What to Do, Where to Sleep, and What to Eat in Glendive, Montana
Glendive, Montana may be a small town, but it’s a focal point for dinosaur enthusiasts and has some of the most unique scenery in Montana.
Located in the northeast part of Montana, just a short distance from the border of North Dakota, Glendive is predominantly an agricultural hub for those that call it home. For visitors, though, you’re going to be mostly drawn to the state park near Glendive.
We’ll get to that park in a minute, but first, let’s go over some of the top things to do right in the town center of Glendive.
Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
Let’s talk dinosaurs. The area around Glendive is famous in the paleontology world for the many dinosaur bones that have been found in its vicinity.
Some of these fossils can be seen in the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum,which is the largest dinosaur museum in the US. So big that it houses a 49-foot T. Rex skeleton!
As cool as this is, it’s important to note that you won’t find this museum listed on the official Montana Dinosaur Trail. Why? Because this museum focuses on a biblical creationism context for the history of dinosaurs, which isn’t quite what scientists are going to tell you!
Frontier Gateway Museum
A museum that is on the dinosaur trail is the Frontier Gateway Museum. Also, it’s free!
You’ll learn about dinosaurs and much more about Glendive and the surrounding area’s early frontier history and paleontological finds at the Frontier Gateway Museum
This museum may be on the smaller side, but it fits a lot of natural and town history within its walls.
You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time and landed in Montana’s frontier during the early 1900s when you wander around outside on the museum’s property.
The outdoor exhibits consist of a log cabin, one-room schoolhouse, and a sheep wagon. Some original pieces of furniture are in the buildings, which are furnished to reflect the era they hail from.
Inside the museum are more artifacts from centuries past plus more of those dinosaur bones you’re going to keep hearing about in Glendive!
Fun Tip: Pick up a Dinosaur Trail Passport from the Glendive Visitor Center. Each stop along the dinosaur trail has a stamp you can use to mark off your Dinosaur Trail Passport. Kids especially love this!
Walk Across Historic Bell Street Bridge
The Bell Bridge in Glendive was originally built in 1926 as a way for cars to cross the Yellowstone River. It cost $305,000 to build, which was a huge sum of money back then.
For many decades the bridge did its job of helping vehicles cross the river. As roads got busier and cars got larger the bridge was no longer suitable for vehicle traffic.
In 1992, Bell Bridge became a pedestrian and cycling bridge. As a result, walking or bicycling across it is one of the top things to do in Glendive. It provides a peaceful experience as you take in the views of the river and trees.
As you walk across the bridge remember you’re walking across history — the bridge was even added to the National Registrar of Historic Places in 1988.
Agate Hunting by Yellowstone River
One of my favorite pastimes growing up and visiting my grandparents farm in eastern Montana was roaming the gravel roads and dirt trails and looking for agates.
You can become an agate hunter too in Glendive thanks to its proximity to the Yellowstone River, where the river beds often play host to moss agate rocks.
World-Class Fishing in Glendive
The Bighorn River is another river that flows by Glendive and it’s a great place to cast a line and try some fly fishing while in Glendive. If you’re lucky you’ll catch one of the blue ribbon trouts that are often in the flowing water.
Another popular fishing season in Glendive is Paddlefishing. In late May and June, many fishing fanatics will come to Glendive to try to catch the large (and kinda crazy looking fish that has a lineage tracing back to the prehistoric era!) paddlefish as the fish makes its way up the Yellowstone River. A prime place to try to catch one is at the Intake Diversion Dam near Glendive.
If you don’t catch one, you can still head into town and see if there’s some Yellowstone Caviar for sale — it’s made from paddlefish roe!
If you’re looking for some more conventional fishing, head to the lakes in Glendive.
Montana isn’t that known for its lakes (though we sure do love Flathead, Swan, and Lake McDonald!), but Glendive has six lakes ripe for fishing. In the lakes you might catch brown trout or smallmouth bass.
Important Note: Remember that you’ll need the proper fishing license for the type of fishing you’ll be doing while in Glendive. You can get a fishing license through Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks either online or by mail or from a Fish, Wildlife, and Parks office.
Makoshika State Park
And now for the main thing to do if you’re heading to Glendive: Makoshika State Park, the largest state park in Montana.
Many of the dinosaur bones and fossils you’ll see around Glendive (and museums in the rest of the country!) were found within the grounds of Makoshika State Park, and it’s believed there are still more out there waiting to be discovered.
Ten different dinosaur species have been uncovered in Makoshika State Park. You will literally be walking where dinosaurs once did.
The rocks you see are even left over from the Cretaceous period. These rocks have an interesting, barren appearance that gives the park the nickname of Montana’s Badlands.
A great hike to do in Makoshika State Park is the Diane Gabriel Trail. It’s a steep, but short (just under a mile) trail that takes you to the remains of a dinosaur fossil while also providing you with great views of the Montana Badlands.
Another can’t-miss hike that’s quick with a great payoff is the Twin Sisters Hike, a moderately difficult half-mile hike that takes you to an impressive rock structure that has a couple long vertical towers with rounded tops.
For a longer hike, head to the 4.4-mile Gunners Ridge Trail to Hungry Joe Overlook, which changes from moderate to challenging as you make your way through coulees and uphill to the impressive overlook.
Important Note: When hiking in Makoshika State Park, bring plenty of water and don’t forget the sunscreen since there isn’t much shade. Stop in the visitor center to ask the park rangers for safety tips on hiking amidst the snakes and wildlife that live in the park.
Another reason not to miss walking through the Makoshika State Park visitor center is the dinosaur exhibit it houses. The exhibit will tell you more about the park and its dinosaur history through interpretive displays. The visitor center also houses a recently unearthed triceratops skull that you won’t want to miss seeing.
Where to Eat in Glendive
After exploring Makoshika State Park, you’ll no doubt be ready to eat. Some top places to eat in Glendive include:
The Gust Hauf: The Gust Hauf is a fun sports bar that has been around since 1965. It’s known for its delicious brick-oven baked pizza and microbrews on tap. Address: 300 W Bell Street
Bloom & Vine: In addition to having an adorable name, this cute cafe has yummy breakfast and dinner with gourmet coffee before switching into a wine bar in the evening. It’s located in the historic Glendive Greenhouse. Address: 209 Gibson Street
And as we mentioned before, if you can try some of the Yellowstone Caviar, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try one of Montana’s unique food items! You can find it for retail sale at the Glendive Chamber of Commerce. Address: 808 N Merrill
Where to Sleep in Glendive, Montana
Spending a night or two (or more) in Glendive? Smart move! It will give you so much time to explore the dinosaur trail sights and Makoshika State Park without feeling rushed. Here are two good options for where to rest your head at night in Glendive:
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites: This highly rated hotel has an indoor pool, continental breakfast, and is in walking distance to the Frontier Gateway Museum. The suites are a good option for families traveling through Glendive.
Astoria Hotel & Suites: Astoria is a local chain that has two hotels in Glendive, MT and Dickinson, ND, so it has some Montana flair. Plus it has continental breakfast, and indoor pool, and a large outdoor with grills available to use. It’s also great for families and in the center of town.
Yellowstone River Inn: For more of a local vibe on a budget, stay at the Yellowstone River Inn. It’s an older motel, but the rooms are clean and comfortable with a friendly staff. There is an onsite restaurant and casino.
Enjoy your time in Glendive, MT!
Found this article on things to do in Glendive helpful? Pin to easily read again later!