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St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway

Basics
Length:
30 miles (48 km)
Time:
Allow at least 1 hour to tour this byway.
Fees:
The Forest Service campground is $6 per night, no other fees apply.

Description

While known as the "shortcut to Glacier National Park", St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway provides enough attractions along its 22 miles to be its own destination. Beginning in the cozy tourist town of St. Regis and traveling through a diverse array of landscapes for its relatively short distance, the route provides a glimpse of wild Montana country while remaining in close proximity to civilization.

Nowhere is this meeting of civilization and wilderness more apparent than the mountain town of St. Regis. Once a logging and mining town, the economy's focus has since changed to tourism. With a golf course, an extensive community park, and several lodging options, the town provides plenty of attractions within, but the real thrills lie in the surrounding mountains. St. Regis makes the perfect launching point for a variety of mountain activities, so stock up on gear from a local supplier, get a hot meal under your belt, and embark on an unforgettable adventure.

Whatever outdoor passion draws you to the untouched western landscapes Montana has to offer, St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway satisfies it. The Clarks Fork River follows the byway and provides rapids for all skill levels of rafters and floaters. Anglers enjoy casting flies into the river's waters in hopes of snagging whitefish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or one of four different trout species. A variety of trails tempt you from the paved road with the prospect of hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking your way to a closer look at nature. Winter months find the countryside blanketed with high quality snow, perfect for backcountry skiing or snowmobiling.

Whether on the trail or on the pavement, you'll find several examples of large fauna along the byway as well. Elk, white-tailed and mule deer, and the occasional bighorn sheep roam the mountain faces, and bald eagles also frequent the area. Even if these wild inhabitants remain hidden throughout your drive, the Lolo National Forest scenery is impossible to miss. You'll pass through the rolling Donlan Flats towards high canyon walls with the distant green mountains and the comforting rumble of Clark Fork River as your constant traveling companions.

Locals and savvy travelers have long used St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway as an alternative to Montana State Highway 200. Rather than spend the entire drive watching the same freeway mile-markers flash by, add a little flavor to your road trip to Glacier National Park, the National Bison Range, or Flathead Lake as you take a more scenic and peaceful route. Traveling the St. Regis-Paradise Scenic Byway makes the journey as much fun as the destination.

Tourism Resources

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Lolo National Forest (MT)

Home to a varied range of elevations, ecosystems, and wildlife populations, Lolo National Forest is a great place to hike, view wildlife, or spend a few nights in the outdoors.

St. Joe National Forest (MT)

The St. Joe National Forest is one of five in Idaho referred to as the 'Idaho Panhandle National Forests'.

Directions

The Forest is just over the border into Idaho west of the byway.

Thompson Falls (MT)

Founded in the 1800s by early British explorer, David Thompson, Thompson Falls combines many of the features that make northwestern Montana attractive to visitors and residents alike.

Thompson Falls is nestled among the mountains and settled next to the Clark Fork River. It is part of the region of Montana known as the "banana belt," where temperatures generally remain mild throughout winter and summer.

Take some time to park the car and wander across the bridge to Thompson Island. There, you will find picnic areas near the river, as well as hills to climb and paths to follow. The island surrounds you with trees, cliffs, and wildflowers. You may even forget that nearby is a bustling town full of stores to visit, a golf course, and a bowling alley.

Directions

From Paradise, continue west on MT-200.

Details

Length:
30 miles (48 km)
Time:
Allow at least 1 hour to tour this byway.
Main Roads:
MT-135 W
Fees:
The Forest Service campground is $6 per night, no other fees apply.

Map + Directions

Customizable Directions


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