Touring The Byway
4 Days / 3 Nights | Gateway City: Kalispell, Montana
We recommend starting your journey in Kalispell where you can take the Downtown Historic District Walking Tour, and visit the Conrad Mansion Museum and the Northwest Montana History Museum, while staying at the Kalispell Grand Hotel. On Day Two, you’ll be heading to Lakeside and Dayton as you travel south on the west side of Flathead Lake. Visit the Mission Mountain Winery and Wild Horse Island (where you’ll need to rent a boat) before making your way to Polson at the southern end. After a stay at Kwataqnuk Resort, visit the Miracle of America Museum and the Polson Flathead Lake Museum. Between Polson and St.Ignatius you will be driving the Mission Valley Scenic Byway and further south you can stop at the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
Built in the early 1890’s, the mission, which attracted priests from other areas where they had not worked out, features 58 original paintings by Brother Joseph Carignano on the walls and ceilings. These include two of the most special, the Salish Lord and Lord’s mother in Native American form. The original log home that served as the Sisters’ residence is also still standing.
Located on the University of Montana campus, this museum now has 11,000 pieces including works by Rocky Mountain artists, historic European works, along with collections from Southeast Asia, American Impressionists, contemporary Native American artists, ceramics, and public art sites across the campus. European masters include Rembrandt, Delacroix, Boucher, Piranesi, and Daumier, along with 20th century artists, Miro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall, Dali, Picasso, Remington, Merritt Chase, and Andy Warhol.
Fort Missoula was established by the US Army in 1877 to protect settlers in the region. Nearly 100 years later, the Historical Museum encompasses 32 acres with over 20 historic structures and a collection of nearly 50,000 artifacts.
One of the three original buildings at Fort Connah used by the Hudson Bay Trading Company from 1846 to 1871, it is believed to be the oldest standing building in Montana. Another cabin moved to the property which houses historical artifacts and displays, along with another 1870s log cabin replicate the buildings that once made-up the trading post.
You have to rent a boat to get to Wild Horse Island, covered with old growth Ponderosa pine forest. Early morning visitors will witness eagles diving for fish. Additionally, the island is home to wild horses brought by Native Americans to keep them from being stolen, bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, and falcons. There is a day use entrance fee.