Along the Interstate 90 and US Route 287 highways lies Three Forks, a city in the state of Montana. Its unique name comes from its location which is perfectly situated on the point where the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison Rivers meet to form the Missouri River, the longest river in North America. It’s a nature lover’s paradise due to the scenery brought by these rivers and the various state parks in its vicinity. Much history also surrounds Three Forks and these are again closely intertwined with the three rivers. They say that wherever a river is, there is sure to be life around it. And that’s what Three Forks is all about - enjoying life through its many recreational activities. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Three Forks, Montana.
1. See the magnificent Bleu Horses
A few minutes drive up north of Three Forks, you will find a hillside with a herd of horses on it. But you’ll be surprised to find out that these aren’t real horses - they’re actually sculptures made of steel! 39 horses are spread throughout the hillside in a life-like manner that will make people look twice before realizing they’re not real. The artist behind this gem of a structure is Jim Dolan, a sculptor who specializes in metal carvings and uses perspective as his way of telling the story of his artworks. It’s a wonderful and unique experience you should definitely check out!
Address: 10493 US-287, Three Forks, MT 59752, USA
Website: Bleu Horses
2. Go shopping for local produce at Three Forks Market & RV Park
Three Forks Market & RV Park is the go-to place for anyone who wishes to find the best local produce in Three Forks. The market offers only quality and fresh products like deli, meats, fruits, vegetables, liquor, and your everyday general merchandise. They even have a quaint little gift shop that sells gifts and souvenirs of Montana. They’re most famous for their fried chicken and sandwiches over at their deli. In addition to the market, the RV park is just next door and it gives visitors a lovely mountain view while camping.
Three Forks Market & RV Park
Address: 510 MT-2, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Three Forks Market & RV Park
Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)
3. Learn about the town's history and culture at Headwaters Heritage Museum
Run and operated by the Three Forks Area Historical Society which is a non-profit organization, the Headwaters Heritage Museum was built to tell the story of Three Forks and the area of Missouri River Headwaters. It allows visitors to learn and study the history and culture of the area. There are unique artifacts from an anvil to a canoe and several Native American items. The second-floor houses displays of old-fashioned homes and shops distinct to the area of Three Forks. The Society also welcomes members who wish to be a part of their mission in preserving the history of Three Forks.
Headwaters Railroad and Trident Heritage Center
Address: 19 First Ave E, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 3pm
Price: Free, but donations are welcome
4. Fill your tummies with comfort food at Three Forks Cafe
For your comfort food cravings, the best place to go is Three Forks Cafe, a quaint little coffee shop that provides a warm and family-friendly atmosphere. They have favorites like burgers, pancakes, bacon strips, french toast, sandwiches, pies–you name it, they probably have it. The ambiance of the place is what people love the most though because many families go and have their meals at Three Forks Cafe. There’s even a lovely patio for those who prefer outdoor seating. Their Facebook page is constantly being updated with their available deals of the day so check that out as well.
Three Forks Cafe
Address: 105 S Main St, Three Forks, MT, United States
Website: Three Forks Cafe
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 5:30am - 8pm; Sun: 7am - 2pm
5. Play a round of golf at Headwaters Public Golf Course
For the golfers and golf enthusiasts, Headwaters Public Golf Course will surely be a favorite stop of yours. The nine-hole course prides itself as the best in Montana and is the reason a lot of people from nearby towns come over to play golf. The layout of the golf course is quite challenging with rolling hills and ponds and this gives people reason to keep coming back. Be on the lookout on their Facebook page for their announcements and upcoming golf events and tournaments!
Headwaters Public Golf Course
Address: 225 N 7th Ave E, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Headwaters Public Golf Course
6. Camp in the heart of the mountains at Three Forks Campground
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Experience the ultimate nature camping trip at Three Forks Campground. More commonly known as Camp Three Forks, the campsite is adorned with big shady trees and nice trails to give it a more countryside feel. Visitors may choose whether to camp in an RV or a tent; either way, the experience and service remain the same. The staff has been mentioned to be really friendly and helpful, and they have clean showers and a laundry area for its amenities. Plus there’s even a little store on site for essentials you may need during your stay.
Three Forks Campground
Address: 15 KOA Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752, USA
Website: Three Forks Campground
7. Visit the beautiful and iconic Missouri Headwaters State Park
Perhaps the very heart of Three Forks is the famous Missouri Headwaters State Park. This marks the start of the Missouri River, the longest river in North America. This is where you can find the Three Forks of the Missouri National Historic Landmark also known as the campsite where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first landed in 1806. Lewis and Clark were the first white explorers to cross the Western lands of the United States. The park is also home to the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers, a true wonder of nature. There are several campsites and hiking trails at the park, fit for a trip worth remembering.
