We all need a vacation right around this time of year. Most of us are beginning to feel cooped up, and start longing for the right adventure to make us feel alive again.
Have you considered an inspiring road trip from Calgary to Montana? This long drive has so many exciting stops along the way and will leave full of love for both the U.S. and Canada.
You'll learn some amazing pieces of history from the Native Americans to the settlers. You'll see some of the most beautiful natural sites in North America. And you may even discover your new favourite town or city between the two.
Keep reading to find out all that this road trip has to offer, and how to make it the best ever.
There is about 663 km between Calgary and Montana. There's a lot of space, but the more distance the more there is to see! It's a long drive, but there are lots of stops that make it worth taking the long way. And there's even beautiful scenery to enjoy from the comfort of your car.
Calgary to Montana Drive Time
If you go straight from Calgary driving to Montana with no stops, the trip takes about 7 hours. However, whether for bathroom breaks or overnight stops in thrilling locations, we recommend making those stops. You can spend a couple of hours at some of your stops, or if you really want to enjoy all that a town has to offer, plan on spending a couple of days.
This trip can take as long or as short (as seven hours) as you want it to. Plan your stops based on what's most interesting to you.
How Much Will Gas Cost?
Unless you're going way off route for your stops along the way, your trip should cost about $65.00 USD in gas money (Approximately $83.00 CAD). Plan for it to cost a little more so that you can take those off-road adventures and so that you're pleasantly surprised if it ends up costing less.
Round trip, it's about $130.00 USD (Approximately $173.00 CAD). With gas money out of the way, you can plan a budget for the rest of your trip expenses such as attractions and lodgings.
Which Cities Are Between Calgary and Montana?
Some of the best attractions between Calgary and Montana are the cool cities between the two locations. Each of the cities offers slightly different tourists opportunities. You can hit them all or choose specific ones based on the interests of you and your family members.
Choose between hiking, history, art galleries, shops, cute towns, concerts, and more!
This city prides itself on its family-oriented and agricultural culture. There are frequent weekend events to partake in, golf courses, and the opportunity to learn about some amazing Alberta history and culture.
The accommodations in Claresholm are truly unique. You can book a campground for your stay! But if more traditional lodging is your desire, there are plenty of hotels and motels to stay in as well.
The district museum boasts several structures from the early 1900s to the 1920s. Here, you'll find the history of the settlement of the town from Blackfoot culture to the military. You'll even get to see Canada's oldest school bus!
If you love exploring quaint, picturesque towns, Claresholm is the place for you. It's full of eclectic shops, delicious fooderies, and lovely parks to explore.
There are aquatic areas and pools for the swimmers in your family as well as ice arenas for winter sports. You may even be able to find frozen lakes for outdoor ice skating.
Lethbridge is truly the place for outdoor lovers with its over 30 parks. Go for a nice walk or for a free outdoor fitness class. Don't forget to check out the nature center for their exciting programs about local wildlife, wilderness survival, and astronomy.
You can plan your drive around one of the many outdoor special events hosted in Lethbridge every year. There's the Sounds of the Season holiday concert that is sure to get you and everyone in your family into the holiday spirit with their multiple talented music groups.
Come for Canada Day to experience food trucks, fireworks, and an Indigenous People's celebration.
If your family is into sporting events, you can't miss Southern Alberta Summer Games. Sporting events including swimming, archery, baseball, and more are included in the event.
Sweet Grass, Montana (an absolutely necessary stop on your Montana road trip) is named for its sweetly fragrant grass. Can you imagine a more magical place to spend a few days than a place that literally has sweet-smelling grass?
This country is also full of natural beauty, important American history, and lovely establishments for you to enjoy your stay in. You can find amazing work by local artists (including inspiring Indigenous artists and craftsmen) at the art galleries or learn some history at local museums, battlefields, and tribal celebrations.
Enjoy the freshest foods at the Cut Bank Farmer's Market. Catch a new movie at the Glacier Cinema followed by a refreshing drink at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery.
There's amazing hiking in the area with views of glacier creeks from steep cliffs.
Take a special trip over to the site where Meriweather Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) camped with the Blackfeet Nation. Due to a disagreement about arms control and supply among Native Americans, the trip turned sour. The ensuing fight left two Blackfeet people dead, and the location is now a place of infamy and commemoration.
Shelby is another great location for parks and recreation lovers. There are a lot of great hunting and fishing opportunities, and it's considered one of the best locations specifically for bow hunting. It's also a great place for wildlife observation because of its population of black bears, mule deer, mountain goats, and more.
If you take an interest in renewable energy, you can't miss the area wind farms. You can take a tour of these farms to discover the amazing power of wind energy and all the potential it has for powering our world through a renewable resource. Even if you don't tour, the amazing windmills are truly a sight to see from your car.
