Browning to Great Falls

Length: 127 miles (2.25 to 3 hours)
Overall Rating:
05 - Has Its Moments
07 - Pretty
02 - Mostly straight
06 - Moderate traffic, quieter off-peak

It's hard for a drive on the plains and prairies to compete with dramatic shoreline drives or roads through the mountains. It's not only a case of scenic variety, but also that road builders don’t tend to give us nice curvy roads unless their hand is forced by some cliff, ocean or canyon.

With that said, this drive is a good sample of plains driving - particularly for those of us raised in the mountains. Like a landlubber sailing within sight of the coastline, you don’t leave the comfort of seeing the Rockies throughout most of the drive. But you still see why Montana is called “Big Sky Country”, and from some of the higher spots on the highway it seems like you can see hundreds of miles off into the distance. If you don’t succumb to agoraphobia (ever get that feeling you’ll fall off the earth into space when confronted by those big skies?), you get a true sense of the horizontal scale of the continent that you don’t get when you’re in the mountains.

And if you're lucky like us, you may see some of the iconic sights of this part of Montana: first, the horses of the Blackfeet Reservation near Browning. Next was our welcome at the town of Choteau: two border collies – seemingly the only residences of the town at that time of the evening – guarding the entrance and exit of their block of road, keen on herding us past their home and on towards Great Falls.

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