Glendive is one of those small towns you zoom right past when you’re traveling I-94 in Montana. While you may slow down going over the bridge to admire the width of the Yellowstone River, which slices right through it, few make Glendive anything more than a meal or hotel stop.
We decided it was time to change that and here’s what we found!
Glendive for Water Lovers
The Yellowstone River cuts through Glendive, so bridges are key! However, even more important, you can put your kayak, canoe, or boat into the river and enjoy some paddling or fishing. Indeed, Glendive is known as the Paddlefish Capital of the World!
If you’re not into fast moving water though, you can enjoy some time on Hollecker Lake. Hollecker Park is on the outskirts of town (Exit 213 off I-94, right on Highway 16). Not only can you drop your fishing line into the lake at this park, you can soak up some sun on a small golden sand beach or have a picnic with the family under the shade of some cottonwoods.
Hiking Trails in Glendive
When it comes to activity, though, Makoshika State Park offers hikers, bikers, and equestrians lots of trails to spend the day exploring. The largest state park in Montana with over 11,000 acres (45 square km), Makoshika’s claim to fame is its rugged badlands formations. They’ve discovered 10 different dinosaurs species in its fossil rich landscape. You can get a wide panorama hiking to Hungry Joe Overlook or the Cap Rock Trail to see a natural bridge.
It was touching the 100 degrees when we visited, so my hike turned into a drive along Makoshika Park Road. It winds through the badlands, with their intriguing hoodoos and caprock formations. We only followed the road until we ran out of pavement, however, that took us to the highest elevations along a steep road that snaked between the rock formations.
There’s also a great walking spot in Glendive, next to Eyer Park — the historic Bell Street Bridge. The 1,300 ft (400 m) long steel truss structure was built in 1926. It crosses the Yellowstone River, being shut down to automobile traffic when the new I-94 bridge was erected over the Yellowstone in 1992.
Glendive For Motorsports Lovers
If you’re someone looking for an amazing spot to get out with your motorcycle, four wheeler, four-wheel drive truck, or sport-utility vehicle, Glendive is the place to be! The Glendive OHV area is a scenic seven mile drive from Glendive on Road #335. The Glendive OHV is a 2800 acre (11.3 sq km) recreation area. It’s classed as a limited area, so drivers are restricted to existing roads and trails.
Museums in Glendive
Glendive has two museums situated conveniently side-by-side just off I-94. Just hop off at Exit 215!
Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum
We visited the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum first. With its 20,000 sq ft facility, you’ll see 25+ dinosaur skeletons from around Montana and the rest of the United States.
You’ll also find a lot of fossils from land and sea, along with a Biblical History Room. It’s actually this room, and the curation, that make the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum stand out.
The museum is curated as if people lived the same time as dinosaurs, citing the Noah’s Ark biblical story of the flood as the extinction event for the dinosaurs.
Frontier Gateway Museum
Right next door, you’ll find the Frontier Gateway Museum, which earned a spot on the Montana Dinosaur Trail (as did Makoshika State Park, although the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum didn’t). The dinosaur here is just a small one situated near a knight in armor! However, there are a number of fossils in the collection.
This museum has a little of everything in it, from antique stoves (I saw the largest one ever in the school building!) to saddles to all kinds of farm machinery. The great thing is that the majority of displayed items are well labelled so you don’t have to get into a disagreement with anyone on what they might be.
Glendive Shopping & More
You may want to start by checking out the Hell Creek Music Store. While you’ll find music there’s a lot more, including action figures for the kids and a giant dinosaur skeleton! We also visited the pawn shop, Glendive Pawn Inc, to see if we could find any treasures. We didn’t but you may find something you’re looking for on their shelves.
I also checked out the shelves of two grocery stores, looking for spices we can only find in the US. And of course, I can’t forget the great selection of liquers and more at Montana Lil’s Casino and Liquor Store. But if more general shopping is your thing, there were plenty of stores in the downtown area.
Dining in Glendive
One of the lists of attractions I found for Glendive listed the Wagon Wheel Bar, so that was our first stop on a hot summer afternoon. I wouldn’t exactly list it as an attraction, but the service was fast and the drinks were cheap. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try the Cross Country Brewing microbrewery as it has limited open hours.
In Search of BBQ Brisket
We had also tried to find the Rub It Out BBQ, but eventually realized it was a food truck and couldn’t find it. It would have been helpful if their Facebook page had listed the current location it was parked, as we were sorry to have missed sampling their smoked meats.
Instead, we headed over to The Gust Hauf, since their online menu listed a Smoked Brisket Sandwich. They also had cheese curds, one of my first must-haves when I cross the border. If you go, my recommendation is to stick to their pizza menu, as we could see lots of take-out orders being picked up on the Sunday we were there.
Our last meal was at was at the Trailstar Cafe (also known locally as Gi Gi’s Cafe) that was part of the Sinclair gas station just off of Interstate I-94. Don’t, however, look for any big signs announcing its presence. Once we found it, our order was taken quickly and the dinners arrived in short order. David enjoyed his hot beef sandwich and I found my shrimp basket platter delicious.
Accommodations in Glendive
There are lots of hotels in Glendive, mainly due to its location on I-95. Indeed, you’ll likely find your favorite chain is there. We prefer motels where we can park our car right at the door — and while you may give up some perks like pillow-top mattresses, we do like the ambiance. So, in Glendive we stayed at the Riverside Inn, which was comfortable and budget priced.
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About the Photo
The cover photo was taken in Makoshika State Park, just outside Glendive, Montana, USA. Photo credit: Linda Aksomitis.
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