7 Must-Do Montana Motorcycle Tours for Riders

From snaking through mountain passes to cruising near crystalline lakes and grand national parks, Montana offers an unparalleled motorcycle riding experience. If you’re seeking to traverse roads that are as challenging as they are breathtaking, Big Sky Country has you covered.

Montana’s striking natural beauty adorns each stretch of these roads, making them an irresistible magnet for motorcycle enthusiasts. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a first-time passenger, the state has an open invitation for you — over its scenic highways and challenging curves.

We’ll introduce the most rewarding motorcycle rides in the mesmerizing landscapes of Montana from Yellowstone National Park’s heartland of geological wonders and nature’s gifts to Beartooth Pass’ thrilling ride among the clouds. 

These breathtaking motorcycle rides in Montana, from gentle loops to heart-pounding mountain passes, offer something for riders of all levels. Each route showcases stunning vistas, unique natural features, and an abundance of wildlife, making the journey just as memorable as the destination.

So, buckle your helmets, fuel your bikes, and get ready for an epic road trip through pavement and panoramic vistas.

7 Key Takeaways on Montana Motorcycle Tours

  1. From the North and South entrances of Yellowstone National Park, you can witness iconic sights like Old Faithful while navigating around bison and elk. Only open in summer, this is a must-ride for nature lovers and seasoned riders.
  2. The historic Going-to-the-Sun Road offers a 50-mile (80.5 km) journey through glacial valleys and rugged peaks, suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, including a stunning 150-mile (241.4 km) Glacier National Park Loop.
  3. Flathead Lake Loop is a 100-mile loop (161 km) around Flathead Lake that offers smooth sailing and is well-suited for thrill-seekers, with several picturesque stops and cultural attractions along the way.
  4. Dubbed the most beautiful drive in America, Beartooth Pass is a 69-mile (111 km) stretch from Yellowstone into Red Lodge is a thrilling ride through pine forests and mountain ranges, best experienced from May to October.
  5. Hyalite Canyon Road is perfect for a quick, 27.6-mile (44.4 km) ride from Bozeman. This winding road offers gorgeous river views and natural points of interest, with seasonal considerations and safety tips in mind.
  6. Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway is a 67-mile (107.8 km) route that offers stunning views of Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River, ideal for riders who want the blend of natural beauty and the thrill of the open road.
  7. A local motorcycling legend straddling the Idaho-Montana border, Lolo Pass covers 150 miles (241.4 km) of mountains and smooth roads, made for a ‘man and machine in nature’ experience.

Best Motorcycle Tours in Montana

A motorcyclist enjoys a sunny ride on a Montana road.

The Big Sky Country, Montana, is an untamed land with beautiful roads just begging for motorcycle tires to hit them. From the bewitching Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park to the winding beelines through Yellowstone, the state is a rider’s paradise.

The 7 best motorcycle rides in Montana aren’t just about reaching a destination; they’re about the journey itself. Let’s rev our engines and ride us some breathtaking vistas.

1. Yellowstone National Park

A trike parked on a winding road with open fields at Yellowstone National Park, a top spot for Montana motorcycle tours.
source: flickr.com

North EntranceLaunches you straight into the action near Mammoth Hot Springs and the thundering Yellowstone Falls.
South EntrancePerfect for taking in the famous Old Faithful and neighboring geysers. Also provides access to Grand Teton National Park.

Yellowstone is like Mother Nature’s ultimate playground, where you can get an eyeful of some of America’s most dramatic scenery. From the iconic Old Faithful to the tranquil Yellowstone Lake, it’s a spectacle of epic proportions.

Here’s a pro tip: Whether you’re rolling in from the North Entrance via Livingston or from the South through Big Sky, look out for the notorious traffic jams. I’m not talking about honking cars; I’m talking about bison and elk crossing the road like it’s the animal version of a commute.

It’s pretty cool but also means you’ll be riding at a max speed of 45 miles (72.4 km) per hour to ensure everyone’s safety — yes, even the animal kingdom.

In a place as unique as Yellowstone, respecting nature goes beyond just speed signs. Stick to the marked paths and boardwalks, or you might stumble upon a geyser or a boiling hot spring – and I assure you, it’s not going to be a relaxing dip. 

If you’re up for breathtaking motorcycle riding amid dizzyingly gorgeous views, Yellowstone is a must on your Montana motorcycle tour. No matter which entrance or route you pick, you’re in for a ride that’s straight out of a scenic postcard.

2. Glacier National Park

A motorcyclist beside a sign for "Bird Woman Falls 492 ft." at Glacier National Park, perfect for Montana motorcycle tours.
source: flickr.com

RideStarting PointKey FeaturesExperience Level
Going-to-the-Sun RoadWest GlacierGlacial valleys, Logan Pass, jagged peaksIntermediate to Advanced

Begin your Glacier National Park motorcycle journey at West Glacier, where the entrancing Going-to-the-Sun Road awaits you. This 50-mile (80.5 km) road through the core of the park is a can’t-miss jewel, celebrated for its magnificent vistas and thrilling curves. It was even dubbed a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

Prepare to be wowed by the sights — glacial-carved valleys and rugged peaks. Going-to-the-Sun Road isn’t just a road; it’s a gallery of nature’s grandest craftsmanship. Small shoulders, intense switchbacks, and an ascent to Logan Pass at 6,646 feet make this route a true adventure for seasoned riders.

