Missoula: National Bison Range – Part 1 in our Banff & Glacier National Parks Tour
Fortunately for anyone planning a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana the National Bison Range is just under 2 hours south of Kalispell, MT and one hour north of Missoula, MT. If you happen to be traveling to or from Glacier National Park by way of Missoula it is barely a detour.
Even if it isn’t en route, these gentle giants are absolutely worth your time and detour. Particularly for anyone travel to Glacier National Park with a toddler or young child, the National Bison Range is a must do! Our toddler was shouting with excitement during the visit, definitely the happiest she has even been in a car.
For travelers who are short on time or have a slightly crazed toddler in the car I suggest skipping the longer Red Sleep Mountain and sticking to the shorter drives, West Loop and Prairie Drive. We stuck to the shorter loops and were NOT disappointed! Overall, we only spent about an hour in the National Bison Range but had multiple close encounters with buffalo.
The fee to visit the National Bison Range is $5 and I would strongly suggest stopping by the Visitor Center to find out where the latest buffalo spotting is. With that said, we had just spent 12+ hours traveling to Montana and were exhausted and in need of some excitement so we skipped the visitor center and went straight to the West Loop and were immediately greeted by a buffalo. So it is your choice on if you roll the dice or not!
Overall toddler friendly score for the National Bison Range: 9/10
(it loses a point because you are technically in a car although that is definitely the safest way to see a herd of buffaloes milling about freely!)