Last updated: November 25, 2023
The perfect escape from the monotony of everyday life, discovering hidden gems along random roads. Spanning a distance of about 677 miles, the Seattle to Bozeman road trip promises awe-inspiring landscapes, charming small towns, and a lovely variety of outdoor adventures.
We recently made this fantastic journey, on our way to explore college campuses for our youngest. Join me as I provide an inspirational virtual tour of the best attractions along the route!
Seatle to Bozeman Road Trip
How far is Bozeman Montana from Seattle Washington? It’s 677 miles or roughly 10 hours driving, without stopping. There are a huge number of potential road trip stops you could make along the way, depending on your interests. Starting in Seattle.
Road Trip Stops in Washington
Your adventure begins in the vibrant city of Seattle, where you can soak in the breathtaking views of the iconic Space Needle and explore the lively Pike Place Market. Don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee from one of Seattle’s famous cafes before hitting the road.
- Must do in Seattle: Pike Place Market
- Must eat: Pike Place Chowder
Just 25 miles east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls awaits with its breathtaking cascade of water plunging 268 feet into the Snoqualmie River. Take a leisurely stroll to the observation deck or hike the surrounding trails for spectacular views.
Be sure to visit the Salish Lodge for a meal with a stunning waterfall backdrop.
- Must do in Snoqualmie Falls: view the falls from the upper observation deck
- Must eat: Pressed on Main in North Bend
Nestled 100 miles east of Seattle, the town of Ellensburg offers a charming blend of history, art, and outdoor adventure. Explore the historic downtown, visit the Kittitas County Historical Museum, and take a leisurely walk along the scenic Yakima River Canyon.
- Must do in Ellensburg: Art enthusiasts should not miss the acclaimed Clymer Museum of Art.
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
Situated approximately 150 miles east of Seattle, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is a unique destination that takes you back in time. Marvel at the ancient petrified trees, hike through desert-like landscapes, and explore the Interpretive Center to learn about the park’s geology and history.
We stopped here every summer when I was growing up, on our way to eastern Washington. It’s the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs a bit.
- Must do in Vantage: stop at the Wild Horse Monument just after the bridge. You can also take a very short hike to the top and stand right next to the statues.
Palouse Falls State Park
A detour south from I-90 will lead you to Palouse Falls State Park, roughly 80 miles southeast of Ellensburg. Here you can experience the awe-inspiring official waterfall of Washington state for yourself.
Palouse Falls, cascading 198 feet into a deep canyon is an impressive site for tired eyes. Explore below if you have time, capture breathtaking photos, and appreciate the raw beauty of this natural wonder.
- Must do at Palouse Falls: Hike along the rim
Next on your journey is Spokane, a city known for its vibrant arts scene, riverfront parks, and captivating architecture. Visit the stunning Riverfront Park, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Spokane Falls, and immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting museums and art galleries.
- Must do in Spokane: Check out the enormous Radio Flyer Wagon at the Riverfront Park. You can climb in as well, with a short ladder, for the perfect photo opp.
Road Trip Stops in Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Crossing the state line into Idaho, you’ll encounter the picturesque town of Coeur d’Alene. Set alongside the stunning Coeur d’Alene Lake, this charming destination offers countless opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking.
- Must do in Coeur d’Alene: Visit the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
Approximately 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene, the historic mining town of Wallace offers a glimpse into the region’s rich past. It’s been the world’s largest silver producer for over 100 years.
Explore the Oasis Bordello Museum, visit the Sierra Silver Mine Tour, and take a walk through the charming downtown, lined with preserved Victorian-era buildings.
- Must do in Wallace: stroll through historic downtown
This is a charming town nestled in the Silver Valley region of northern Idaho. Despite its small size, Kellogg offers a range of activities and attractions that cater to various interests, including Silver Mountain Resort, Trail of of Coeur d’Alene, Cataldo Mission, and Bitterroot National Forest.
- Must do in Kellogg: Ride the chairlift up to the top of Silver Mountain
Montana Stops and Detours
Montana is full of adventure, wherever you go. But you’ll have to make some serious detours to reach the best ones. There are two absolute musts, but each could take an extra week or two to explore.
Heading North from Missoula will take you to Glacier National Park, while heading south from Butte or Bozeman will take you to Yellowstone National Park. Both are worthy.
Crossing into Montana, the vibrant city of Missoula beckons as a convenient place to sleep for the night. Visit the Missoula Art Museum, explore the downtown area, and enjoy the lively atmosphere while you’re there.
Outdoor lovers will appreciate the nearby Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, offering many amazingly beautiful hiking trails.
- Must do in Missoula: Visit A Carousel for Missoula
Detour: National Bison Range
National Bison Range is a wildlife lover’s paradise. About 90 miles northeast of Missoula and on your way to Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park.