If you’re yearning for a longer journey, don’t miss the Glacier National Park Loop. This 150-mile (241.4 km) circumnavigation of the park includes the famous Going-to-The-Sun Road, as well as Highway 2 and Highway 89. Maintaining a steady eye in the face of such dramatic views is a challenge you’ll be grateful for.

Remember, as beautiful as this road is, keep an eye on the weather – it’s generally only open in the summer. So grease those gears and dive head-first into one of Montana’s most epic motorcycle roads.

3. Flathead Lake Loop

Rider on a Montana motorcycle tour pausing on a country road at Flathead Lake Loop.

Flathead Lake Loop100-mile (161 km) scenic drive around Flathead Lake. Renowned as one of the top motorcycle rides in the state. Can be completed in just over 2 hours.

This breathtaking journey will start in the charming town of Kalispell and head south along the west side of the lake on U.S. Highway 93. As you cruise along the highway, you will be treated to awe-inspiring views of the glistening lake, surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests.

Once you reach the southern tip of the lake, you will make a turn onto Highway 35. This will lead you back up the eastern side of the lake, offering a different perspective of the magnificent scenery. It’s important to note that this part of the loop comprises a two-lane road for most of the journey, so caution is advised.

As you journey through Flathead Lake Loop, you will pass through charming small towns that dot the shoreline. These towns are not only home to delectable restaurants and quaint watering holes, but also offer opportunities to explore fascinating museums and galleries.

Riding the Flathead Lake Loop is like experiencing Montana’s story unfold right before your eyes, both on the amazing road and in the incredible scenery it reveals. 

4. Beartooth Pass

A motorcycle equipped for adventure parked on a dirt trail in Beartooth Pass, Montana.
source: flickr.com

Beartooth Pass69-mile (111 km) stretch along US Route 212. Starts outside Yellowstone National Park and leads to Red Lodge, one of Montana’s charming mountain towns. At its highest point, the Pass reaches almost 11,000 feet.

Welcome to Beartooth Pass, also known as Beartooth Highway, where you will be cruising through a place so beautiful that it was dubbed “the most beautiful drive in America.” This road connects the charming communities of Red Lodge and Cooke City and serves as a western corridor to Yellowstone National Park.

Why You’ll Love the Motorcycle Rides on Beartooth Pass:

  • It’s the Dreamiest Drive – Beartooth Pass is all about enchanting pine forests, expansive mountain ranges, and roads that seem to defy gravity. As you navigate the steep, winding pathways, you’ll feel more like you’re on a rollercoaster designed by Mother Nature herself.
  • Seasonal Sensation – The Pass is a seasonal splendor, typically only accessible from May to October every year. The snow-topped landscapes add a magical touch.
  • Red Lodge’s Charms – When you make it to Red Lodge, don’t just speed by. This town holds its own under the spotlight, offering a variety of eating and sleeping spots where you can refuel and rest up for more adventures.
  • For the Seasoned Rider – The Pass is a test of skill; with its tight curves and steep drops, it’s best left to those with experience.
  • Beartooth Rally – If you happen to time your visit right, the Beartooth Rally held in Red Lodge is an experience worth catching. It’s Montana’s largest motorcycle rally, and an opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts.

The Beartooth Pass promises an adventure of thrilling beauty. So, take your time through the switchbacks, soak in the romance of the pine-scented air and the symphony of revving engines, and allow your senses to be swept up in one of the most scenic motorcycle rides in the entire country.

5. Hyalite Canyon Road

A snow-covered Hyalite Canyon Road, perfect for Montana motorcycle tours.
source: facebook.com

Hyalite Canyon Road27.6-mile (44.4 km) one way from Bozeman. Winding road with sharp curves by the Gallatin River, leading to the Hyalite Reservoir.

The route, starting from Bozeman on 19th Avenue, is leisurely but packed with bends; perfect for unwinding and taking in the stunning vistas of Palisade Mountain, Mt. Ellis, and Wheeler Mountain.

During my own Hyalite adventure, I remember the sparkling Hyalite Reservoir providing the perfect pause for a quick picnic. Even if you’re not feeling the food, you could opt for hiking, kayaking, or even some enchanting wildlife photography if you’re lucky.

A little advice? Keep an eye out for gravel and potential wildlife — some of the less expected twists and turns of the road, you might say. If you’re setting out from April to May, know that the Canyon is motor vehicle-free to facilitate snowmelt and road maintenance.

Hyalite Canyon Road is a dreamy and relatively quick journey that will still manage to give you those amazing motorcycle road vibes. With its broad river views, mountain peaks, and abundant opportunities for adventure, this trip is a standout on any Montana motorcycling bucket list.

