is available without any minimum, so you could enjoy it all by staying one night or longer.)

Day 5: Grand Teton National Park and Cody

A woman at Grand Teton National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Cody, WY

Cody Hotel Recommendation: Chamberlin Inn

Food from Trailhead Restaurant in Cody, Wyoming
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Cody: The Beta Coffeehouse

Lunch in Grand Teton: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.

Dinner in Cody: Trailhead Restaurant

A Day in Grand Teton National Park:
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

Since visiting Yellowstone National Park mainly consists of sightseeing, I recommend taking advantage of all the amazing hiking trails at Grand Teton National Park like we did! (It will take around three hours to drive from Cody to the north entrance of Grand Teton National Park.)

My cousin and I hiked around the scenic loop of Jenny Lake. This easy to moderate hike allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of Grand Teton, Teewinot Mountain, Mt. Owen, Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, Symmetry Spire, Mt. St. John, Rockchuck Peak and Mt. Moran.

A woman hiking in Grand Teton National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

If you don’t have enough time to hike around Jenny Lake, but want to get a similar experience, I recommend hiking around String Lake, which is only 3.8 miles round-trip. This easy hike offers views of Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton and Mt. Owen.

A really cool, strenuous hike that my cousin and I want to do next time we visit Grand Teton is the Delta Lake hike. It is a 9-mile round trip hike that goes through the Lupine Meadows Access to Delta Lake.

Another great hike that is at a moderate level in Grand Teton National Park is the Cascade Canyon Trail. This 10-mile, round-trip hike begins at Jenny Lake Trailhead and climbs above Hidden Falls.

A woman admiring the Tetons in Wyoming

Grand Teton is a beautifully photogenic National Park, so I highly recommend stopping at Schwabacher’s Landing and Snake River Overlook to get some great pictures!

The Night in Cody, Wyoming:
A woman drinking red wine at Chamberlin Inn in Cody, Wyoming

When we arrived back in Cody after driving three hours from Grand Teton National Park, we were starving, so we grabbed dinner at Trailhead Restaurant. This great bar, grill and wood fired pizza restaurant offers delicious dishes and they also have a stage where they host local bands.

After our delicious dinner, we hung out at the Chamberlin Inn’s parlour and cocktail lounge. On certain nights, the hotel will host a live musician or band who will play in their dreamy and intimate courtyard.

Day 6: Drive from Cody to Steamboat Springs

The Rocky Mountains during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs Hotel Recommendations:

Our Accommodation: Airbnb

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: Highmark Steamboat Springs by Mountain Resorts

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: The Bristol by Magnuson Worldwide

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Steamboat Grand

Budget Hotel Recommendation: Steamboat Mountain Lodge

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

Omelet breakfast at Annie's Soda Saloon in Cody, Wyoming
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Cody: Annie’s Soda Saloon & Café

Lunch: I recommend going to a grocery store and picking up food for lunch or stopping somewhere on the road.

Dinner in Steamboat Springs: Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant & Taqueria

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 7 hours

Morning in Cody, Wyoming:
Rodeo office in Cody, Wyoming

My cousin and I woke up early on our last morning in Cody and got a delicious breakfast at Annie’s Soda Saloon & Café. Afterwards, we checked out the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

This amazing center features five different museums and they will all leave you amazed! The five museums are The Buffalo Bill Museum itself, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum and The New Cody Firearms Museum.

Driving from Cody to Steamboat Springs:
Aspen trees in bloom during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

We left Cody mid to late morning and drove a little less than seven hours south to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This beautiful mountain resort town should not be missed on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip!

The drive from Cody to Steamboat Springs is picturesque, but please know that there aren’t many spots to stop along the way.

You will be on the Interstate for most of the drive, but you do go through some small towns every few hours. (Please fill up on gas whenever you get the chance to.)

Evening in Steamboat Springs:
Wine with a view in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

After checking into our mountain retreat chalet condo that we found on Airbnb, my cousin and I headed into downtown Steamboat Springs to enjoy a delicious Mexican dinner at Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant & Taqueria. This authentic spot has a rooftop that offers beautiful views of Steamboat.

