Midwest Roadtrip 2017: Day Five

Out of the entire vacation, this day was definitely my favorite, and that is because I absolutely fell in love with Big Sky, Montana.

I’ve noticed that my destination bucketlist tends to grow rather than shrink every time I travel… and Big Sky was the reason why this time around.  The area is gorgeous, has a ton of outdoor recreation opportunities, supports lots of local business, and (the best part) is not crowded.  I can’t wait to head back so we can explore it properly!  Continue below to read about our many adventures in this hidden gem of a town ♥︎.

Geyser Whitewater Expeditions

Fabian, Skyler, and I left Billings, Montana bright and early so we could make it on time to our reservation with Geyser Whitewater Expeditions.  None of us had been whitewater rafting before, so this was a first all around, and let me just say, it was incredible!

The Geyser staff were all friendly and helpful, and our tour guides went our of their way to ensure that everyone (especially the kiddos) had a fun and safe time during the tour.  Skyler went crazy for this activity, and never once gave the impression of being anxious or scared, which was more than we expected from our six year old!  Other rafters even commented on how happy they were that Skyler was with us that day, as his overflowing positivity rubbed off on everyone in the boat.  We could all probably learn something from his fearless attitude throughout the tour!

Our family enjoyed our experience with Geyser Whitewater so much that I wrote a special post detailing our day with them.  If you want to know more about this tour company to see if they’d be a good match for your next adventure, you can read it about it here!

Blue Moon Bakery

After the whitewater rafting, our family moseyed on down to the Blue Moon Bakery, at the recommendation of our river guides.  This local bakery features brightly colors decor, outdoor seating, and a variety of goodies made for consumption (sweets, subs, and pizza).  The food was decent for the price, but I especially enjoyed the aesthetic and ambiance of the establishment.  We’ll definitely be returning when we make our way back to Big Sky.

Ousel Falls Trail

At another recommendation of our river guides, Fabian, Skyler, and I decided to tackle Big Sky’s Ousel Falls Trail after we finished with lunch.  We hike a lot, and have seen a lot, but this trail did not disappoint.  Maybe we just happened to be on the receiving end of perfect conditions, but this hike was simply amazing, from start to finish.

The first thing we noticed as we headed towards Ousel Falls was that there weren’t a lot of people on the trail.  Yes, we passed hikers occasionally as we continued on, but it was hardly crowded.  Peace, quiet, and physical space on a trail are important to me because they give me the opportunity to experience the area as is, without the interference of talky tourists and that incessant need to rush when an endless flow of people want to get around you.  If you’re anything like me, you consider this low-population quality to be a blessing.

The next thing that made us love this trail was the fact that it had so much to offer in such a short distance.  The hike was very short, only around a mile long.  However, it was packed with so much greatness and so many tangents that it took us over two hours to get back to our car.  We explored nearly every offshoot, and they were all worth it.

Overall, this hike easily became my favorite of this summer’s road trip, and possibly even my favorite, period.  Who wouldn’t fall in love with views like these?

Traveler’s Lodge

We called it a day once we finished hiking, and left Big Sky for West Yellowstone.  We stayed at the Traveler’s Lodge, which conformed to most of our previous hotel stays during this trip.  The place was unassuming and minimalistic, but when you’re only staying for a night, how much could you possibly need?  The desk clerks were friendly, the room was clean, and our purpose was served for our short stay.  The only complaint I had about the Lodge was that the office was not open at the time we planned on checking out, which I found odd.  Still, overall we were satisfied.  Just keep that in mind if you plan on starting the day off bright and early!

Do I have you convinced yet that this was the best day ever?  Get down to Big Sky and see for yourself; it’s a dream :).  Don’t forget to comment below with your own experiences, and check out Day Six in the near future!

Safety disclaimer: When hiking, always be aware of the wildlife that could be present on a trail, and take the necessary precautions.  Just because I haven’t seen it yet doesn’t mean it isn’t there, or that you won’t see it!  Additionally, make sure to follow all safety protocols as outlined by the recreation departments in charge of each site you choose to visit.  Be safe and prepared.

