bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background
One night in Great Falls, MT–Big Trip #4

One night in Great Falls, MT–Big Trip #4

We visited Great Falls on Labor Day, 2022, as part of Big Trip #4.

Edited because apparently I’ve offended people: We were in town for less than a day, so obviously we don’t know the town at all or what it’s like to live there. This is a travel blog, and all I do is write about our personal experience when passing through a location. In Great Falls our goal was to relax with a good beer and some tasty food after a long day of travel, and we were mostly unsuccessful.

Campground

a stray toilet in our campground in Great Falls
this is the only picture we have from our campground

We stayed at Great Falls RV Park, which doesn’t have much character, but the new owner is delightful so things should improve.

One plus: there’s a Smith’s Food and Drug–a big Kroger relative–close to the campground.

Be sure to get gas early if driving from Medora because there’s not much of anything on the way to Great Falls.

Around town

downtown Great Falls, MT
downtown Great Falls

Great Falls has some neat architecture downtown, but the businesses inside the pretty buildings aren’t all that compelling to tourists.

running the Rivers Edge Trail in Great Falls
running with my camera on the River’s Edge Trail

The best thing we did in Great Falls was run the River’s Edge Trail from downtown along the river. It’s a very nicely done multi-use trail stretching almost 60 miles along the Missouri River.

Beer

J had earmarked two breweries in Great Falls.

Jeremiah Johnson Brewing comes up on Google maps, but they only have a production facility in Great Falls. Turns out the tasting room is in Coeur D’Alene, which isn’t apparent from their website.

Bugsy and beers at Mighty Mo in Great Falls
beer, and beer cocktail? at Mighty Mo

After driving around trying to figure out the deal with Jeremiah Johnson, we parked at Mighty Mo Brewpub downtown. The bustling patio is dog friendly, an encouraging sign, but we didn’t enjoy our beers or the behavior from a nearby table.

Food

We had hoped for dinner at Enbär Craft Cocktail Lounge, but we walked over there to find out that they were closed for Labor Day.

sushi to go from Kobe in Great Falls
sushi to go from a small town in a landlocked state

So instead we got take out sushi from Kobe, which was fine.

Things we would have liked to have done but they were closed for Labor Day:

bridge over the Missouri in Great Falls

(other than check out Enbär)

To give some historical perspective to our journey out west, I’m re-reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, about Lewis and Clark’s big adventure. Great Falls, being the place L&C spent the most time other than winter quarters, has a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which was unfortunately closed on Labor Day.

The Great Falls of the Missouri are best viewed from Ryan Island Park. I would have scooted over there in the morning if we weren’t in such a rush to get the heck out of Dodge.

Our next stop made everything better: East Glacier Park Village!

Comments

18 responses to “One night in Great Falls, MT–Big Trip #4”

  1. Uncle Jim Avatar
    Uncle Jim

    Hubby is right about Great Falls. Won’t go into detail here but sometime I’ll tell you about part of my 1962 summer spent in Great Falls cutting timber and trying to survive eating other peoples left over French fries and numerous other disquieting adventures. Suffice it to say I wouldn’t go back got all the trees in Montana. Good to hear you’re doing well in la la land. Stay safe out there

    1. bugsy Avatar

      I can’t wait to hear more about this!!! You had the most random adventures!!!!

  2. Don Avatar
    Don

    It’s just my opinion number one u should have stayed out at the Koa great campground but I live here and I never did understand y a lot of places are closed on holiday I would think that is A opportunity to make money sorry to here your stay was disappointing

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi Don, thanks for the comment! We’ll look at the KOA next time we come through!

  3. Ct Avatar
    Ct

    Keep writing we prefer it that way bad comments. Make sure noone of your caliber comes here and preferably doesnt moves here. Seems to be when out of state folks move here they want to change thing to the way thing are in the place they moved from or in you case visiting from. We like it just fine without ya.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi Ct! Thanks for the comment! I don’t want to change anything! I just didn’t want to sit on a chair that had baby feces on it. I respect that a tourist passing through for a night really knows nothing about what a town is really like! I’m just reporting on our experience in a quick visit.

  4. B Avatar
    B

    Having lived in GTF Montana most of my life it still amazes me how many people thing this spot is Aspen or central California. Unfortunately we are not, we are an agricultural center located on the high plains. Regarding the chair with the baby being changed, after a recent trip to California and seeing people pooping on the sidewalk please you can stay there and please don’t come back

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi B, I am not interested in human feces in any location! I am just looking for a good beer and tasty food after a long day of travel!

