Everyone is back at school, the temperature is slowly dropping, and you find yourself aching for a weekend getaway. After all, fall is the perfect time for a soft reset — the leaves are changing, the crowds have thinned, and summer surge pricing has fallen back to its original state. Now is the time to plan your mini holiday and take advantage of the many weekend trips available to Butte residents this fall. From parks to pubs, there’s a trip to satisfy anyone’s desire for a little R&R.
The Best Time for National Parks
Glacier National Park
One of the best things about Glacier National Park is the number of ways you can explore it! One of the most popular routes is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which allows visitors to drive on a scenic mountain road alongside the Rocky Mountains. However, you may also choose to explore the national park on foot, bike, or horseback! Although the exact timing can vary, visiting during late September and October can mean a chance to witness the larch pines transform from green to gold.
The main West Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park is just under 4 hours from Butte.
Yellowstone National Park
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Yellowstone National Park but are wary of the crowds, the fall is a great opportunity to soak in the beautiful landscape. Enjoy a hike or bike ride through the stunning scenery or pitch a tent at the Mammoth Hot Springs campground (if you’ve planned ahead far enough to snag a reservation!). In October, the park begins limiting typical services and some roads begin closing for the winter season. Despite these changes, park visitors will have better odds of seeing wildlife, including bears at lower elevations, elks in the rut, and the raptor migration. However you choose to experience the park, you can’t go wrong with an autumn getaway to Yellowstone National Park.
Getting to West Yellowstone from Butte is a quick 2.5 hour drive.
Explore the Outdoors
Believe it or not, the best time for fly fishing in Montana is around October. This is due to more consistent weather conditions and lower pressure on the river. The slowed pace, fresh fish, mountainous scenery, and blue ribbon rivers make it impossible to not enjoy a weekend away spent fly fishing at some of the most stunning landscapes in the country.
A few local favorites include the stunning Madison and Jefferson rivers.
Despite the temperature, Palisade Falls is still a gorgeous landscape worth visiting well into the fall season. The trail to the falls is fairly quick and easy, and visitors can plan for a picnic using one of the park’s picnic tables. The fall’s mesmerizing 80-foot drop will have you planning a return trip in the coming spring and summer.
The two hour drive to the trailhead takes you through the Bozeman area and into the Hyalite Recreation Area. Combine this adventure with any of the other incredible hiking trails near Bozeman!
Events in the Area
Great Northwest Oktoberfest
Is it really fall if you didn’t attend an Oktoberfest? There are a few options in the region to grab a stein and join in the revelry. Grab your lederhosen (you have one, right?) and join the Butte-toberfest in Uptown Butte or the Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish. The Great Northwest Oktoberfest festival runs from September 23 – 25th, 2021 in the scenic downtown area of Whitefish where visitors can enjoy food, music, and of course, German beer! Admission is only $5, but the festival also offers Flathead Valley residents free admission.
McIntosh Apple Day
If you’re looking to take a jaunt over to the Bitterroot Valley, the McIntosh Apple Day is an event that is sweet to its core. Naming itself the “Biggest Bake Sale Under the Big Sky,” the McIntosh Apple Day festival is Montana’s biggest bake sale, allowing patrons to enjoy arts, crafts, food, and produce from the local farmers’ market. Attendees can expect an endless amount of apple pies, ciders, caramel apples, and sweet, surrendering aromas. The festival takes place on October 2 at the Ravalli County Museum in Hamilton. Admission is free for everyone.
The Beer Lover’s Adventure
Take a road trip to taste some delicious brews! Although Butte has its own selection of scrumptious beverages, sometimes getting out to taste the flavors in a new area is part of the experience. The 1.5 hour journey on I-90 to Bozeman leads travelers to multiple options for quenching your thirst.
Bozeman Brewing Company
Bozeman Brewing Company is a great spot in general, but it’s also the perfect stop for beer lovers who want to try something new. The hoppy hot-spot specializes in hand-crafted ales, lagers, and specialty beers you’ve probably never heard of or seen anywhere else. For those who love expanding their palette, Bozeman Brewing Company has a tasing room open seven days a week. What’s better? Each Sunday, Bozeman Brewing Company donates 50 cents of every beer sold to a nonprofit of their selection. Now you can blame your extreme level of thirst on your need to save humanity.
MAP Brewing Company
Ask locals about MAP Brewing Company and they’re likely to mention one of two things: the stunning views or the Northbound Ale. Located on the foothills of the Bridger Mountains, MAP Brewing Company delivers the perfect combination of shocking mountain views and a cold glass of beer. Grab a seat by the fireplace and sip on one of the many award-winning beers MAP has to offer.