Medical disclaimer: As always, consult a physician before you and/or your child begin an exercise regimen or engage in rigorous outdoor activity. The general information above is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional.  If you experience any problems or have concerns when engaging in physical activity, stop and contact a doctor before proceeding with additional workouts.

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  1. Seems like you had a full and eventful day! Have always wanted to go rafting, glad everything went well for your first time. Ousel Falls is stunning, that hike offers so much more than just the waterfalls.

    1. We sure did, Kim! Big Sky is such an amazing destination. I hope you get the chance to check it out, and maybe even get in that rafting trip you’ve been dreaming of. You’ll have to let me know how it goes if you do.

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  2. I absolutely LOVE Montana! I went there this past summer but did not see Big Sky (never heard of it before I read this post–thank you!). I’m definitely planning to go back; this hike looks awesome–love the photos!

    Glacier National Park is a must see if you haven’t!

    1. Hi, Lyndsay!

      I’m getting awfully fond of Montana myself. Thank you for the compliment on the photos — just imagine what the trail looks like in person! Glacier National Park is definitely on my list, but we’ve been saving it for a trip further west. I’d love recommendations!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  3. That looks like an action – packed day!

    1. Sure was, Chandrika!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  4. What a sweet trip! It really does sound like a fantastic day, and those hiking pictures are beautiful! I would have had to explore all of the offshoots on that hike as well, if it were me! Fantastic that your six-year-old had so much fun rafting too! You’ve made me want to get out there myself! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Stefanie! The trip was awesome, and I’m glad to hear that those trail tangents wouldn’t be lost on you either. I’m happy to have inspired some wanderlust in you! If you’re ever in Montana, I would highly recommend the area — and not just for summertime; while we were there we heard quite a lot about Big Sky’s many winter activities as well. I hope you get the chance to check it out one day! You’ll have to let me know if you do :).

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  5. Our family did a trip to Big Sky a few years ago. It was only because hubby had to go for work, and we wanted to tag along. We wound up having a great time! We went in the late fall, so this looks entirely different. I don’t know if I would be brave enough for the white water rafting, but I’m all for the bakery and trail along the beautiful river. Wonderful!

    1. That’s so exciting, Megan! I love surprise destinations! I’m sure Big Sky is beautiful during this time of year. That’s one of the nice things about sticking around somewhere for a while; you can see how it handles the seasons.

      As for the whitewater rafting, there are several different rafting options if you ever want to give it a go. Scenic routes may be a good first choice! They don’t come with much risk because they go through calm waters. Until then, feel free to stick to solid ground and baked goods — they’re just as fun, hah!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  6. Feel like I need to put Montana on my bucket list now for a trip. Great photos!

    1. You definitely should, Hayley! It has a lot to offer, more than I ever knew!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  7. White water rafting is on my bucket list! Maybe I should do it in Montana! Seriously didn’t know Montana had so much to offer.

    1. Hi, Anna! I didn’t know how much there is to do in Montana either, not until I had lived in a neighboring state for a while. I would totally recommend heading up there — there are gorgeous national and state parks for outdoor adventures (bucket list check!), and bigger cities for the urban scene. You’ll have to let me know about your experience if you visit! 😀

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  8. Oh wauw this looks absolutely amazing. I went white water rafting once – it was so much fun! I was laughing the whole way 🙂

    1. Thanks, Josephine! I’m glad you enjoyed your whitewater rafting experience too. Maybe you’ll give it another go in Big Sky one day!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  9. The whitewater experience looks like so much fun! I too am impressed that Skyler was not afraid being so young.

    1. It was, Candy! Definitely a step outside my comfort zone. I was pretty impressed with the kid too; he was totally fearless that day! I was I could say the same about our experience with Yellowstone Aerial Adventures as well, but that didn’t go so well for him. Apparently water is good, but heights not so much haha!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

  10. Those waterfalls, and the water is just so clear. I have always been a fan of nature, and this looks definitely like a place I would love to visit <3

    1. Thanks, Odette! It’s an awesome location for nature lovers! I hope you get to go. Next time we’re in Montana, we’re definitely going to stop by Big Sky again, and make our way towards Glacier National Park, which is also supposed to have some awesome spots. Let’s talk outdoor adventures sometime!

      Thanks for reading & I hope to see you back again soon! 🙂

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