When we were finished with dinner, we walked around the stunning downtown area that was decorated with Christmas lights and enjoyed drinks at The Barley Tap and Tavern.

Day 7: Enjoying the Beauty of Steamboat Springs, Colorado

A woman enjoying Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Where to Stay: Steamboat Springs, CO

Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Steamboat Springs: Seedz Café  

Lunch in Steamboat Springs: I recommend check out one of Steamboat’s breweries for lunch and beer.

Dinner in Steamboat Springs: Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant

Estimate Amount of Driving: Less than 1 hour

Things to do in Steamboat Springs:
A woman hiking Fish Creek Falls during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

During my cousin and I’s time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, we did the Fish Creek Falls hike, which is a ¼-mile to 6.5-mile hike (depending on which trail you want to do). This trail is considered a moderate hike and it allows you to walk through a wonderland of aspen trees and admire breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and local waterfalls.

Please note that Fish Creek Falls is a 10-minute drive from downtown Steamboat and it will cost you $5 USD per day to park your car at the trailhead’s parking lot. Fish Creek Falls is open year round from 6am to 10pm MST.

Hot springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

After our hike, I visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs on my own and enjoyed the healing properties that these warm pools offer.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs are a year-round destination and it is open every day from 10am to 10pm MST. It also has camping and glamping!

Other fun things to do in Steamboat Springs on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip are participating in the Steamboat Brew Trail, visiting the museums downtown and horseback riding through the Aspens.

I also recommend doing a day trip and checking out Rocky Mountain National Park!

Day 8: Drive to Denver to Fly Home

A woman hiking through Aspen woodland paths in Colorado

On our eighth morning, my cousin and I woke up early to drive three hours east to fly home from Denver International Airport.


Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., MT State Capital: Helena, WY State Capital: Cheyenne, CO State Capital: Denver, MT/WY/CO Time Zones: All are in Mountain Standard Time

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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6 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on October 21, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Looks like a perfect nature trip ~ the parks, springs and hiking trails look amazing. Your photos are fabulous ~ every place looks breathtaking ~ the air must have been so pure and crisp! Glad you got to spend time with cousin Lexi ~ love you, mom xoxo 🥰⚘♥️

    • Taylor Deer on October 21, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      It really was mom! I loved it. Also love you too! <3

  2. Lina on October 22, 2020 at 4:32 am

    This seems to be THE perfect road trip itinerary Taylor! Whitefish Lake looks mesmerizing and I’d love to see the beauty of Glacier NP one day. 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on October 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

      It really was so nice! I hope to return one day! 🙂

  3. Francesca on October 26, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    It looks like you had the best time on your road trip. I want to go to Glacier National Park so bad! Yellowstone is such a fun park too. I will be using this itinerary when I go!

    • Taylor Deer on October 27, 2020 at 12:30 am

      Thank you Francesca! You would love both of those parks. They are spectacular! 🙂

Leave a Comment





Grand-Teton8

Two cousins stopping at Glacier National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip.

During September 2020, I went straight to the wild west and did the most epic road trip around Montana, Wyoming and Colorado!

The American West is known for its sky-high Rocky Mountains, fascinating wildlife, old Western towns and a lot of great adventure!

A bison at the National Bison Range

I did this fun mini road trip with my cousin where we started in Kalispell, Montana and ended in Denver, Colorado.

Our time in Montana was spent staying in Kalispell and exploring Whitefish Lake and Glacier National Park. From there, we drove south and explored the National Bison Range, Missoula and Bozeman.

A woman exploring Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

After spending a few days in Montana, we drove to Wyoming and spent two nights in the charming Western town of Cody while we explored Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Next, we made our way to Steamboat Springs, Colorado before flying home.

