Friday, October 16, 2020

Bozeman, Montana: college town, foodie haven, with nature, museums and more

"Big Mike" greets visitors to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, reopened since June.



Snow can last into the summer on the peaks
above the pretty town of Bozeman, Montana.

I SPENT the first months of my life in Bozeman, where my parents were university students. They lived in a Quonset hut from World War II, which was recycled to provide married student housing.
I've nurtured a lifelong fondness for this lively and picturesque town of 40,000.
Beautiful Bozeman's population has increased by 20 per cent since 2012 making it the state's fastest growing town by far.
What attracts people to this place?  Perhaps the call of nature, for one can hear elk bugle in the suburbs.  The occasional black bears wanders into town and terrific fly fishing attracts both tourists and locals.  Restaurants offer variety, including tasty ethnic fare as well as good old western cooking.  And since the 1860s when prospectors opened up the Bozeman Trail, this lovely part of the Gallatin Valley north of Yellowstone has been a road trip stop-over. 
The drive from Bozeman, past
Big Sky to West Yellowstone,
offers many scenic stops.

Lure of Big Sky Country
BOZEMAN, MONTANA is popular with tourists in both summer and winter. Direct flights come from many major U.S. cities including Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Denver, Newark and Houston. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is in Belgrade, a quick eight miles northwest of Bozeman. It's owned by the Gallatin Airport Authority and is the busiest airport in Montana.  Even in Covid-19 times, Bozeman's thriving tourism and outdoors-related economies have held their own. It's the county seat of Gallatin County, famous for gorgeous views of the mountains, spectacular sports and nature access. Another draw is Bozeman's proximity to the country's oldest national park, Yellowstone.
Bozeman's International Airport is in Belgrade,
busy with many direct flights to big U.S. cities.

It also hosts the wonderful Museum of the Rockies, Gallatin County Museum and the American Computer and Robotics Museum.
Hollywood has discovered the Gallatin Valley, too.  Many award winning, big budget films have been shot there, including scenes from "A River Runs Through It" and "Far and Away." Fittingly, film star Gary Cooper was born in Helena and finished high school in Bozeman.
In 1864, English born W.W. Alderson described Montana’s Gallatin Valley as “one of the most beautiful and picturesque valleys the eye ever beheld, abounding in springs of clear water.” In the late 1800’s many agreed, calling it “The Egypt” or “The Garden Spot of Montana.”
The Gallatin Valley has attracted an array
of film makers. Motion pictures shot here
include "A River Runs Through It," above. 
The fame of the region dates back to April of 1805, when captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery entered what is today Montana.
Over five months, they traveled up the Missouri and Jefferson rivers and along the Bitterroot Mountains, making some of the most significant discoveries of their epic adventure. Clark made a map of the Gallatin Valley, showing the three forks of the Missouri, the valley's “level open plain,” and the snow covered Bridger mountains. (Lewis and Clark split their party on the return trip, so Lewis could explore north of Great Falls, while Clark explored the Yellowstone.)
Not far from Bozeman is West Yellowstone, one of five
entrances to Yellowstone National Park and bison viewing. 

that booming resort where Montana born TV newsman Chet Huntley broke ground in 1967, is only 32 miles away. It opened with a flourish in 1973.  The award winning anchorman of Huntley-Brinkley fame had suffered a midlife crisis, moved to the mountains of Montana and created this resort town under the dreamy banner, Big Sky.  He said in an interview with Life magazine, "Maybe where there's clarity of air, there's clarity of thought." Could be.....
It's only 82 miles from Big Sky to Old Faithful, and an hour's drive to the closest park entrance, West Yellowstone. Many tourists base in Big Sky to tour the park, and it's a favorite drive of locals.

The foliage is beginning to turn golden, with splashes of red
as Montana and the northern Rockies head into autumn.

: Autumn imagery in the west is a spectacular blend of oranges, yellows, and bits of red.  As leaves are turning, ranchers are moving their cattle to their winter pastures. Bears are feasting on the last of the chokecherries and there's a definite nip in the air. Explore this changing time, with sunrises and sunsets, and enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery wherever you area. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at nature, travel, family, the arts and more:


  1. So nice to see this story and glorious photos on our home town. We have lived in Europe for years but still have fondness for Montana.

  2. Fine piece depicting the changes in your life -- and mine-- in our beautiful town.