You might not think that many people travel back and forth between Billings and Missoula, but having lived in both cities, I'm surprised by the number of people I knew when I lived in Billings that I bump into in Missoula, and vice versa. For my part, I have family that lives in Billings so I make the trek between the two cities pretty often. Even though it's more than a five-hour drive I can almost imagine the whole thing.

The most likely reason you'll find yourself driving between the cities is that Billings is a frequent location for a lot of conferences. There are also plenty of big concerts that will stop in Billings but not Missoula or Bozeman, so if you live in Missoula long enough, eventually you'll find you need to drive to Billings. When you do, here are the best places to stop along the way.

Where to Stop for Gas

Rocker, Montana. This applies whether you're starting in Missoula or starting in Billings. You might think you should stop for gas in Butte, or even Three Forks, but there are two giant travel plazas in Rocker and you can get in and out in a jiffy. For most cars, that's the only place you'll have to stop for gas the whole trip.

Where to Stop for a Snack (and a bathroom break)

Wheat Montana Bakery & Deli, Three Forks. You could consider this their flagship location as their headquarters is in the same town. You can get just a little nibble or a whole sandwich depending on how hungry you are.

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Where to Stop to Stretch Your Legs

Livingston, Montana. Take a walk downtown and enjoy the gorgeous views of the Absaroka Range. If you're still hungry after stopping at Wheat Montana in Three Forks, try Gil's Goods.

Where to Stop for a Soak

It's off the beaten path a bit, but if you want to visit the hot springs that is one of Montana's best-kept secrets, take exit 256 when you get to Cardwell and head toward Boulder.

You Know You're a Montanan If You Can End These With 'In the Woods'

Here's a fun way to see if you're a "true" Montanan. If you can end any of these phrases with "in the woods" and it applies to you, you might be a Montanan. Enjoy.

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.

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