A woman doing a hike in Steamboat Springs on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Overall, my cousin and I had the best time on our Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip and I am so excited to share the route that we followed for eight days.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Montana, Wyoming and Colorado Road Trip

The Best Montana, Wyoming and Colorado Road Trip

A woman exploring the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Safety within the National Parks:

During a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, it is important that you purchase bear spray for your adventures through the National Parks. There are a lot of Grizzlies in this region of the country and there is no guarantee of your safety.

Bears are extremely wild animals and have unfortunately injured and even killed some visitors within the National Parks. Bear spray has proven to be effective and it also prevents injury to both humans and the bears.

Please, always be mindful if you are approached by a bear and don’t ever use a firearm!

When you are hiking in Grizzly country, make sure you are minding your own business, stay on the hiking paths and trails, make regular noise (such as talking, listening to music or even bring a bear bell with you) so that the bear(s) in the area are well aware that you are around and that you don’t surprise them out of the blue.

Cost for U.S. Parks:

A woman exploring Glacier National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

It costs $35 USD per standard vehicle to get into most of the big USA National Parks and $10 USD per vehicle for most State Parks. It costs more for commercial vans, buses and tours.

The $35 passes are valid for seven consecutive days. If you are doing a road trip where you know you will be seeing a lot of National Parks along the way, I recommend getting the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 USD. You will definitely save money that way!

Day 1: Fly into Kalispell and Explore Whitefish Lake

A woman wandering around Whitefish Lake on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Arrive In: Kalispell, MT

Where to Stay: Kalispell, MT or Whitefish, MT

Kalispell/Whitefish Hotel Recommendations:

Our Hotel: SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Kalispell, MT

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, Whitefish, MT

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: The Firebrand Hotel, Whitefish, MT

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: Duck Inn Lodge, Whitefish, MT

Budget Hotel Recommendation: Cedar Creek Lodge, Columbia Falls, MT

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

A craft beer in Whitefish, Montana

Where to Eat:

Lunch in Whitefish: Great Northern Bar & Grill

Dinner in Whitefish: Casey’s

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 45 minutes

Starting in Kalispell, Montana:
Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

Unless you are already on a cross country road trip or you’re traveling with your own vehicle, you will need to book your flights into Glacier Park International Airport. You will also need to rent a car.

Please note that Kalispell isn’t a major city here in the United States, so if you are flying domestically, you will most likely have a layover in another city. (My layover was in Denver and my cousin’s layover was in Dallas.)

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

Since my cousin and I stayed in Kalispell, we went there first to check into our hotel before enjoying the afternoon in Whitefish, which is a 20-minute drive north of Kalispell.

If you have time, I highly recommend exploring historic downtown Kalispell. A few great things to do in Kalispell is go shopping, enjoy a nice dinner, taste some local brews at Kalispell Brewing Company and walk through the Conrad Mansion Museum, the Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell Grand Hotel and the Northwest Montana History Museum.

An Afternoon in Whitefish, Montana:
Whitefish Lake during sunset

Whitefish is a beautiful town in the Glacier National Park area that cannot be missed on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip.

The town of Whitefish is a stunning year-round destination that offers a serene lake, ski resort and other fun outdoor adventures.

For lunch and beers, I recommend going to Great Northern Bar & Grill, which is an American restaurant that offers 29 beers on tap. This restaurant and beer bar also have arcade games, pool tables, live music and an outdoor biergarten.

Casey’s is a great restaurant to grab dinner in Whitefish. Offering a woodsy-chic ambiance along with delicious food and drinks along with live entertainment, Casey’s offers a few floors along with a rooftop where you could admire views of the nearby Rocky Mountains.

A few other awesome things to do in Whitefish is swim and sunbathe on the lake at Whitefish City Beach. You could also rent a boat, jet ski, fish, kayak, canoe and so much more.

Day 2: Day in Glacier National Park

A woman on the Hidden Lake Trail at Glacier National Park

Where to Stay: Kalispell, MT or Whitefish, MT

Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Whitefish: Loula’s Café

Lunch in Glacier National Park: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.  

