Ranching Country and Milk River Route


Malta 59538,Havre Area

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Watchable WildlifeWilderness AreasWildlife RefugesBoatingScenic DrivesFishing
General info

This tour through this section's northeast country begins in Malta on U.S. Highway 2, the Hi-Line highway. This tour will take you through the unique prairie country, and a mix of beautiful canyons, benchlands, and river bottoms. Head north on Highway 242 for about 16 miles. Here you will find a side road that climbs to a high point. The view from here is spectacular. To the east, you will see the Milk River and its banks lined with cottonwoods. To the west are the canyons of Cottonwood Creek. If you follow this road for about four to six miles, you will be treated to a view of the deep gorge to the north of Little Cottonwood Creek Canyon.

Return to the main highway and head north to Loring. After stopping in the little community of Loring head back south on 242 for about 20 miles. Turn left on a road that stretches east through the Milk River valley for about 23 miles to Highway 243. On the way, you’ll pass the Hewitt Lake National Wildlife Refuge and an access road to Nelson Reservoir. This is one of the region’s most popular recreation areas for both water sports and fishing. On this road, you will see more deer and antelope than people.

When you reach Highway 243, turn right to Saco. From Saco, you can go in several directions. Continue through Saco to the Larb Hills. Stories have been told of cowboys roping grizzly bears here for amusement. Of course, there are no longer grizzly bears in this part of the state. Head west to the Nelson Reservoir and the nearby Sleeping Buffalo Resort. Or continue back toward Malta and visit the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge about 8 miles east of Malta.

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