Best Things to Do, See, Eat, and Drink in Lewistown, MT + Where to Sleep
If you want to get reacquainted with the great outdoors ( or continue your relationship with it), Lewistown, Montana is an excellent place to do so.
Many of the top things to do in Lewistown are outdoors. The nature and surrounding scenery combined with Lewistown’s location in the center of Montana provides a great introduction to the western way of life in Montana.
Getting to Lewistown, Montana
To understand that scenery, you first need to understand where Lewistown is. The small city is nestled in the sprawling Judith Basin of Montana with views of five different mountain ranges: the Snowies, the Judiths, the Moccasins, the Belts, and the Highwoods.
Highway 87 and Hwy 191 intersect at Lewistown, making it an easy exit on a Montana road trip.
Lewistown is just over a 2.5-hour drive northeast from Bozeman, and is two hours northwest of Billings.
Must-Do and Must-See Things in Lewistown, MT
Now for all the top things to do and see during your trip to Lewistown, Montana!
Historic Sites in Lewistown
Definitely don’t miss doing a walking tour of downtown Lewistown to see buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Sites. This includes the streets making up the Silk Stocking and Central Business Districts, where you’ll see historic homes and old factory buildings.
Here are some sites you don’t want to miss seeing during your amble around downtown Lewistown:
Silk Stockings District: This small district covers four acres and showcases some of Lewistown’s most beautiful historic homes. They were built in the early 1900s when Lewistown was experiencing a great prosperity boom from the mining industry. You’ll see homes built in the Roman Revival and Georgian styles.
Central Business District: This district also dates back to the early 1900s. While the Silk Stocking District is more about the historic homes, the Central Business District is about the history of the businesses and markets that once stood in this area. The buildings are known for high-quality stonemasonry work done by Croatian stonemasons who came to Montana. Don’t miss the Mackey Building, Armory Hall, but if you just keep walking down Main Street, you’ll see most of the prominent sights here.
Courthouse Square: The Courthouse Square District is where you’ll find the stately Fergus County Courthouse as well as City Hall and the beautiful sandstone Lewistown Carnegie Library.
Judith Place: This neighborhood gives you a taste of how the middle class lived in Montana in the 1910s and 1920s. It was a planned development, which was innovative at the time and features a variety of lovely Craftsman-style homes. The Judith Place Historic District is located north of Main Street.
Central Montana Museum
You’ll learn about the history of Central Montana starting from the 1870s when it first started to be settled through to recent times. On collection are a number of memorabilia pieces that showcase a moment in time from Lewistown and the rest of Central Montana’s past.
While walking around the museum you’ll learn about the Homesteading Acts of 1862 and 1909 that largely affected how Central Montana was developed, as well as early local businessmen and the role agriculture has played in the region.
Art Scene in Lewistown
The Lewistown Art Center is conveniently located on Main Street and is a great place to head if you love arts and crafts. The onsite gallery features works by local artists. At the gift shop, you can find unique souvenirs created by local artisans, including ceramics, jewelry, paintings, photography, prints, woodworking, and much more.
Also check the schedule for art workshops at the center while you’re in town. You might be able to pick up a new artsy skill while in Lewistown!
Big Spring Trout Hatchery
While in Lewistown you can’t miss a jaunt down Hwy 466 to see the Big Spring Trout Hatchery, which is located 7 miles south of Lewistown.
The hatchery is the biggest cold water trout hatchery in the state. Visitors can come and see the different stages of the trout hatchery process, which varies depending on the time of year.
Fishing in Lewistown, MT
Now that we’ve talked about creeks and trout, that easily leads us to our next thing to do in Lewistown: Fishing! Lewistown is known as a blue ribbon trout fishing destination and attracts anglers from all over.
Lewistown is a great place to try your hand at fly fishing thanks to the awesome fly fishing conditions found at Big Spring Creek, a spring-fed creek that runs through the middle of Lewistown and eventually connects with Judith River.
Chest waders are recommended if you go fly fishing in Big Spring Creek, which you can rent from local fly fishing shops along with other equipment.
Even in winter you can do some fishing in Lewistown. Popular spots for ice fishing are Acley Lake Carter’s Pond, both places where you might catch a large trout.
You can also check out ice fishing at Hanson Creek Dam and East Fork Dam if visiting Lewistown in winter.
Snowmobiling Near Lewistown
Another fun Montana winter activity you can do in Lewistown is snowmobiling. The countryside and mountain climate around Lewistown combine to make epic snowmobiling conditions.
A great place to go snowmobiling near Lewistown is Judith Gap, located a short drive southwest of Lewistown.
Judith Gap gets its name because it’s located in the gap between the Little Belt and Snowy Mountains. In addition to terrain perfect for snowmobiling, you’ll enjoy awe-inspiring mountain views.
Snowmobiling is also popular in the Big Snowy Mountains by Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake isn’t just for winter sports. In the warmer months, this lovely lake near Lewistown is a great spot for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and swimming.