Huckleberry Pie Snack in Hungry Horse: The Huckleberry Patch

Dinner in Whitefish: Tupelo Grille

Estimate Amount of Driving: Between 2 to 4 hours

Best things to do in Glacier National Park:
St. Mary Falls in Glacier National Park

Our second day in Montana was spent exploring the fascinating wonders of Glacier National Park. (It will take you over a half hour to get to the west entrance of the park from Whitefish and over 45 minutes from Kalispell.)

During a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip, it is a MUST that you explore Glacier National Park! We only spent one day in Glacier due to timing and our schedule, but we could’ve easily spent a full week exploring the entire park.

A woman hiking in Glacier National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Some of the popular hikes to do in Glacier National Park are to Iceberg Lake; the Highline Trail, which is a long, but scenic route; Hidden Lake Trail and Overlook, which is the scenic hike my cousin and I did; St. Mary and Virginia Falls, which is the other hike my cousin and I did to see jaw dropping waterfalls and Avalanche Lake Loop, which is a beautiful hike through a cedar forest to a breathtaking lake.

A couple other great activities to do in Glacier is see the sunrise at Lake McDonald and take a glacier boat tour.

Dinner and Drinks in Whitefish:
Huckleberry pie from Northwestern Montana

After our fun day exploring Glacier National Park, we stopped in Hungry Horse and tried huckleberry pie at The Huckleberry Patch and it was absolutely delicious!

(Huckleberry is a fruit that is found in Northwestern Montana. Locals will take these delicious berries and create tasty treats with them such as pie.)

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Before grabbing dinner, we visited The Lodge at Whitefish where we enjoyed appetizers and a glass of wine. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful lodge because it is stunning inside and offers beautiful views of Whitefish Lake outside!

From there, we stopped back in Whitefish for dinner and drinks. My cousin and I enjoyed a taste of New Orleans at Tupelo Grille and we also got to watch a local band perform.

Afterwards, we grabbed a few craft beers at Bonsai Brewing Project, which is an adorable brewery that is located in a cute house and there is also a biergarten outside on the lawn.

Day 3: A Scenic Drive through the National Bison Range, Lunch in Missoula and Spending the Night in Bozeman

A woman enjoying her time at the National Bison Range in Montana

Where to Stay: Bozeman, MT

Bozeman Hotel Recommendations:

Our Hotel: Hampton Inn Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: Kimpton Armory Hotel Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: RSVP Hotel, Bozeman, MT

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Lark, Bozeman, MT

Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Outpost Montana, Belgrade, MT

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

Duck pad Thai from Bozeman, Montana
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Kalispell: Skyes Diner

Lunch in Missoula: Tamarack Brewing Company

Dinner in Bozeman: Feast Raw Bar & Bistro

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 6 hours or more

National Bison Range:
A herd of bison at the National Bison Range

Another great road trip stop on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado route is the National Bison Range in Charlo, MT. (It will take a little less than two hours to drive from Kalispell and over two hours to drive from Whitefish to the National Bison Range.)

It will cost $5 USD per standard car to get into the National Bison Range.

When you arrive at the National Bison Range, there are a few scenic drives that you could do. The drive that my cousin and I did with our car was the Red Sleep Mountain Drive that is open from mid-May to early-October.

This 19-mile, one-way loop gains 2,000 feet in elevation and takes around two hours to drive through.

Antelope at the National Bison Range

Not only can you see bison at this range, there is also elk, White-Tail and Mule Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears, coyotes and more. There are also over 200 different species of birds.

For those who are on a time limit, it is best that you either do the West Loop, which is a short, one-mile drive, along with the Prairie Drive, which is a 14-mile two-way traffic drive!

You could also go on a hike within certain areas of the National Bison Range. Most of the hiking trails are within a mile long and they are easy. You could enjoy the Nature Trail, Grassland Trail, Bitterroot Trail and High Point Trail.

Lunch in Missoula:
The Hip Strip in Missoula, Montana

Located an hour south of the National Bison Range is Missoula, Montana. Overall, the city of Missoula is filled with hip restaurants and breweries, local shops and a thriving music scene.