  5. B Thompson Avatar
    B Thompson

    I appreciate that you took the time to write about your visit to Great Falls Montana. I’m originally from California and relocated to Great Falls in 2003. I have come to appreciate the cost of living, the commitment of community and business leaders to improve the quality of life and the peacefulness of the landscape. The history is rich here, the school system is 2nd to none and the people here are supportive and loyal.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Thank you for your comment, B! I know there are wonderful things in Great Falls and am glad to hear about your experience!

  6. Jim Avatar
    Jim

    I don’t live in Gt Falls BUT this was one of the poorest pieces of (?) journalism I’ve read. Everything is negative and what’s wrong with being closed on a holiday? No need to be open only for your convenience.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi Jim, it’s not all negative, I liked the riverside trail!

  7. Nate Avatar
    Nate

    Hi, Great Falls native here.
    Couple quick recommendations for those who might read this and be planning a trip out:
    -Always try and research beforehand, see what’s open on holidays and what spots are recommended.
    -In Montana, in-town campgrounds are alright (and by that I mean kind of sketchy), but your best bet for a good experience is a spot in the forest where it’s far prettier and you can actually enjoy the benefits of camping. Otherwise, to be honest, your best bet is getting an Airbnb.
    -Places with fancier “metropolitan” exteriors like enbar… Look, it’s not a bad spot, but you’re not going to get what it’s advertising. Far better to head over to the Bar-S, or the Roadhouse, heck Borrie’s is a better bet for a dinner. Tracy’s and Electric City Coffee are nice too.
    -Ask a local if you’re looking for a decent bar, brewery, or similar. Steinhouse, Elevation, 5th and Wine, Kellergeist… Start with those
    -You’re always going to find obnoxious parents, whether it’s in Great Falls or Seattle. Try and not let individuals color your experience of a city too much, or you’ll just wind up soured on the whole thing. If you start with a nose-up view, you’ll wind up missing a lot.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi Nate, this is a wonderful comment and I really appreciate you taking the time to write it. Thank you for the insight and recommendations!

  8. Brandie Avatar
    Brandie

    Hi there, I lived in Great Falls my entire adult life until 3 years ago. I had to relocate because of all the casinos and an issue with him. It’s interesting to hear somebody’s perspective from out of town. I do appreciate the last post when somebody said to check with the locals. Had you got recommendations for them I think you would have had a much better experience. One place I wish you would have been able to go to his giant springs. It’s a beautiful Park that doesn’t close because it’s a park and if that is actually home to the shortest river in the world. It’s in the Guinness Book of World records. It’s called the Roe river. Borries or the 3-D International would have been excellent excellent places to have dinner. The 3D International is home to an all you can eat Mongolian grill. I had a girlfriend who was in the military and traveled all over the world and said the best one she ever had was there. A lot of them just serve chicken or beef. Ours has chicken, beef, foul, shrimp, almost anything you can think of. And the grill fries your food up right there in front of you. It’s really an experience. Another spot that Great Falls Montana is known for is actually the number one hotspot in the United States of america. You never would have known it driving through the city I’m sure. It’s called the Sip and dip. It is a tiki bar that is downtown and it’s Sports a giant glass window behind the bar and behind it a real live mermaid swims around. It is an absolute wonderful place, with great Ambiance and I’ve never had a bad time there. If you ever go through Great Falls again try some of those places and I think your experience will be much better. The sippendip was actually featured in GQ Magazine more than once and it was number one in top 10 more than one time.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Thank you for the insight, Brandie! This is great info and is sure to help people plan a visit to Great Falls!

  9. T.M Avatar
    T.M

    Having lived here since I was 12 I can say Great Falls is definitely a place of its own. One thing that is often overlooked is that as Great Falls residents. Our houses are here but our hearts are on the rivers and streams. Our souls are are in the mountains and on the trails. On Holidays (especially the last holiday before the cold sets in. Which is labor day.) We take the opportunity to be a part of pir environment. Great Falls isn’t entertaining because the it’s just a spot for us to prepare for Montana.
    I also want to point out that you’ve come during a very bad economic time for this community. We’ve been inundated by workers for the refinery while we were already in the midst of a housing crisis. People are living in cars and not by choice in old hunting campers and RVs.1 bed 1 bath apartments run for 1600.00 when just last year they were 900 and the year before 600.00 the mood of this town has been set by greed and extreme poverty. This used to be a lovely place. Now it’s homelessness, addiction and expensive.

    1. bugsy Avatar

      Hi TM, thanks for the comment and for the insight into Great Falls. I hope things improve for the city and you are able to continue enjoying the beautiful rivers and mountains! There is so much beauty in Montana!

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