It’s recommended to go paddling on the lake before mid-July since after that the water levels increase. Prior to that the waters are lowered for irrigation.
Later in the summer, you can just take a leisurely swim to cool off from hot summer temps that escalate in July and August.
Before your swim, work up a sweat on the 8-mile there-and-back hike to the Grandview Trail Lookout. You’ll find the trailhead on the southern end of the lake; look for markers pointing to trail #403.
From the top of the trail, you’ll have incredible views of Crystal Lake and beyond to the nearby Judith and Little Belt mountain ranges.
Crystal Lake is also home to a campground run by the forest service, which has restrooms and picnic tables.
Lewis and Clark Trail
Follow part of the Lewis and Clark Trail north of Lewistown at Judith Landing. This public access site lets you actually traverse a part of the trail that Lewis and Clark did during their expedition so many years ago.
If you don’t mind driving a bit while in Lewistown, take advantage of being in the area and head 27 miles southeast of Lewistown to the Beargulch Pictographs site.
Beargulch Pictographs is a beautiful park-like area that consists of wide open spaces and canyon walls that have incredible prehistoric pictographs and petroglyphs carved into the wall.
Beargulch is located on a private ranch and advanced reservations and a release form is required to tour. You can learn more about the tour and make reservations at beargulch.net.
Scenic Drive Along the Charles M. Russell Trail
The stretch of Highway 87 that has been bestowed the moniker “Charles M. Russell Trail” goes right through Lewistown. This roughly 100-mile section of the highway is so named because it features much of the scenery depicted in Russell’s paintings.
Russell passed away in 1926, but before he did, he became one of the most prominent Montana painters of all time for his beautiful and real-to-life depictions of Montana.
To learn more about Russell, spend an hour or two in Great Falls at the end of the route to check out the Charles M. Russell museum before continuing the drive back back to Lewistown.
If you don’t want to go as far as Great Falls, you can just do the loop portion of the drive; the C.M. Russell Auto Tour loops around the eastern countryside from Lewistown, going through Windham and Hobson and down into the Little Belt Mountains.
Read More: Epic Scenic Drives in Montana
Eat Some Yummy Pie
Try a pie at Brooks Market & Deli in Lewistown. This popular eatery is known for its daily selection of pies that are so delicious Brooks Market & Deli has even been added to Central Montana’s “Pie Trail.”
Charlie Russell Chew Choo
Another dining experience not to be missed while in Lewistown — especially if you have kids — is the Charlie Russell Chew Choo.
It’s a dinner train experience that leaves from Lewistown and travels north through gorgeous scenery while you feast on a Prime Rib dinner at a white-clothed table in the wide train cars.
The experience lasts four hours and along the way, you’ll see wildlife, pass through ghost towns, and go through a 2,104-foot tunnel!
Sip a Local Pint at Big Spring Brewing
Big Spring Brewing is a local craft brewery in Lewistown that embraces its Montana roots. The beers feature Montana-grown barley and is made with water from nearby mountain springs.
You can find the beers on tap next door to the brewery (which is located in the historic Central Feed Mercantile Building in the Central Business District) at Central Feed Grilling Company (also a great place for dinner!).
If on tap while you’re in town, try the popular Crystal Pale Ale or the locally-inspired Chokecherry Honey Light Lager.
Where to Stay in Lewistown, Montana
Lewistown is home to some unique places to stay in Montana. Here are three of our top picks for where to rest your head for a night (or longer) in Lewistown, MT.
Judith Mountain Lodge
If you’re looking for a rustic vibe with some modern touches, head to Judith Mountain Lodge in Lewistown. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a cabin, but instead you’ll be in a lodge room (unless you’re staying in the cabin or rustic sleepwagon by the lodge!) where you’re steps away from dining and drinks and even live music on some nights.
Making your stay even more fun is that each room has a theme, such as Lewis and Clark, hunting, yogo sapphires, and more.
Judith Mountain Lodge is located six miles from the downtown area of Lewistown, making it perfect for those looking to be in nature while still being able to easily partake in all the top things to do in Lewistown city center.
Centrally located, Yogo Inn provides modern rooms with onsite amenities such as a restaurant, heated indoor pool, and a pretty outdoor courtyard. From Yogo Inn, you can walk to many of the downtown sites and attractions in Lewistown.
The Calvert Hotel
This is a historic hotel with charming, updated rooms and a beautiful lobby (check out that gorgeous tile). A grab and go breakfast is included in your stay.
Enjoy Your Time in Lewistown
You might find yourself wanting to stay longer than a night or two to soak in all that Lewistown has to offer.
While this Things to Do in Lewistown travel guide includes some of our top picks for what to do in Lewistown, you’ll also find other quintessential Montana activities in and around the city, such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.
Head to Lewistown and get ready for an unforgettable Montana vacation!
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