• national park buses

    TBT: Remember these summertime stories?

    It’s that time of week again: to for a little Throwback Thursday action.

    In honor of the first day of summer on Sunday, we’re pulling up a few of our most popular stories from the summer of 2014.

    Montana State Parks guide by Kristen Inbody and Erin Madison.

    Montana State Parks guide by Kristen Inbody and Erin Madison.

    First, this awesome feature on the 75th anniversary of Montana state parks – which are really great places to play during the summer. There are 54 state parks in Montana.

    Here’s our feature from the May/June 2014 issue. It includes an interactive map so you can see where you might want to go this summer. Need a little more info? Here’s a post about a book all about the parks.

    And we can’t forget Glacier and Yellowstone when we’re talking about summer. Here’s a story on a great way to see both the parks: In vintage cruiser buses. Yellow in Yellowstone and red in Glacier.

    The feature by Ednor Therriault is posted here. And for a list of even more stories about Yellowstone, click here.

    To get our most recent dose of summertime stories, subscribe today!

    Happy summer!


  • MM_Park2Park 500x500 teaser

    Come with us from Park-to-Park: Glacier to Yellowstone

    All week we’ve been taking you to place we think are some of the best stops on any journey from Yellowstone to Glacier.

    We’ve been to fishing towns and museums, and to places where the scenery will stop you in your tracks.

    • Stop 1: Where buffalo roam (downtown
    • Stop 2: More than a fly fishing Mecca
    • Stop 3: A beautiful place of refuge
    • Stop 4: A brief detour to Going-to-the-Sun
    • Stop 5: Charlie Russell’s home town
    • Stop 6: A huckleberry haven

    In our May/June feature, you can view the entire trip, both our eastern and western routes. There’s more must-stop suggestions too. 



  • An art sculpture in Ennis. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Park-to-Park stop No. 2: Ennis is more than a fly fishing mecca

    We’re continuing our virtual trip from Park-to-Park today (which for our own purposes we’re calling Travel Tuesday) with a stop in Ennis.

    It’s on our West Route from Glacier to Yellowstone.

    • Read our entire Park-to-Park story here

    Ennis is a place known for its fly fishing wonders. We’d be remiss to not point out that the town – according to the chamber of commerce website – is home to the largest hand-tied fly ever made (huge kudos to anyone who can send us a photo of that).  There’s also a ton of outdoor art around the town.

    Courtesy of Backroad to Yellowstone

    Courtesy of Backroad to Yellowstone

    It’s also a place on the “Backroad to Yellowstone” – which is a road through the Madison Valley. Beautiful might be an understatement for that area.

    Not a bad stop over point if you’re going from Glacier to Yellowstone.



  • Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner. Photo by Barbara Shesky

    Park-to-Park Stop No. 1: Gardiner is Montana’s ultimate gateway town

    You may have already read our Park-to-Park feature in the latest May/June issue (if not, what are you waiting for?). We’ve got both East and West routes we think would be perfect paths for a trip from Glacier to Yellowstone and back again.

    And, as we pointed out in the piece, there’s a lot of real estate in between the two parks. We’ll be highlighting a handful of those place this week here at MT Journal.

    First on our list is Gardiner, which is home to one of the most iconic Yellowstone sites in the Roosevelt Arch.

    It’s a little town with a little bit of everything, including bison that roam the streets.

    Here’s what the chamber has to say about the town:

    Courtesy of Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

    Courtesy of Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

    This area is home to the most diverse herds of large wildlife species in the lower 48 states including bison, bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn, grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and deer.

    While we do not have any big box stores here, we are a full service town: we have a grocery store, gift shops, outdoor equipment sales and rentals, a full service auto and RV repair shop, pharmacy, bookstore and members who can assist you with such things as auto-glass repair and welding.

    In 2016, Gardiner will help celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary after a series of downtown improvements and improvements to the Roosevelt Arch area.

    We’ll keep you updated on the festivities.

    Check back tomorrow for the next Park-to-Park stop.