One of the best places to grab lunch and enjoy good food and beer is at Tamarack Brewing Company that overlooks Caras Park. I totally recommend getting one of their beer flights so that you could taste a few of Tamarack’s great brews.

Visiting a brewery on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

After lunch, I recommend walking around the Hip Strip of Missoula and if you have time and want to do a hike, definitely make your way up to the M, which is a large concrete structure on the side of a mountain that overlooks the entire city.

A few great museums to check out in Missoula is the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, the Montana Natural History Center and the Missoula Art Museum.

Evening in Bozeman:

Bozeman, Montana is a three-hour drive south east of Missoula and it was where we spent the night before heading into Wyoming the next day.

Not only is Missoula a great city to stop in during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip, Bozeman another destination that cannot be overlooked.

After settling into our hotel in Bozeman, my cousin and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at Feast Raw Bar & Bistro, which features an amazing epicurean dining experience.

A few popular things to do around Bozeman, Montana is to go skiing and snowboarding in the winter at either Bridger Bowl and Big Sky.

The city also boasts the Museum of the Rockies, which features the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils and Montana State University is also situated in Bozeman.

There are also great hiking trails, hot springs and other fun outdoor adventures in the Bozeman area.

Day 4: Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming

A woman enjoying Yellowstone National Park on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Cody, WY

Cody Hotel Recommendation: Chamberlin Inn

Avocado toast for breakfast in Bozeman
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Bozeman: The Farmer’s Daughter

Lunch in Yellowstone: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.  

Dinner in Cody: Proud Cut Saloon

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 6 to 7 hours

Day in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming:
A happy woman exploring the Morning Glory pool in Yellowstone on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Before my cousin and I departed Bozeman for Yellowstone National Park, we fueled up at The Farmer’s Daughter, which is a lovely farm-to-table café!

It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get from Bozeman to the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The first place we stopped at once we got into Yellowstone was Mammoth Hot Springs, which is a 15 to 20-minute drive south from the north entrance. (We mainly stayed on the Grand Loop Road.)

After checking out Mammoth Hot Springs, I recommend making your way to see Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It’s a little out of the way (we unfortunately didn’t have the time to see it), but it’s totally worth it because of how breathtaking it is!

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is an hour drive south east from Mammoth Hot Springs and 30 minutes east from Beryl Spring.

Beryl Spring is another cool spot to check out in Yellowstone National Park as it is one of the hottest springs there.

A woman walking around Excelsior Geyser Crater at Yellowstone National Park

Located 20 to 25 minutes south from Beryl Spring is the Fountain Paint Pot and Red Spouter. At this spot, you could also see Fountain Geyser and Morning Geyser.

From there, we drove another 5 minutes to Excelsior Geyser Crater (in the Midway Geyser Basin) where you could see the aqua blue crater itself along with the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring!

At the end of the day, make sure you do not miss out on seeing Old Faithful along the Upper Geyser Basin. It is a 10-minute drive south from the Midway Geyser Basin and it’s Yellowstone National Park’s most famous geyser.

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful is a frequent and predictable active geyser that will erupt around 20 times a day and will last around 10 minutes. The average time between eruptions is usually between one to two hours. It is definitely one of the top tourist attractions at Yellowstone and it is totally worth seeing!

Once my cousin and I saw Old Faithful erupt, we took a walk along the Upper Geyser Basin before leaving the park to go to Cody.

Some of the best spots to check out on the Upper Geyser Basin is Castle Geyser and Morning Glory Pool.

Evening in Cody, Wyoming:
A woman walking through the gardens at Chamberlin Inn in Cody, WY

After exiting the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, my cousin and I made our way to the old Western town of Cody, Wyoming where we spent the night at the lovely boutique hotel – Chamberlin Inn. (It will take around two hours and 45 minutes to drive from Old Faithful to Chamberlin Inn in Cody.)

