Breathtaking mountains, national parks, and historical monuments all come together to create the American Northwest, one of the most beautiful travel opportunities in the country. Come explore Alaska, Idaho, and Montana.
SEE: Aurora Borealis — also known as the northern lights — is most visible in the interior and arctic regions of Alaska between August and April, and there are plenty of tours and opportunities to take it in. Fairbanks is considered one of the best places for viewing.
DO: Alaska Native Heritage Center is a village of interactive, history-rich sites surrounding Lake Tiulana, brimming with opportunities to learn and experience the lifeways and cultural traditions of Alaska’s Indigenous groups. alaskanative.net.
EAT: Fresh seafood, wild game, and foraged veggies are on the menu at Seven Glaciers, the well-loved dining destination atop Mt. Alyeska. It’s located inside Alyeska Resort, another solid stay option 40 miles south of Anchorage.
STAY: Whether you get there by train, car, or coach, the Grand Denali Lodge (denalialaska.com/grande-denali-lodge) on Sugarloaf Mountain can be a luxurious home base from which Denali National Park bus tours, flightseeing trips, ATV rides, water adventures, covered wagon expeditions, and fly-fishing sessions are launched.
DAY TRIP: While you can’t go wrong taking deep dives into National Parks such as Lake Clark (nps.gov/lacl/), you can also board a boat for one of the state’s many glacier and wildlife day cruises. Find out more at travelalaska.com.
SEE: For peaks and valleys that delight, look to Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. For a scene rivaling Niagara, stop at Shoshone Falls. And for a little bit of everything Idaho’s varied landscape offers, take the Lake Coeur D’Alene Scenic Byway or one of many other byways in the state. visitidaho.org.
DO: The Idaho State Museum (history.idaho.gov/museum) and Boise Art Museum (boiseartmuseum.org) are in close proximity, with the former housing interactive features laying out the state’s history and the latter running the fine-art gamut.
EAT: Even if you aren’t staying overnight at Redfish Lake Lodge in Stanley, it’s worth a trip to the resort’s premier dining room, Limbert’s, which touts a chef-driven, locally sourced menu. redfishlake.com/dining/.
STAY: We’d recommend an adventure-filled family outing on a real ranch. Victor’s Linn Canyon Ranch (linncanyonranch.com) sits in the foothills of the Tetons; Twin Peaks Guest Ranch (twinpeaksguestranch.com) is in the Rockies.
SEE: Drive the Beartooth Highway (U.S. Route 212) from Red Lodge to the northeastern entrance point of Yellowstone National Park. You can make a turn onto the Chief Joseph Highway (Wyoming Highway 296). Both scenic routes will show you Montana at its most beautiful. travelwyoming.com.
DO: Yellowstone National Park. It’s the oldest and perhaps the best-known of them all. Get started exploring the options at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit.
EAT: In Billings, try the MT Lake Trout at Fieldhouse (thefieldhousemt.com). The eats are delectable, but the whiskey is the real star at Bozeman’s Copper (coppermontana.com). And in the quirky town of Missoula, don’t miss the meal-and-wine pairings at Plonk (plonkwine.com).
STAY: Gourmet cuisines, fine wines, luxury cabins and guest houses, horseback trips, yoga, and much more: Triple Creek Ranch in Darby is an experience-rich landing spot for those traveling in the Bitterroot Valley. And you can choose from four types of stays — glamping to full luxury — at Philipsburg’s The Ranch at Rock Creek (theranchatrockcreek.com).
DAY TRIP: Fly-fishing in Southeast Montana is next-level, with access to the Bighorn River, Yellowstone River, and other smaller tributaries. Find out more at southeastmontana.com/hunting-fishing.