6. Lake Koocanusa

Two motorcycles parked on a scenic overlook with a view of forested mountains and Lake Koocanusa, during Montana motorcycle tours.
source: flickr.com

Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway (State Highway 37)This exhilarating 67-mile (107.8 km) route connects the towns of Libby and Eureka, cutting through the beautiful landscapes of the Kootenai National Forest.

What’s the big deal with this route, you ask? Well, let’s just say it lines the southern half of Lake Koocanusa, offering a film reel of fabulous views that shift between towering mountain ranges and glistening waters.

When riding this fantastic Montana motorcycle road, you’re not just navigating a highway; you’re tracing the contours of the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa itself. Sweeping vistas of the lake and its surrounding mountains, as well as key attractions like the Libby Dam and lush Tobacco Valley, are major scenic highlights.

As an actionable tip, try to time your journey in the morning or a late afternoon adventure – that’s when those beautiful views come alive. The light turns the mountains and the water into a painter’s dream, making the whole ride even more memorable.

7. Lolo Pass

Motorcycle parked at Lolo Pass, during Montana motorcycle tours.
source: flickr.com

Lolo PassLolo Pass, nestled within the Idaho-Montana border, offers 150 miles (241.4 km) of sheer riding delight. Winding through the Bitterroot Range, this legendary route typically lasts between 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on your joyride factor.

As you ascend through the pass, you’re greeted with breathtaking views of mountains and smooth, winding roads that feel like nature’s rollercoaster, only better. Trust me, your camera roll won’t know what hit it, so prep your gear for the Instagram show!

Now, don’t let the Instagram envy distract you. While there are a couple of gas stations peppered along the pass, it’s wise – and I speak from experience — to start with a full tank. After all, this is all about riding exclusively in the company of nature, not waiting in lines or worrying about gas gauge roulette.

Lolo Pass gives you the solitary, ‘man and machine in nature’ experience – a palate cleanser if you’re tired of pit stops or attractions breaking the rhythm of your ride. So make sure to take it all in, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and be at one with the stunning views around you.

Montana Motorcycle Tours Final Thoughts

Motorcyclist poised for adventure on a rugged trail with a scenic mountain backdrop.

In traversing Montana via motorcycle, riders aren’t just going on a journey from one point to another – they become an intimate part of the breathtaking landscapes they encounter.

From the iconic Yellowstone National Park to the dramatic Beartooth Pass, each ride presents a uniquely riveting experience, unlocking undisturbed beauty and natural wonder. The roads themselves speak of a rich history and have been expertly designed to showcase Montana’s untamed allure.

Offering jagged peaks, dreamy curves, and gentle riverside paths, these routes cater to riders of varied skill levels, the common thread being the sheer, unfiltered essence of Montana beauty that envelops you.

The sensationally crisp air, the play of light on towering mountains and expansive lakes, and the occasional wildlife sighting — each element weaves together to create a truly unforgettable narrative on two wheels.

These iconic Montana rides promise not just adrenaline-pumping adventure, but a soul-enriching communion with Mother Nature herself. So, rev up your engines, strap on your helmet, and make your own Montana memories — the world’s your scenic highway.

Montana Motorcycle Tours FAQs

1. What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Yellowstone on a Motorcycle?

The best time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park on a motorcycle is typically during the late spring to early fall months, specifically May through September. During this time, the weather is generally milder, the roads are clear of snow, and most facilities within the park are open.

2. What Is the Best Motorcycle Route in Yellowstone?

The best motorcycle route in Yellowstone is often considered to be the Grand Loop, covering 142 miles (229 km) in a figure-eight pattern and showcasing some of the park’s most breathtaking scenery.

This route offers riders a diverse experience, including stunning landscapes, geothermal features, and wildlife sightings, making it an ideal choice for a memorable motorcycle journey through Yellowstone National Park.

3. Can You Ride a Motorcycle Through Glacier National Park?

Motorcycles are allowed in Glacier National Park. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic highway traversing the park, offers a thrilling and beautiful ride for motorcyclists, providing access to stunning mountain vistas, alpine lakes, and diverse ecosystems, making it a popular route for motorcycle enthusiasts.

4. Can You Split Lanes on a Motorcycle in Montana?

In Montana, it is now legal to split lanes, but drivers must follow certain conditions such as maintaining a speed limit of 20 miles (32.2 km) per hour, ensuring that there is enough space to pass, and considering the weather conditions before doing so.

5. Can You Ride a Motorcycle Without a Helmet in Montana?

In Montana, the law requires motorcycle riders who are below 18 years old to wear helmets when riding. For those who are 18 years old and above, wearing helmets is not mandatory, but it is strongly advised to wear one every time you ride your motorcycle, irrespective of your age.

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Written by:

Elizabeth Hawley
Hey, fellow travelers! I'm Elizabeth Hawley, stepping into the world in the hues of fall. For me, Montana is more than just a state; it's a muse. The golden aspen trees and russet landscapes in the fall have always fueled my creativity. Co-founding PocketMontana.com was a no-brainer, blending my love for art, photography, and Montana's ever-changing palette.

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