Things to do in Three Forks, Montana

Posted by Emily Coombs on Monday, September 7th, 2020 at 4:11pm.

Missouri Headwaters State Park

Just over 30 miles down the road from Bozeman, the little town of Three Forks has a quiet following and for a good reason. Just out of reach of the busy pace of Bozeman, Three Forks maintains its small-town charm and pleasant warmth. The views are spectacular, the vibe, relaxed. Families, retirees, and young couples all love the space to roam, and the plethora of activities suitable for all ages.

Headwaters Trail System

This paved network of trails running along the former Milwaukee Railroad bed takes you through the town to Missouri Headwaters State Park. Plans call for the path to eventually continue to Manhattan, Montana. The project initially cost $1,000,000, made possible by donations and grant funding. That effort alone says a lot about the character of this community.

Copper City Trails

Speaking of trails, the newest addition to the area is Copper City Trails, a project of Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA.) Completed in 2019, over 17 miles of bike-optimized trails are available for bikers, hikers, and trail runners. There is a wide range of trails for all skill levels, including a youth-focused skills park.

Sacajawea Hotel

A Historic Hotels of America destination, the Sacajawea Hotel is a stop for history lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and foodies. During the summer, enjoy a cold beverage on their sweeping wrap around porch. We highly recommend Pompey’s Grill for an elegant dining experience you won’t soon forget.

Three Forks Pond

During the summer, Three Forks Pond, managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, is bustling with activity. Fishing, canoeing, biking, swimming, standup paddleboarding, and boating activists all take advantage of this little slice of heaven on the edge of town.

Missouri Headwaters State Park

Known as Mighty Mo, the Missouri River begins in Three Forks, where the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison Rivers join. This state park is a favorite for campers, floaters, and anglers. Lewis and Clark camped here in 1805, be sure to stop by the interpretive display to learn more about the areas cultural and natural history. And, if you’re up for it, you can even rent a tipi for the night!

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

One of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest, a tour of Lewis and Clark Caverns, will amaze you. Fun fact: Lewis and Clark didn’t discover, or even set foot in the caves. But 100 years after the Corps of Discovery expedition, President Theodore Roosevelt realized nothing in the federal government had been named after this critical mission and bestowed the honor on this popular state park.

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

There is something awe-inspiring about this high, limestone cliff Native Americans used for 2,000 years to run herds of bison over the edge for food, clothing, shelter, and provisions. Young runners would disguise themselves in buffalo, antelope, or wolf skins and lure the bison to the edge where they stampeded to their death. This act continued as recently as 200 years ago!

Skydiving

Yes, we said skydiving. Dzone Skydiving, operating out of Bozeman, uses the Three Forks airport as a launching pad. People rave about the thrill-- and the views-- that’s just part of why they call it “breathtaking.”

Willow Creek Saloon

Just 10 minutes down the Old Yellowstone Trail sits the Willow Creek Saloon. Don’t worry, it’s not a trail, it’s a real road, and the drive is gorgeous. Rolling farmlands surrounded by high mountain ranges make this leisurely drive a favorite for locals around the region. They’re well-known for the ribs, so be sure to bring your appetite!

Bleu Horses

Artist Jim Dolan contributed this gift to all Montanans. Thirty-nine steel sculptures of a horse herd dot the hillside along Highway 287 north of Three Forks. You’ll have to look twice to realize this stunning display isn’t the real deal. While you’re passing through, be sure to stop at Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery, located just off I-90. The sprawling farms grow their wheat for their delicious, locally made loaves of bread. The bakery serves impressive sandwiches and baked goods; it’s well worth timing your trip to accommodate breakfast or lunch.

 

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