Visiting Friends Near Big Timber, MT

Big Timber, MT

We left Red Lodge on a sunny Thursday and headed to the northwest for a visit with friends Janna and Michael near Big Timber, MT.  The short (80 mile) trip is filled with great views of snow capped mountains and swiftly flowing rivers and creeks.

Mountains and meadows along MT 421

Crossing the Yellowstone River near Columbus, MT

The Crazy Mountains come into view along I-90

We exited the interstate just east of Big Timber (pop. 1,641) and drove through the town to the Spring Creek Campground and Trout Ranch, located just a couple of miles south of town.  The campground is right along the Boulder River and has two ponds stocked with fish.  We don’t fish but the ponds did provide a nice view from our site.

Swift current in the Boulder River along the campground

Once set up we contacted Janna to let her know that we were on our way to their house.  As we headed south we had a great view of more snowy mountains.

Janna provided us with clear, detailed directions to their house, as it is very isolated and not easily found using GPS.  In her directions she said, “You will think no one can possibly live up here, but we do!”  As we proceeded up the drive we  kept repeating that statement.

Just as she said, at the end of that drive we came to their beautiful home.

Our hosts – Janna, Michael, and Emmi

After a tour of the house we hopped in Janna’s car and headed back out to the main road for a visit to nearby Natural Bridge Falls.   This is a spot along Boulder River where the water has eroded a large hole in the limestone and the water disappears down into it.

The water disappears . . .

After a short distance the water re-emerges, shooting out a large hole before continuing a ways to only disappear again.  In times of heavy flow from snow melt, the amount of water in the river exceeds the capacity of the hole.  The water then flows over the rocks, creating an eighty foot water fall.

. . . then re-appears below the now dry falls . . .

. . . and continues down the canyon which is generally dry

Returning to their home, Janna treated us to a delicious meal.  This is the second time we have tasted her cooking and both meals were excellent!

It rained all the next day so we spent some time exploring the little town of Big Timber.  We especially enjoyed the Crazy Mountain Museum, located at the west end of town.  It contains numerous displays and artifacts depicting the history of the area.

The Crazy Mountain Museum

Cowboy gear display – a must for any decent Montana museum!

Local History

A sheep herder’s summer home

Next up is a visit to Helena, the capitol city of Montana.  More on that later . . .

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14 Responses to Visiting Friends Near Big Timber, MT

  1. TravelBug-Susan says:

    Great read…made me want to see the disappearing river. Gorgeous!

  2. Boy, oh boy, the water is running high this year! I love the name: Crazy Mountains!

  3. Jodee Gravel says:

    The water is really high this year!! Envious you found Janna and Michael home for your visit (and that you got another delicious home-cooked meal). We love that area of Montana. Beautiful pics of the mountains..

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Jodee! It was a real treat to see Michael and Janna’s house, and of course, to see them after a long time. The craftsmanship in their home is amazing. Those two do beautiful work.

  4. Nancy says:

    Oh those Crazy Mountains! But the disappearing river raging had to be a sight to behold.
    Friends are fabulous… especially when they cook wonderful meals!

  5. Sue says:

    I loved seeing the disappearing river and the beautiful countryside you’re traveling through. Nice, bucolic view from the motor home…..

  6. Jim and Barb says:

    Very cool disappearing river! I wonder if anyone has ever went though it and survived. Looks like Janna and Michael have a great place.

  7. Joe Taylor says:

    What a grand treat to see Janna and Michael and Emmi ! I can almost hear the raging river…great photos ! And how cool it is to see a disappearing river that reappears. Love the cowboy gear…

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Joe! It was nice to visit with the three of them and have personal guides for our visit to the falls. The chaps in the cowboy gear room were all so unique.

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