Visiting Helena, MT? You Have To Experience The Last Chance Ranch!

Surrounded by the Helena National Forest, there are few places in Montana that can match what the Last Chance Ranch has to offer. When you head there you are truly getting away from it all. But this wonderful attraction offers so much more than that.

The Last Chance Ranch is a true Montana odyssey where you can go and get a true feeling of getting way back in the outdoors. It has developed over time to become not only a fun time for couples or whole families, but an honest way to show off some of what Montana means to the locals who live there. Whether on the drive up to the ranch, riding along in the covered wagon, exploring the teepee and other facilities, or just soaking in the sweet surroundings, you are sure to be overcome with a sense of Montana that you just don’t get from driving the main highways through the state.

Last Chance Ranch

The Last Chance Ranch welcomes visitors from around the country who want to come and experience that true Montana feeling. The scenery that surrounds you there can be a bit overwhelming with its thick forests, wide open meadows, and of course plenty of chances to catch a glimpse of some local wildlife. The entertainment you get there too, from the great cowboy songs to the stories told will fill you with a sense of history as well as entertain you to no end. It really is one of the best options for food, entertainment, and lodging all rolled into one attraction in the Helena area.

The Helena area is home to some great attractions, including things like the historic downtown area, the Holter Museum of Art, and of course the Montana Capitol Building, but it really takes a visit to the Last Chance Ranch to make your visit there complete.

Whether you’re interested in spending the night, having a wagon ride, or enjoying a gourmet meal in the great outdoors, take a moment and check out the Last Chance Ranch website:

Last Chance Ranch

Glacier National Park’s Red Bus Tours

Without a doubt, Glacier National Park is one of the top attractions in Western Montana. This park covers more than one million acres and welcomes over 1.8 million visitors each year. The city it is closest to is Kalispell, Montana. When you go there, get ready to see some of the most spectacular scenery you have ever seen in your entire life.

I had been to Glacier National Park for an extended stay a few years ago, so when I had the opportunity to pay a quick visit there with a friend, I jumped at it. Having limited time in the park, we planned it out to the minute and came up with a short list of things we definitely wanted to see. As luck would have it, the item at the top of both of our lists was taking a Red Bus Tour.

RedBus-GlacierNP

If you’re not familiar with the Red Buses that cart vacationers around inside Glacier National Park, they really are something else. Produced by the White Motor Company, these distinctive looking red tour buses were put in use in the park beginning in the 1930s. The buses stayed in service right up until 1999 when they were retired due to vehicle fatigue. Through a partnership with the Ford Motor Company though, 18 months of work on 33 vehicles resulted in a fully restored fleet of tour buses back on the job in Glacier National Park.

During my previous trip to the park, I’d driven myself around on the well mapped out roads there. As a dyed in the wool road tripper, this was great. The only problem was that due to having to concentrate on driving, I could not always fully enjoy the view or take the photo that I wished I could’ve taken. This time would be different though, I booked us passage on the classic Red Buses and would leave the work to someone else.

I got to tell you, this was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. Okay, that’s probably an exageration, but it was a really good idea. I didn’t miss a thing this time and I had the photos to prove it. Plus, the experience of riding in a 90 year old vehicle driven by an experienced tour guide was well worth the price. Check another one off the dream list!

If you get the chance, a Red Bus Tour is something you don’t want to miss out on.

RedBus-GlacierNP2

The Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge, MT

Old Montana Prison

As a bit of a history buff, I’m a sucker for a historical site. This is especially true when that historical site is basically located right off the highway that I’m traveling down. This is the exact reason I became familiar one day with the Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana.

Deer Lodge is a small town located northwest of Butte, on Interstate 90. I was on my way to Butte for the first time in my life when I saw the billboard advertising the Old Montana Museum up ahead. It also mentioned an automobile museum too and I figured that with two intriguing sounding attractions on one exit, that this was a sign I needed to leave the highway soon.

I pulled right up to the prison site, very easy to find, and got out ready to check out this interesting piece of history. The building is in a state of disrepair, but is in so much better condition than I had expected considering that it was first brought into service in 1871. A nice touch was a brochure that detailed what each building in the complex was used for during the time the prison was in use. As I walked around the prison, it was easy to imagine what life would’ve been back then for both prisoners and the guards who worked there. In fact, the more I saw of the Old Montana Prison, the more I couldn’t believe that it was in use as recent as 1979.

My tour of the old prison had ended and I’d gotten my historical site fix. But, I couldn’t leave because the Old Automobile Museum was within walking distance and I had to check it out. This too was completely worth it. With well over 150 automobiles on display, some old, some new, and some incredibly rare, this was the perfect add on attraction to the prison.

If you find yourself driving down I-90, do like I did… go check out the Old Montana Prison.

Montana’s $50000 Silver Dollar Bar

50000SilverDollarBar

Experienced road trippers know that there are some exceptional things worth seeing out there. You always want to stop and check out a famous historical site and see first hand where something important really happened. You also can’t help but stop off and view, and even take photos of, some of the more beautiful pieces of scenery that are out there. There are also famous towns, campgrounds, factories, stores, parks, restaurants, and other things worth seeing too.

All that stuff is really important, but if you are like me at all, you also need to stop and check out the odd, eye catching, unusual, and interesting places too. In that category comes a favorite stop not too long ago, just off Interstate 90. One of the first possible places to stop when you’re entering Montana on I-90 is the $50000 Silver Dollar Bar. This unique attraction is much more than just a bar.

There really are $50000 in silver dollars on display at this bar. Some are mounted on the walls and some are embedded in the top of the bar. They turn up everywhere you want to look. This bar started as a silver dollar collection back in the early 1950s and has grown to include a restaurant, motel, RV parking, gas station, convenience store, casino, and gift shop. Occassionally, you may even find a live concert going on in the meadow behind it… occasionally.

This roadside attraction can’t be missed either, not just because of all the signage at the site, but because of the many billboards announcing how many miles ahead of you it is as you’re driving that way.

Whether stopping just to take your photo out front or going inside to enjoy the gambling, food, drinks, or other action, the $50000 Silver Dollar Bar should not be missed.