Once we were checked into the Chamberlin Inn, we enjoyed dinner at an authentic Western saloon called Proud Cut Saloon. A trip out west would not be complete without a Western saloon experience.

**Chamberlin Inn Special Offer**
A woman playing Chinese checkers at Chamberlin Inn in Wyoming

Chamberlin Inn is offering a special rate for their Classic Queen room (with a free upgrade offered upon arrival, based on availability)!

Also receive a $25 USD gift certificate that is redeemable at the hotel’s cocktail lounge during your stay (one voucher per stay). You also have a choice of either a One-Day Pass to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West OR receive a $20 voucher at Wyoming Trout Guides.

Please use promo code PLAY and click here to get this great package! (This package is available without any minimum, so you could enjoy it all by staying one night or longer.)

Day 5: Grand Teton National Park and Cody

A woman at Grand Teton National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Cody, WY

Cody Hotel Recommendation: Chamberlin Inn

Food from Trailhead Restaurant in Cody, Wyoming
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Cody: The Beta Coffeehouse

Lunch in Grand Teton: I recommend eating somewhere in the park.

Dinner in Cody: Trailhead Restaurant

A Day in Grand Teton National Park:
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

Since visiting Yellowstone National Park mainly consists of sightseeing, I recommend taking advantage of all the amazing hiking trails at Grand Teton National Park like we did! (It will take around three hours to drive from Cody to the north entrance of Grand Teton National Park.)

My cousin and I hiked around the scenic loop of Jenny Lake. This easy to moderate hike allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of Grand Teton, Teewinot Mountain, Mt. Owen, Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, Symmetry Spire, Mt. St. John, Rockchuck Peak and Mt. Moran.

A woman hiking in Grand Teton National Park during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

If you don’t have enough time to hike around Jenny Lake, but want to get a similar experience, I recommend hiking around String Lake, which is only 3.8 miles round-trip. This easy hike offers views of Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton and Mt. Owen.

A really cool, strenuous hike that my cousin and I want to do next time we visit Grand Teton is the Delta Lake hike. It is a 9-mile round trip hike that goes through the Lupine Meadows Access to Delta Lake.

Another great hike that is at a moderate level in Grand Teton National Park is the Cascade Canyon Trail. This 10-mile, round-trip hike begins at Jenny Lake Trailhead and climbs above Hidden Falls.

A woman admiring the Tetons in Wyoming

Grand Teton is a beautifully photogenic National Park, so I highly recommend stopping at Schwabacher’s Landing and Snake River Overlook to get some great pictures!

The Night in Cody, Wyoming:
A woman drinking red wine at Chamberlin Inn in Cody, Wyoming

When we arrived back in Cody after driving three hours from Grand Teton National Park, we were starving, so we grabbed dinner at Trailhead Restaurant. This great bar, grill and wood fired pizza restaurant offers delicious dishes and they also have a stage where they host local bands.

After our delicious dinner, we hung out at the Chamberlin Inn’s parlour and cocktail lounge. On certain nights, the hotel will host a live musician or band who will play in their dreamy and intimate courtyard.

Day 6: Drive from Cody to Steamboat Springs

The Rocky Mountains during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

Where to Stay: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs Hotel Recommendations:

Our Accommodation: Airbnb

Luxury Hotel Recommendation: Highmark Steamboat Springs by Mountain Resorts

Boutique Hotel Recommendation: The Bristol by Magnuson Worldwide

Mid-Budget Hotel Recommendation: The Steamboat Grand

Budget Hotel Recommendation: Steamboat Mountain Lodge

Rentals: Airbnb or Vrbo

Omelet breakfast at Annie's Soda Saloon in Cody, Wyoming
Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Cody: Annie’s Soda Saloon & Café

Lunch: I recommend going to a grocery store and picking up food for lunch or stopping somewhere on the road.

