The Best Drive In Southwest Montana Is Now Open
For my money, the best drive in Southwest Montana is the Skalkaho Road. The Skalkaho cuts across the Sapphire Mountains linking Highway 93 just south of Hamilton, to Highway 1 just north of Georgetown Lake.
The Skalkaho is a lot like the Going to the Sun road, it takes some time to open up for seasonal travel. And, as you see on the map above, according to the Montana Department of Travel, she is open and ready for travel. Now, this is NOT a highway, the Skalkaho is a primitive (dirt road) seasonal road. Make sure to look into the current road conditions on the Montana Department of Transportation before heading over the pass, because, well… Montana weather.
This scenic drive takes you on some of the least traveled mountain roads in the state. The road hugs the mountains; therefore, there are some narrow curves with limited pull-outs. Trailers are not allowed over the road, due to those conditions.
The road as we know it was constructed in 1924 to link mining camps with agricultural communities in the Bitterroot Valley. The road was originally a well-traveled Native American trail between summer and winter grounds.
The Skalkaho Pass sits at 7,260 feet above sea level, offering some incredible views, and brings you past the Skalkaho Falls (which must be raging right now, be careful). If you want to make it more than a day trip, there are a pair of campgrounds along Highway 38, Black Bear Campground, offering 6 campsites, and Crystal Creek Campground with 3 sites.
The Skalkaho is an amazing ride, with some breathtaking views, a waterfall, and maybe the most important factor, the lack of crowds. Depending on the day, you might not see another soul.
(Please check with the Montana Department of Transportation for road conditions before going)