Here are 7 Bitterroot Valley scenic drives worth taking
An Enjoyable Way to Spend a Day in the Bitterroot
One of the most popular activities for Bitterroot Valley visitors are scenic drives, and we’ve got plenty of them.
You’ll see diverse mountains, rivers and streams, spectacular views and vistas, and open range land in every direction.
There may not be a better way to experience all the Bitterroot Valley has to offer than in your car, where you can see 100’s of miles of this special part of Montana in a day or two.
Although the list below is far from complete, it’s a great starting point for your scenic drive planning.
Bass Creek Overlook
Pack a lunch and enjoy the picnic area that is unofficially known as the Bass Creek Overlook.
Travel 4 miles north of Stevensville, MT and turn west off of US 93 on to Bass Creek Road and follow to the Bass Creek Recreation Area.
Take FS Road 1136 to the end of the road for outstanding views of the Bitterroot Valley.
Big Hole Valley
This is one of our favorite scenic drives in these parts as the Big Hole Valley is unlike any other part of Montana.
Turn east on MT Highway 43 from US 93 at the Montana-Idaho border about 50 miles south of Hamilton
Head to Wisdom or Jackson for lunch, and jump in the hot springs at Jackson for a relaxing dip in the mineral pools.
Don’t forget to check out the Big Hole National Battlefield!
Most everyone uses Highway 93 when traveling north and south in the Bitterroot Valley.
But you may want to check out the East Side Highway (MT 269) while you are here.
This secondary highway passes through the towns of Corvallis and Stevensville, and traverses some of the beautiful historic farms and ranches of the Bitterroot Valley.
The views of the Bitterroot Mountains from this east side vantage point are some of the best in the area.
This 101 mile primitive road winds through a vast undeveloped area.
The Corridor is much the same today as it was when used by the Nez Perce Indians and other early travelers.
Turn off the West Fork Road at mile marker 15 onto the Nez Perce Road to access the Magruder Corridor road.
Do some research ahead of time and plan your drive carefully as this road heads way back into the wilderness.
The West Fork Ranger station on the West Fork Road is a great resource for more information.
Head east from Hamilton on MT 38 for an adventurous drive over Skalkaho Pass.
Not for the faint of heart, this 45 mile drive climbs up and over the Sapphire Mountains and ends in Philipsburg, MT.
Take in Skalkaho Falls, then stop in and try your luck mining for gemstones at Gem Mountain before having lunch in “P-burg”.
Some opt to take the “long way around” on the way back. This route takes you through Missoula, MT before returning to the Bitterroot Valley from the north on Highway 93.
Trapper Peak Vista Point
From the Trapper Peak Vista Point you can see Trapper Peak, the tallest point in the Bitterroot Valley.
The Peak rises 6,000 feet above Trapper Creek to a height of 10,157 feet.
Head southwest on the West Fork Road for 6 miles. Turn west on Trapper Main Road and follow for about 3 miles.
Make a left on FS Road #5627 and follow for about 2 miles to the end of the road for incredible views.
West Fork Road
This scenic drive is for all visitors to the Bitterroot Valley.
The West Fork Road follows the West Fork of the Bitterroot River, home to some of the best fly fishing in the area.
Head southwest on MT 473, just 5 miles south of Darby, to Painted Rocks Reservoir, 25 miles up the canyon.