Dinner in Steamboat Springs: Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant & Taqueria

Estimate Amount of Driving: Around 7 hours

Morning in Cody, Wyoming:
Rodeo office in Cody, Wyoming

My cousin and I woke up early on our last morning in Cody and got a delicious breakfast at Annie’s Soda Saloon & Café. Afterwards, we checked out the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

This amazing center features five different museums and they will all leave you amazed! The five museums are The Buffalo Bill Museum itself, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum and The New Cody Firearms Museum.

Driving from Cody to Steamboat Springs:
Aspen trees in bloom during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

We left Cody mid to late morning and drove a little less than seven hours south to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This beautiful mountain resort town should not be missed on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip!

The drive from Cody to Steamboat Springs is picturesque, but please know that there aren’t many spots to stop along the way.

You will be on the Interstate for most of the drive, but you do go through some small towns every few hours. (Please fill up on gas whenever you get the chance to.)

Evening in Steamboat Springs:
Wine with a view in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

After checking into our mountain retreat chalet condo that we found on Airbnb, my cousin and I headed into downtown Steamboat Springs to enjoy a delicious Mexican dinner at Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant & Taqueria. This authentic spot has a rooftop that offers beautiful views of Steamboat.

When we were finished with dinner, we walked around the stunning downtown area that was decorated with Christmas lights and enjoyed drinks at The Barley Tap and Tavern.

Day 7: Enjoying the Beauty of Steamboat Springs, Colorado

A woman enjoying Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Where to Stay: Steamboat Springs, CO

Where to Eat:

Breakfast in Steamboat Springs: Seedz Café  

Lunch in Steamboat Springs: I recommend check out one of Steamboat’s breweries for lunch and beer.

Dinner in Steamboat Springs: Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant

Estimate Amount of Driving: Less than 1 hour

Things to do in Steamboat Springs:
A woman hiking Fish Creek Falls during a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip

During my cousin and I’s time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, we did the Fish Creek Falls hike, which is a ¼-mile to 6.5-mile hike (depending on which trail you want to do). This trail is considered a moderate hike and it allows you to walk through a wonderland of aspen trees and admire breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and local waterfalls.

Please note that Fish Creek Falls is a 10-minute drive from downtown Steamboat and it will cost you $5 USD per day to park your car at the trailhead’s parking lot. Fish Creek Falls is open year round from 6am to 10pm MST.

Hot springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

After our hike, I visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs on my own and enjoyed the healing properties that these warm pools offer.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs are a year-round destination and it is open every day from 10am to 10pm MST. It also has camping and glamping!

Other fun things to do in Steamboat Springs on a Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip are participating in the Steamboat Brew Trail, visiting the museums downtown and horseback riding through the Aspens.

I also recommend doing a day trip and checking out Rocky Mountain National Park!

Day 8: Drive to Denver to Fly Home

A woman hiking through Aspen woodland paths in Colorado

On our eighth morning, my cousin and I woke up early to drive three hours east to fly home from Denver International Airport.


Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the best Montana, Wyoming and Colorado road trip. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., MT State Capital: Helena, WY State Capital: Cheyenne, CO State Capital: Denver, MT/WY/CO Time Zones: All are in Mountain Standard Time

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6 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on October 21, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Looks like a perfect nature trip ~ the parks, springs and hiking trails look amazing. Your photos are fabulous ~ every place looks breathtaking ~ the air must have been so pure and crisp! Glad you got to spend time with cousin Lexi ~ love you, mom xoxo 🥰⚘♥️

    • Taylor Deer on October 21, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      It really was mom! I loved it. Also love you too! <3

  2. Lina on October 22, 2020 at 4:32 am

    This seems to be THE perfect road trip itinerary Taylor! Whitefish Lake looks mesmerizing and I’d love to see the beauty of Glacier NP one day. 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on October 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

      It really was so nice! I hope to return one day! 🙂

  3. Francesca on October 26, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    It looks like you had the best time on your road trip. I want to go to Glacier National Park so bad! Yellowstone is such a fun park too. I will be using this itinerary when I go!

    • Taylor Deer on October 27, 2020 at 12:30 am

      Thank you Francesca! You would love both of those parks. They are spectacular! 🙂

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