Looking for one of the best scenic drives Montana has to offer? C’mon on down to Southwest Montana, where just outside of the quaint town of Ennis, you can cruise through beautiful mountains known as the Gravelly Range. If you’re planning your Montana vacation or traveling to Yellowstone, elevate your trip by driving along the Gravelly Range Road!
Click the map for driving directions from your destination to the Gravelly Range!
Gravelly Range Facts
Quite possibly, Gravelly Range Road is the most scenic drive in Montana. It provides unique views of the entire Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Madison Valley area, offering abundant opportunities to see subalpine grasslands, conifer forests and endless amounts of dazzling wildflowers. Any wildflower aficionado will be excited to walk through the Gravelly Range during wildflower blooming season, which runs from late June through July.
Gravelly Range is located in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the largest forest in Montana. Covering 3.35 million acres, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest is home to 8 unique counties in Montana, including Madison County, home of Ennis. Located just outside the Gravelly Range, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Ennis, Montana!
Plan your day trip to the Gravelly Range Road – Wildflowers, wildlife, picnics & backpacking!
Gravelly Range Quick Facts
- Located in Madison County
- Covers about more than 500,000 acres
- Highest peak: Black Butte (10,542 ft.)
- Commonly attracts spelunkers (cave explorers)
- Home to the highest elevation pronghorn habitat in Montana
Hiking the Gravelly Range
On a day spent hiking through the Gravellies, it wouldn’t be uncommon to stumble across old Native American campsites, one-of-a-kind wildflowers, immense cave systems, ancient conifer forests and indigenous animals all in one outing! The area has historical significance as well as scientific; Not only does it have rich Native American heritage, indigineous Tiger Salamander are studied at the Axolotl Lakes Wilderness Study Area, which covers more than 7,000 acres.
A hike through the Gravel Range Mountains is a unique experience unlike any other – make sure it’s on your Montana vacation checklist.
The Gravelly Range is accessible by gravel road (so that’s where the name came from…), so if you’re on your drive and find the perfect spot to get out, take a walk, snap some pictures, even have a picnic, make sure to use precautions. Don’t go on the Gravelly Range trip without a map, which you can pick up at the local Ennis visitor’s center or through the Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Pack more than enough water for your hike, bring comfortable boots and socks, as well as sunscreen to protect you at such high elevation. Remember – be bear aware at all times!
But, enough with the worrying – Let’s get you directions and set you on your way!
Driving Directions to the Gravelly Range Road from Ennis
If you’re coming from Ennis, MT, head south on US-HWY 287 about two miles until you come to the Varney Road intersection. Turn south on Varney Road and head about 10 miles to Call Road junction. Head west about 7 miles towards the National Forest Boundary. 5 miles past the National Forest Boundary, you’ll arrive at Gravelly Range Road. Head south and continue on your scenic drive through the Montana mountain range.
This amazing ridge-road can take you nearly to the Idaho border with feeder roads that drop down both sides of the ridge to West Fork, Virginia City, Black Butte and many other off-road adventures. A good plan for a picnic day trip is to begin in Ennis and take the Gravelly range road to the West Fork road which leads back to US 287. A 30 minute drive back to Ennis for dinner or head on to West Yellowstone to begin your Yellowstone adventure!
Visiting Yellowstone? Stop By The Gravelly Range!
We all know how exciting a Yellowstone National Park trip can be, with the untamed ecosystem, still in its natural state. Fortunately the Gravelly Range is just on the northwest side of Yellowstone, making it just a short drive to the famous Montana landmark that is the Gravellies. A perfect stop for all of those visiting Yellowstone!
For the fitness nuts, there’s even a mountain biking tour that starts in Ennis, heads up the Gravelly Range, through the mountains and down through the Madison Valley. The mountain bike tour continues through Southwest Montana, offering incredible sights until reaching Yellowstone. The grueling Madison Marathon race – one of the few in Montana – gives runners a crack at the highest road run in America!
Come Say Howdy Soon!
If you’re planning your vacation to Montana, and want to head on the road-less-traveled, visit us on the Backroad to Yellowstone! Along US-HWY 287 and the Madison Valley, there’s sights and wildlife like you’ve never seen. The Madison River is home to famous, blue-ribbon fly fishing, while Ennis itself has truly authentic Old Western spirit. Downtown boasts dozens of food vendors and entertainment hotspots. Ennis Lodging and accommodations are of course widely available in the form of cabins, hotels, motels and fishermen’s lodges.
If you’re on your way out West, we’ll say howdy to you when we cross paths on the Backroad!