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Moss Mountain Inn is located on the east side of North Fork Road (Montana Scenic Highway 486), midway between Columbia Falls, Montana, to the south and Glacier National Park's West Entrance to the north. Look for us when you reach mile-marker ten. Note that North Fork Road is plowed seven days week during winter months, making Moss Mountain Inn accessible throughout the year.

GPS coordinates: N48o 28.924, W114o 07.053.

Check out our directions from various starting points, below.

By Air

Glacier Park International Airport is situated between Kalispell and Columbia Falls, about 20 minutes from Moss Mountain Inn. Four airlines serve the airport (Delta, United, Alaska and Allegiant) with direct flights to Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Las Vegas and Minneapolis year round and seasonal direct flights to Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, and Atlanta. Taxis, Uber, and Lyft are available but most folks rent a car at the airport.

Glacier/Kalispell International Airport, turn left exiting the airport onto Highway 2. At the first stoplight turn right, following Highway 2. Go into the town of Columbia Falls and turn left (north) on Nucleus Avenue, right on Railroad Street (which is North Fork Road, aka County Road 486.). Go ten miles. We are the first right after mile marker 10.
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Image may be subject to copyright

From the North

Well, straight north of Moss Mountain is just wilderness. The North Fork Road ends at the Canadian Border and there is no legal crossing. To the Northeast the Canada Highway 6/Chief Mountain Highway MT 17 crossing is open typically May 15-Sept 30. Hours may vary but are typically 9 am - 10 pm peak season and 9 am - 6 pm early and late in the season. Waterton Lakes National Park to the north of Glacier is certainly worth a visit if time permits, although recent wildfires have devastated large sections of the park.

To the Northwest, the nearest crossing is at Roosville/Eureka and is open 24/7 year round. Everyone knows about Banff and Jasper but to the west of Banff and Jasper are the lesser known but just as beautiful Glacier National Park (Canada) and Revelstoke National Parks. If you have time, work these parks in!

Photo: Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada.

From the South

If you are coming up I-15 from Idaho or Utah, google maps will keep you on I-15 until just south of Butte, then it will direct you west on I-90. Instead, consider getting off I-15 at Anaconda and heading west then north on Montana 1. Taking Montana 1 really doesn't take longer than I-90 and Montana 1 is a more intimate mountain drive that takes you past Philipsburg, one of the best preserved small mining towns in the West. At Drummond, you can head west on I-90 for a ways then north, or head east on E Front Street thru Drummond which turns into the East Frontage Road for a few miles then turn onto the Helmville Road/Highway 271. This eventually will lead you to Highway 141, then Highway 200, from which you can access Highway 83, described below.

Via Highway 93: Coming up from I-90 via highway 93 will take you through some low lying mountains up into the Flathead Valley. Around St. Ignatius, the National Bison Range (kind of a drive thru buffalo park) appears on the left, then the highway heads up thru the Flathead Reservation then up to Flathead Lake. Flathead lake, the largest freshwater lake in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, takes about an hour to drive around, so you'll get plenty of opportunities to view it. Taking Highway 93 west around the lake is quickest, with passing lanes in places and some nice pullouts to view the lake and valley. Taking Highway 35 around the east side of the lake is possible also. This route is slower as there is a lot of local tourist traffic and very rare chances to pass. Both routes around the lake are dotted with multiple opportunities to stop at state parks or local cherry orchards. (Cherries have been grown commercially along Flathead Lake since the 1930's, the climate moderating effects of Flathead Lake making cherry culture ideal).

Via Highway 200 and 83: This is a beautiful drive, starting out in the low mountains around the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers, then heading Northwest along Salmon and Seeley Lakes. To the north of Highway 200 is the Bob Marshall Wilderness, together with the Great Bear Wilderness, is one of the largest roadless, wilderness areas in the lower 48. Salmon Lake in particular is a nice lunch stop. Traffic is not as heavy as via Highway 93.
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From the East

Via Amtrak, the Empire Builder: Everyone should do this trip at least once! The Amtrak experience is a mixed bag. The service is typically top notch with quality food, but being starved for funding year after year takes a toll on the physical plant and operations. Lately trains have been running an hour or two late, a big improvement from long delays during the early oil boom days in North Dakota. Rental cars are available in East Glacier and Whitefish not far from the train stations. There is no car rental from Essex or West Glacier.