Drive through the range’s scenic loop, spot majestic bison, elk, and other wildlife, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands.
Along the same detour: Flathead Lake
If you have time, again heading north on your detour from Missoula, you’ll encounter the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River: Flathead Lake.
This gorgeous lake offers endless opportunities for boating, swimming, and fishing. Take a scenic drive along the lake’s shores and savor the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
- Things to do in Flathead Lake: Stop in at Flathead Lake State Park
Also along the same detour: Glacier National Park
No road trip from Seattle to Bozeman would be complete without a visit to Glacier National Park, north of Flathead Lake. Prepare to be mesmerized by its towering peaks, pristine glaciers, and shimmering alpine lakes.
Take a scenic drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike the famous trails, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as bears, moose, and mountain goats.
- Must do in Glacier National Park: spend at least a few days here
Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park
You can’t miss seeing this historical gem as you drive by, standing prominently and somewhat oddly amidst the hills bordering I-90.
Completed in 1919, the old Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack stands as one of the world’s tallest free-standing brick structures, soaring to a height of 585 feet.
Its’ impressive dimensions include an inside diameter of 75 feet at the base, gradually tapering to 60 feet at the top. To put this into perspective, the iconic Washington Monument measures 555 feet in height.
Acknowledged for its historical significance, the stack has earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Though viewing and photography of the stack are allowed at no charge, it can only be observed from a distance.
Back on I-90 and driving east again, you’ll drive through the city of Butte, a charming city with a rich mining history. Visit the World Museum of Mining, take a guided underground tour, and admire the unique Berkeley Pit, an open-pit copper mine turned Butt environmental landmark.
- Must do in Butte: visit the Berkeley Pit
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
If your timing is flexible, be sure to set aside a few hours for an amazing and unique tour at Lewis and Clark Caverns on your way.
With its stunning rock formations, intricate stalactites, and spacious chambers, the guided tours provide fascinating insights into the geological history and the Lewis and Clark expedition’s connection to the site.
- Must do: whichever tour you have the most time for
Yellowstone National Park
Next is an opportunity to detour south to visit Yellowstone National Park, 150 miles to the west entrance. Should you go this route, make reservations for lodging in advance, plan ahead for the best experience, and spend at least three days exploring the beauty of our nation’s first National Park.
Yellowstone is a true natural wonderland of breathtaking array of geothermal features, including the famous Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring. The park is home to diverse wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison.
You can explore numerous hiking trails, go camping, or enjoy scenic drives through the park.
You can also reach the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, 78 miles south of Bozeman. This entrance is closest to Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring landscapes in the park.
You could easily spend a day here, from traffic alone. Arrive as early as possible to the entrance and keep an open and flexible mind.
Finally, your road trip ends in the vibrant city of Bozeman. Known for its lively downtown, thriving arts scene, and proximity to outdoor adventure, Bozeman offers a perfect blend of city life and natural beauty.
Explore the Museum of the Rockies, wander the downtown streets filled with boutique shops and restaurants, hike one of the many fantastic trails or venture out to nearby Yellowstone National Park for a day trip.
- Must do in Bozeman: visit the Museum of the Rockies
- Must eat: Cat Eye for breakfast
Seattle to Bozeman FAQs
Between Seattle and Bozeman, you can explore the breathtaking landscapes of national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone, indulge in outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife spotting, visit charming towns along the way, and savor local cuisine. Enjoy a diverse and scenic road trip experience through the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies.
Consider stopping in Spokane (Washington) for its Riverfront Park and vibrant downtown. In Coeur d’Alene (Idaho), enjoy the picturesque lake and outdoor adventures. Bozeman (Montana) offers cultural attractions and access to Yellowstone National Park. Revel in the stunning landscapes and unique experiences along this scenic journey.
To fully enjoy Bozeman and its surrounding attractions, plan to spend at least 3 to 4 days. This timeframe allows ample time to explore a small part of Northern Yellowstone National Park, experience local culture, enjoy outdoor activities, and savor the town’s vibrant dining and entertainment scene.
Yes, the drive from Bozeman to West Yellowstone is stunning. The route takes you through scenic landscapes of Montana, including picturesque mountains, forests, and rivers. It’s a beautiful drive, and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the area before reaching the iconic West Yellowstone entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Final Thoughts on Seattle to Bozeman
The journey along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Bozeman is not just about the destination. It’s about the remarkable experiences and hidden gems that lie within a 100-mile radius (or so) of this iconic highway.
From cascading waterfalls to historical towns, from captivating museums to breathtaking natural wonders, this road trip promises to leave you with unforgettable memories. As always, enjoy the journey!