Our next adventure was visiting the National Bison Range in Montana. To break the trip up we spent one night in Cheney, Washington at Ponderosa Falls Resort, $10/night with Coast to Coast points. We broke camp early the next day and headed to our base of operations for the bison caper, St Regis, Montana. We stayed at the St. Regis Campground for $43/night with Good Sam’s. This is a beautiful area in a beautiful state.
After setting up camp we decided to tour the area and then head over to the Bison Range early the next morning. The afternoon local tour was great. The area has Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort on the Clark Fork River, many scenic drives and trails. We really enjoyed the afternoon.
We got an early start the next day and were on the way to the National Bison Range by 8 AM. The Bison Range was dedicated in 1908 as a National Wildlife refuge, the oldest in the United States. It is the top bison research center in the US. A little history about the bison, also known as the buffalo. Bison is the correct word for this majestic creature. Buffalo is also an accepted term but the purist out there may give you a little grief over it. By 1890 the bison were nearing extinction due to the US Government’s efforts to eradicate the bison during the Indian Wars. The plan was to kill off the Native Americans by starvation by getting rid of their major food source, then move the survivors to reservations. It was a land grab by the European settlers, aided and abetted by the US Government. Sad.
The National Bison Range is 18,800 acres in the Lake and Sanders Counties of Montana. It is in the Mission Mountain Range and is located in the area of the Glacial Lake Missoula, a glacial lake formed more than 18,000 years ago. There is a small remnant of the glacial lake in the valley. The valley is spectacular, as are the views, the fauna and the flora. This National treasure only gets 250,000 visitors a year. It’s a little known gem.
We decided to take the Red Sleep Mountain Drive through the bison range. The drive is a 19 mile, one-way dirt road which winds over the mountain and valley. It did not disappoint us! Magnificent! The area was in full spring bloom and we had a great experience there. I highly recommending a day there. You can drive the road through the range in 2.5 hours but if you travel that fast, you’ll miss so much. We spent about 6 hours taking everything in. It was exciting. Ray had a small encounter with a teenage bull. The bull side eyed him, snorted and pawed the ground. Ray slowly and quietly moved inside the open door of the truck. Trouble averted. Please enjoy the following pictures. I had fun taking them.
We enjoyed this area very much. We watched animals interacting with each other. The Pronghorns were nestled for their rest right in the middle of the bison herd. The valley was full of song birds that we sat and listened to as we watched the herds. What a great way to spend a day.
Next up: Glacier National Park. Thanks for reading!