  • Geyser gazers stand in front of Fan and Mortar geysers in Yellowstone. Photo by Ryan Maurer

    Meet Yellowstone’s faithful Geyser Gazers

    Some people love watching wildlife. Some people love chasing storms.

    Some people, as we told readers in our May/June issue, love gazing at geysers

    Our “Faithful Gazers” story introduces a set of people who have fallen in love with the immense set of geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Their work to observe and record the geyser behavior is going a long way to help park staff and visitors learn about the geysers.

    It’s a really cool story about a set of cool people (subscribe today to get all our full stories).

    Old Faithful. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Old Faithful. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    But first what, exactly, is a geyser? We’re glad you asked:

    Geysers are hot springs with constrictions in their plumbing, usually near the surface, that prevent water from circulating freely to the surface where heat would escape.

    There are more geysers in Yellowstone National Park than anywhere else on the planet.

    Though born of the same water and rock, what is enchanting is how differently they play in the sky. Riverside Geyser, in the Upper Geyser Basin, shoots at an angle across the Firehole River, often forming a rainbow in its mist. Castle erupts from a cone shaped like the ruins of some medieval fortress. Grand explodes in a series of powerful bursts, towering above the surrounding trees. Echinus spouts up and out to all sides like a fireworks display of water. And Steamboat, the largest in the world, pulsates like a massive steam engine in a rare, but remarkably memorable eruption, reaching heights of 300 to 400 feet.

    – Courtesy of the National Parks Service

  • Grand Geyser erupts during a "megs sunset" inside Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Ryan Maurer

    Gesyer Gazers keep track of Yellowstone’s erupting thermal features

    By Kelsey Dayton

    “Go. Come on,” Mara Reed, 18, whispered staring at the bubbling, steaming thermal feature in front of her.

    “Come on,” she said with more urgency staring at Big Cub and Little Cub, two geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.

    Ryan Maurer, 19, stood next to her, frantically scribbling notes on each puff of steam and gurgle of water, calling in updates on his radio. His eyes darting across the geyser basin, head cocked so he could listen for sounds of other thermal features in the area.

    Yellowstone is home to the world’s largest concentration of geysers. Visitors travel from all over to witness eruptions, but a dedicated few – like Reed and Maurer – spends weeks or even months in the park, waiting, watching and logging data.

    These are geyser gazers.

    “Geyser gazers are crazier than wolf watchers, but not as crazy as cave divers,” Maurer said.

    • To learn more about the current activity of geysers inside Yellowstone National Park, click here.

    The term “geyser gazer” refers to someone dedicated to recording data on eruptions, spending weeks each year in the park taking notes and fastidiously watching and waiting – sometimes for hours or days – for their favorite thermal features to shoot water skyward.

    Most gazers are members of the Geyser Observation and Study Association, which logs data online.

    To read the entire Geyser Gazer story, subscribe today. 

  • web cam

    How’s spring progressing in MT? Check out our web cams

    No matter where you are, it’s easy to keep track of Montana these days.

    We’ve compiled a list of web cams – with links! – for everything from ski mountains to national parks.

    As the state thaws, the cams are a good way to keep track of spring’s progress through the web cams.

    You can check in on Lake McDonald in Glacier, or the geysers in Yellowstone.

    Take second to check out our Web Cams of Montana page.



  • Portions of Yellowstone National Park’s road system will open to the public on Friday. Photo by Brett French

    Yellowstone roads set to open

    It’s time to get your summer park plans in order. The mild winter around Montana means that the parks are beginning to awake early this year.

    Portions of roads inside Yellowstone National Park (open to bikes only for a few weeks) are set to open Friday.

    The road from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone will open for the season at 8 a.m. 

    Each spring, Yellowstone National Park plow crews clear snow and ice from 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park, as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance to prepare for the summer season.

    Additional road segments in the park will open during May as road clearing operations progress. 

    We’ll be taking readers into both Yellowstone and Glacier in our upcoming Park-to-Park issue.

    As for Glacier – here’s a look at plowing progress on Going-to-the-Sun-Road.

    MM_Park2Park 500x500 teaser

    Want more of Montana all year? Subscribe today and don’t miss our Park-to-Park issue.



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