Highway 2: A great drive for those loving wide open spaces, Highway 2 follows the Great Northern Railway line (now BNSF). Four lane thru most of North Dakota, the road turns to two lane in Montana, with some interesting railroad towns along the way. In the early days of the oil boom in western North Dakota, traffic could actually be congested, but things have calmed down a bit since then.

Interstate 94 to Highway 2 or Highway 200: Interstate 94 is in better shape than just about any other road in the USA and the 80 mph speed limits make the drive more doable than in the past. Consider a stop in Medora to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park and see the Medora Musical. Once when Chris was at the Medora Musical, the show had to be stopped while a herd of elk passed near the stage. Bison frequent the park campground and our cat Sylvie got in trouble with a ranger for "harassing" the bison. At Glendive Montana, one may head northwest to Highway 2, head straight west thru the middle of the state on Highway 200, or continue on I-94 to I-90 at Billings. Even though its interstate, continuing onto I-90 will add an hour or two to your trip. In winter, heading north to Highway 2 is a good choice as it gets more traffic and more snowplow passes. In good weather, heading straight west on Highway 2 is quickest as the route is more direct and there are few towns and little traffic to slow you down. Along the way, Lewistown has a lovely Main Street and Great Falls has lots of retail, even a Starbucks!

Interstate 90: There's lots to do in the Badlands and Black Hills, making for a good stop. We did the nuclear missile tour last time we went through and give it glowing reviews. Farther west, one passes the Devil's Tower, the Bighorn Mountains, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. If you stay in Billings, try to stay on the outskirts. We have been victims of crime during our stays in the town proper and last time we stayed there, the RV park owner almost shot his son while we were checking in. Spooky. After Billings, Interstate 90 winds through broad valleys with mountain ranges always in view. Butte is a must stop for mining buffs and Bozeman and Missoula are wonderful college towns to stop and linger in.

Photo: The Badlands of North Dakota, home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park

From the West

Via Amtrak, the Empire Builder: See above. Also, you should note that the Empire Builder departs Portland and Seattle late in the afternoon, meaning that unfortunately, the train will pass through most of the scenic Rocky Mountains in darkness.

Interstate 90: I think I-90 from Spokane to Missoula is the most underrated scenic drive in America. The road from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene offers views of desert, mountains and lakes but can be congested at times. After Coeur d'Alene the traffic thins out and you drive thru the Silver Valley across Fourth of July and Lookout Passes. The Silver Valley (Pinehurst to Mullan) was ground zero for a century long silver mining boom that ended a few decades ago. Now the valley has tilted toward tourism with the upgrading of the Silver Mountain Ski Resort, bike trails and mine tours. Try to stop in Wallace, in my opinion, the most beautiful small town in America.

Highway 2: Definitely the road less traveled, a pretty, longer drive without as much traffic.

Highway 12: Again, less traveled and a longer drive but plenty of pretty mountain views.
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From West Glacier

From both Hwy 2 (open year round) and the Going to the Sun Road (not open year round – check for updates) When exiting the park at the west gate, turn right onto Highway 2, then turn right after 3.3 miles onto Lake Five Road (start looking for Lake Five Road once you see the KOA campground on the left). Proceed 0.5 miles then turn left at the T intersection. Proceed another 2.8 miles to a Y intersection (This intersection is unmarked). Take a right at the Y, going downhill onto Blankenship Road and follow this road for 6.6 miles. In a few miles the road will cross railroad tracks then in a few more miles the road will cross over the Flathead River. The road is paved in sections, gravel in sections. At 6.6 miles you will see a fire station on the right and come to a T intersection with North Fork Road/Highway 486. Turn right and head north 0.5 miles on North Fork Road then Moss Mountain Inn will be on the right, located 200 yards past mile marker 10. Total travel time is around 20 minutes from West Glacier.

Photo: Lake McDonald