The final city on your Montana road trip should be Brady. Brady has the most to offer of the other cities in Montana, and you could spend over a week there without becoming bored. It's an absolute must-visit location.
Most of what Brady has to offer is in the outdoors category.
You can find fantastic hiking, fishing, hunting, backpacking, river guides, horseback riding, and pretty much any other outdoor activity you can think of. You can try a new activity every day, or buckle down and explore all there is to offer within a particular category. You won't run out of trails, streams, and parks for a long time.
You'll also find fun cultural attractions such as museums, galleries, dining, and nightlife. If you're looking for the ultimate American Western experience, Brady is offering just that.
Interesting Stops Between Calgary and Montana
Cities aren't the only thing between Calgary and Montana worth visiting. Here are some of the sights that you can't afford to miss. Most of them are partial day trips, so you don't need to worry about them adding too much time to your Calgary to Montana road trip.
The city itself of Great Falls is full of both big-city entertainment and quiet, serene outdoor views.
But the thing you can't miss is of course the waterfalls themselves. Take a hike and follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark to see some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the U.S.
If you are a mountain biker, Helena, Montana is likely already on your bucket list. There are trails for every skill level that loop around the city and through the wilderness. So if you've always wanted to try mountain biking but have no experience, this is the ultimate stop for you on your trip.
You can take shuttles to more obscure locations for the best mountain biking experience of your life.
If you're a U.S. history buff, you can't miss that Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman. It's a fantastic immersive experience that wraps up the history of all the people who have lived in this area of Montana.
Experience the life-size settler's chain, the exhibit on pioneer women, agricultural information, and an extensive photo archive. You can even request a reprint of your favourite pioneer photo to take home with you.
Before you leave Alberta, Canada, make sure you stop at Okotoks Erratic. This location is both an amazing natural beauty and an important spiritual landmark for the Blackfeet Nation.
From a great distance away, you can see "Big Rock" which is a glacial erratic between 10,000 and 30,000 years old. It weighs 16,500 tonnes.
The rock has a great deal of significance to the Blackfeet Nation who have a traditional story to explain its creation. It warns against the dangers of taking back what you've already given. Think of it like a larger, more geologically significant, Canadian Stonehenge.
The stone is also visually beautiful. The quartzite has a lovely slippery texture and is light grey to pink to purple in colour. You can spend forever marvelling at its beauty.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Another must-see location in Alberta is Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. It's an awesome combination of natural phenomena and beautiful cultural history.
This stone features ancient writing from the Blackfeet Nation dating back to 1050 BCE. It's covered in thousands of paintings and carvings commemorating important events made by multiple groups of Native Americans. They depict encounters with spirits during vision quests as well as verifiable historic events.
You can even see the dates of their first encounter with Europeans, the arrival of the first horses, and the first sighting of a car in this area.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park also has geological significance. The rocks were exposed in the valley over 85 million years ago by a large inland sea. You can see where the water from the now nonexistent sea eroded the rock in the form of coulees and hoodoos. The unique geological structure has led to a habitat that houses unique species not found in the surrounding areas.
The Saskatoon Farm
Particularly if you're bringing children on your trip, you can't miss Saskatoon Farm. It has a seasonal farmer's market, multiple gorgeous greenhouses, an old-fashioned street filled with shops, and a restaurant with outdoor seating. This is not simply a farm to visit, but a whole attraction and experience beyond your wildest imaginings.
The farm is decorated with authentically carved Totem poles bought from multiple Indigenous tribes from across Canada. Each is unique and features the traditional methods used by each tribe. Take some time to learn about the significance of the spirituality of each totem pole.
While you may be expecting sheep, horses, and cows on a farm, Saskatoon Farm has a unique fauna offering - tortoises! They have five tortoises of two different species - Sulcotta tortoise and red foot tortoise. They're friendly and sociable, and you're sure to love them.
The ultimate offering of Saskatoon Farm is of course the Garden Centre and greenhouses. Here you'll find local and exotic vegetation carefully curated for beauty. At the Garden Centre, you can purchase fruit trees, vines, grass, shrubs, trees, and other forms of decorative flora.
Calgary to Montana: The Ultimate Road Trip
As you can see there's something for everyone from Calgary to Montana. Stop in the cities to enjoy picturesque towns, exciting nightlife, and unforgettable cultural events. Learn some history along the way and marvel at the beauty that the U.S. and Canada share between their borders. Every member of the family is sure to love the trails, geological sites, and fun activities along the way.
Don't forget to pack your travel insurance for your road trip! Insurdinary can help you compare rates, save time, and get the best prices for your travel insurance. Get your free quote today.