The mountain passes and wide-open highways of eastern Montana offer some of the purest, most breathtaking views you can find on two wheels. The only sounds you’ll hear for miles are the rumbling of motorcycles echoing from within the deep canyons, the calls of migratory birds, and the shutter of your camera.
Montana’s largest city, Billings, is located mere miles from legendary Montana rides. Enjoy comfortable and modern conveniences before kicking your kickstand up again and again.
Where to Ride: Beartooth Highway
Less than an hour from Billings, the Beartooth Highway is one of America’s most dazzling rides and offers bucket-list views from start to finish. Guiding riders to a gorgeous entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the smooth highway meanders through some of the most extreme terrain in the world, with more than 20 mountain peaks rising to above 12,000 feet to pierce the big blue skies.
In addition to the Beartooth Highway, major highways and state roads weave through the region and introduce motorcyclists to cultural sites along the way—a magnificent complement to the vast Montana scenery.
Explore Pompeys Pillar National Monument, which features the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Pompeys Pillar loop route winds through distant sandstone outcroppings, rolling plains, and rocky plateaus, offering you a glimpse at Montana wildlife.
You can continue on to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument to add some additional mileage to the experience, or enjoy the ride for a second time on your way back to Billings.
Bighorn Mountain Vista Loop is another ride for picture-perfect views with stops along the Bighorn River. The 150-mile loop leads to the Bighorn County Historical Museum, where you can immerse yourself in a bygone era.
Where to Explore
Although Billings is Montana’s largest city, you don’t have to wander very far to experience big, open-air adventures. Billings is home to hundreds of acres of city parks and more than 47 miles of walking and biking trails of varying degrees of challenge.
The stretch of trail along the Rimrocks—sandstone bluffs estimated to be at least 70 million years old—is a must-see and perfect for gaining a bird’s eye vantage point to the surrounding territory of mountain ranges, plains, and the iconic Yellowstone River. For some of the best views, explore the Four Dances Recreation Area atop the Rimrocks. The hike from the parking lot includes heavenly views from 500-foot cliffs.
While certain spots along the Rimrocks can be accessed by car or leisurely hikes, Zimmerman Park, Acton Recreation Area, and Phipps Park all take the adventure up a notch, offering more challenging hiking or mountain biking options for those seeking a stronger rush of adrenaline among the sandstone formations. On clear days, you can spot five mountain ranges from the trails: Pryor, Big Horn, Bull, Crazy, and Absaroka-Beartooth.
Additional seven miles of trails—along with several parks on the Yellowstone River, including Dover Park, Riverfront Park and Two Moon Park—are perfect for leisurely hikes and bike rides while taking in the foliage and wildlife. Pack a picnic lunch and swimsuit to spend the day under Montana’s big skies and splash about in the last free-flowing river in the lower 48 states.
Where to Refuel and Refresh
You might not think of southeast Montana as a destination for culinary exploration, but you’d be surprised. Billings is home to three James Beard-nominated establishments—Walkers Grill, The Marble Table and Veronika’s Pastry Shop—that are changing the flavor landscape of the region.
Chef Nick Steen has been with Walkers since 2017 and has defined a culinary genre that is part meat-and-potatoes and part metropolitan chic. Meanwhile, Jason and Jen Marble opened The Marble Table in 2020 to such demand, they’ve already needed to expand their footprint in Billings and have completed a major expansion of restaurant. Between these two Montana-hip restaurants, visitors can enjoy everything from braised beef Bolognese to apple-brined pork shank, with plenty of “safe” and more adventurous plates in between.
For dessert, make room for something sweet from Veronika’s Pastry Shop, where the tempting croissants, tarts and Danishes are all made from scratch. But you must get there early as chef Veronika closes the doors as soon as the pastries are sold out—which is rarely any later than noon.
Finally, quench your thirst exploring the Billings Brew Trail, a craft beverage trail that treats hikers to nine breweries, three distilleries, a cider house, and a winery. Many of the stops along the trail boast menus of scrumptious foods to keep you fueled up along your journey.
Where to Rest
There are nearly 50 hotels in Billings where you can call it a night, some of which offer bike wash areas for guests. From one-of-a-kind historic inns with rich history to modern properties where you can rack up your loyalty rewards, there’s no shortage of places to find rest and relaxation in Billings.
Heading to Sturgis?
Every year, motorcyclists stop in Billings before and after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to enjoy all the city has to offer. Stretch out both your legs and your trip this year and rumble into Montana’s Trailhead for more views, delicious brews, and some of the best cuisine in the region.
Begin planning your visit to Billings!