Missouri Headwaters State Park
Address: 1585 Trident Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Missouri Headwaters State Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Price: From 6 USD
8. Be intrigued by the peculiar collection at Jim's Horn House
“Antler Man” Jim Phillips has a strange and delicate hobby - he collects antlers. As of writing, he has over 16,000 antlers in his collection and he houses them in a shed in Three Forks. Keep in mind that he does not kill nor go hunting for the antlers; instead, he goes hiking in the hills and woods to look for antlers that were already shed by various deer, moose, and elk. It’s a tough job but his commitment to having organic and authentic antlers instead of simply purchasing one is what makes it fulfilling. Another peculiar factor about his collection is that he will only give the address of the location only when you send him an email (available on his website)!
Jim's Horn House
Address: Available upon request
Website: Jim’s Horn House
9. Take a hike up at Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
Located on the top of a valley above Madison River is Madison Buffalo Jump State Park. It’s a special kind of park thanks to the historical purpose behind it. The site used to be a buffalo jump, a cliff formation that was used by Native Americans to hunt and slaughter buffalos, then called bison. Not much has changed in the cliff formation and archaeologists have discovered dozens of bison bones as well as tipi rings in the area. Today, people hike up to this area to not only admire the view but to learn and appreciate the cultural and historical significance of the place.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
Address: 6990 Buffalo Jump Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
Price: From 6 USD
10. Savor homemade American favorites at Iron Horse Cafe & Pie Shop
Iron Horse Cafe & Pie Shop is a relatively new restaurant having only opened last January 2018. Nevertheless, it has quickly become a local favorite of many who have tried the place. Everything on the menu is homemade and made with the freshest local ingredients. Best sellers include American favorites biscuits and gravy, the bison burger and of course, their homemade pies. The delicious pies are what make people come back for more. On top of that, add superb customer service hence it’s no wonder people keep flocking to this lovely little diner and cafe.
Iron Horse Cafe & Pie Shop
Address: 24 N Main St, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Iron Horse Cafe & Pie Shop
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 9pm
11. Enjoy skydiving with DZONE Skydiving
Experience the ultimate thrill by going skydiving with DZONE Skydiving. The way they handle the activity and their guests are very professional. First-timers will get to enjoy the experience and at the same time feel the safety of being in “tandem” with their instructor. From the time you jump off the plane until your parachute comes out before landing, it will only take five minutes - perhaps the most exciting five minutes of your life. Aside from the thrill, you will get to experience beautiful sights and views from the best seat in the house - up in the air.
Address: 1680 3 Forks Airport Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: DZONE Skydiving
Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 8am - 8pm (closed from Mon - Wed)
Price: Around 300 USD
12. Grab a good bite and cold beer at Frontier Club
Enjoy a fun night out with your friends at Frontier Club. It’s a restaurant and bar in Three Forks most famous for their burgers, which many say are the best in town! The service is also spot-on and very friendly which adds to the cool ambiance of the place. For more fun, Frontier Club also has darts, pool, and video poker. The restaurant is open until late so you won’t run out of excuses to go and try their delicious food.
Address: 213 S Main St, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Frontier Club
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (daily)
13. Have a classy dinner date at Pompey's Grill
Located in Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, Pompey’s Grill is a fine-dining steakhouse popular for its certified Angus steaks grilled to perfection on a wood smoke grill. Apart from steaks, their menu also offers fine selections of seafood, pork, and chicken. After dinner, why not order a cocktail by their bar, which was made from reclaimed timber from the Lucin Cutoff railroad near the Great Salt Lake. Add the food selections with the sophisticated set-up of the restaurant and you have yourself a perfect dinner date!
Address: Sacajawea Hotel, 5 N Main St, Three Forks, MT 59752, United States
Website: Pompey’s Grill
Opening hours: Wed - Thu: 4:30pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 4:30pm - 10pm; Sun: 4pm - 9pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
14. Admire the scenery at Missouri Headwaters Campground
Somewhere by the Madison River, you will stumble upon the Missouri Headwaters Campground. It’s a simple camping site with a lovely host to help you with anything you need. It’s a great place to stop over and just spend the night in the arms of nature. Here you’ll get to enjoy scenic views of the valleys and the Madison River, plus if you’re lucky you may even spot a rabbit or two! Be mindful though because there tends to be a swarm of mosquitoes, although this should be expected since the site is located by the river.
Missouri Headwaters Campground
Address: Three Forks, MT 59752, USA
15. Sample the nightlife at Plaza Bar
Three Forks is a small town but it does have nightlife. One of the best places to experience this is at Plaza Bar. Here they serve the best and popular beers and drinks for you and your friends to enjoy. While having a drink or bottle in your hand, add to the fun by playing a round of pool or darts. Or you can catch a sports match with your buddies. Whatever you prefer, one thing’s for sure, Plaza Bar is sure to give you nothing but great and fun memories!
Address: 204 N Main St., Three Forks, MT 59752 USA
Website: Plaza Bar
Opening hours: 10am - 2am (daily)
Experience Three Forks, Montana
Three Forks is a special place because of its location and the history that goes with it. The scenic views from the state parks, the quirky destinations, and amazing food selections will definitely make you want to come and visit this beautiful town. Next time you’re in Montana, make sure to make a stop at Three Forks to experience a different kind of trip!
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