17 miles south of Hamilton, and on the way to either the big hole valley or the Idaho line, you go through the town of Darby. Now one minute you are cruising at 65 or 70 mph and then you hit the Darby town line. Proceed at 24 1/2 miles per hour through this town or you will get a speeding ticket. (ask David Letterman)
The speed limit sign says 35, but the cop will say 25. And, the ticket is $65.00 cash, or check collected on the spot. The cop will offer the kind service of taking you to an ATM machine if necessary. (ask Balashi)
The summit of the pass is past 10,000 feet (3.000 meters) and at this altitude, dizziness and shortness breath can be expected if you are not used to these height. Be careful if you go out to walk. DO NOT RUN! As even walking briskly may lead you to faint spells. These phenomenons occurs because the level of oxygen in the air gets lower as you climb higher. If you start to get dizzy and see black spots, stop immediatly and rest for a minute. My advice: just take it easy and let your body get used to it.
The part going up from the Creek (after Red Lodge) to the pass is full of twist and turns. It is recommended not to speed and be careful. If the road looks busy, don't hesitate to honk when taking a turn where you cannot see what's ahead, a car may come from the opposite direction and not see you before it's too late.
I am from California...so when I first moved here, I was told not to tell anyone where I came from. The "locals" do not like people from California, because a lot of them think they are better than the people who live in Montana. Just be yourself when you visit...ask questions and get to know the people. Dont say things like, "well in California, we do it this way"...you will get an angry look, and maybe some words. You need to mix in with the people, especially if you plan on living here. Get involved, and offer suggestions, but dont let them think that your "California way" is the best. I know, I have been there. People wouldnt talk to me when I first moved here, until they found out I just wanted a different kind of life, and wasnt interested in telling them how to do things.
Also, we do have an occasional bear, moose, elk that wander through town. Just be aware and stay away. Call Fish and Game....let them take care of it.
I have two very real warnings for you about Montana.
1.It will be hard on your rental car because you will be stopping very often to look and wonder.
2. It will be a photographer's nightmare - because you will never have enough time, enough light or enough film.
Because we use gravel instead of sand on the roads during the winter, bikers need to be aware of gravel. I about dumped my bike this spring because as I was going around a corner there was a pile of gravel there at the intersection. The intersections are were it tends to build up and it take a while to get it off the roads. Interstates do not have as big a problem, because they do not have the same kind of intersections that you get on back roads. So be careful and ride safe.
For decades Montana had no speed limits on their public highways. This has led to a habit of driving wild and free which seems reasonable when you could travel a couple of miles without meeting a single other vehicle. But now the state has imposed limits on the roads, but, hey, it takes time to turn those habits around. And Montanans are also a bit set in their ways. So beware of the locals who think nothing of zooming down the highway in excess of the posted limits. Also, watch the curves as many of them are not signed for lower speeds which may be needed by some vehicles.
Grizzly bears can be dangerous so it is in your best interest to follow suggested behaviors when in their home area, like much of northern Montana is. When I was in Glacier in 1994, several hikes were closed due to bear activity. The Grinnell Glacier Trail, in particular, had a bloody carcass of a half eaten goat on the path. I was happy to finally get to do it on our return trip there in 2008. A few days later, the Iceberg Lake Trail was closed due to grizzly activity and we had just done it a few days before.
You MUST make noise while hiking. Clapping, talking loudly,and singing are all preferred over the little bells that stores sell. These are ineffective due to lack of volume. It takes a lot of energy and I hated it my first time in the park but felt I had a better understanding of it on my most recent trip. Maybe I had just grown up and realized it was the bears' park more than mine.
I would never stop to remind everyone that the wild animals were here before the humans...so you have to deal with them.
Some may be dangerous (bears, snakes...) and the better you stay away from them, the better you will enjoy watching at them. I strongly do not recommend 'wild' camping without first checking if the area is known as rich with bear population.
We've read and heard about some attacks which were of course due to the bad attitude of the people.
It is very dry this year and we have had really bad fires. Open pit fires are not allowed. In some areas of the state you are not allowed to do things like run a chainsaw. We have had fires where the air conditions are very bad. Please check with the state if you have respiratory problems before coming.
June is usually pretty good. By by August we end up with these restrictions.
If you're from California, don't admit it! Some locals are quite offended by a few who have moved here bought land and then closed it off to locals. It is the modern day equivalent of buying Manhattan Island for beads. Locals will remember being able to go on other people property to fish, etc. Those days are slowly ending.
Don't wait for the only Campsite of Crow Agency, Little Bighorn to be more than my back yard and I'm not the one who mow the meadow... really it's just a fairly dry meadow near the road and there is just a toilette (not a bathroom) with the shower nearby separated by the toilette only by a wooden wall which however is about 20 cm up from the floor.
And if you feel the need to go to bathroom when you wake up in the morning, it could happen that the toilette is locked because a couple of people used it to overnight and even an unruly man from Texas didn't succeed in getting them out.
If you recreate in the forest this summer, I would just like to ask that everyone please be extra cautious. We are currently in a severe, multi year draught situation, and all of the forest fuels are very dry. The picture of the forest fire that is attached to this narrative exemplifies that. It was taken from the top of Sunrise Mountain at dusk as the fire was cooling down after a very long day of intense activity. Please have fun, and be safe and careful out there. We all thank you!
Believe it or not, in summer Montana can get EXTREMELY hot, so be prepared. While my west coast friend found it humid and hot, I am an east-coaster and it was a dream compared to OUR hot and humid summers!
This year was a really bad year for bear sightings, and thankfully few attacks. Anytime you are in the mountains; hiking, camping, whatever, you must be aware and prepared, for aggressive animal behavior. If hiking, be sure to make noise or carry 'bear bells' on your pack to alert the animal to your presence. Dispose of food properly, and keep it far away from where you are sleeping. Park rangers and even locals are really helpful and don't be too proud to ask. Its for your own safety.
The largest of the Glacier National Park hotels. Situated near Grinnell Glacier and some incredible...more
It is an ok hotel. It is an older structure, but seems to be fairly well maintained. It seems to...more
It's been awhile since we stayed here on our way to Utah. We stayed in a room with the following; ...more