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Lewistown is at the geographical center of Montana and is a relatively short distance from two of the state’s largest cities: Great Falls and Billings. The town was founded in the late 1800s as the terminus of the Montana Railroad (an offshoot of the more well-known Northern Pacific line) and was the site of a brief gold rush in the nearby Judith Mountains. Following the short-lived gold rush, Lewistown gained considerable fame for the impeccable sapphires found in the Yogo Gulch. Yogo sapphires are considered some of the most beautiful in the world, and several of them can be found in the Smithsonian museums.
While Lewistown lies near the center of the state, it actually sits at the edge of Montana’s populated region. The eastern half of the state has very few towns of substantial size (even by Montana standards) and is mostly farms and wilderness around the Missouri River. This makes Lewistown one of the best places to rent an RV if you’re thinking about exploring this off-the-beaten-path region.
One of the easiest ways to get outside when you choose an RV rental in Lewistown is to hike or bike the city’s trail system. For a town of its size, the trail system is quite extensive, running for over 20 miles between the Fergus County Fairgrounds and its two branches that meet Big Spring Creek to the south of town and run past the airport to the west. Much of the trail system is built on an old Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail bed, so it’s quite flat and great for morning jogs.
Getting an RV rental in Lewistown, Montana is also a great way to see the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, as it’s only a short drive north of town. This section of the river has been protected from development and looks nearly the same as it did when Lewis and Clark traveled through over 200 years ago. Many Montanans like to float the Missouri River during the summer and experience the grandeur of its famed “White Cliffs.”
Another great option for experiencing central Montana’s landscapes is to take a hike in the Big and Little Snowy Mountains in Moore. The mountain range seemly erupts from the plains to provide a welcome forest refuge. One of the forest’s better trails encircles Crystal Lake, an excellent swimming and fishing hole to explore with your Lewistown RV rental.
Finding an RV park equipped with the usual amenities can be a challenge when getting a motorhome rental in Lewistown. However, one of the closest options is the Kiwanis Club Campground on the western edge of town. There are no hookups there, but there is a bathroom and also a drinking water spigot for travelers to use.
There are also two campgrounds relatively close by that are associated with truck stops: the Eddie’s Corner Incorporated Campground and the Little Montana Truck Stop and Campground. Eddie’s Corner is a short distance west of Lewistown at the intersection of Highways 87 and 191 (which runs south between the Little Belt and Little Snowy Mountains) and offers showers and restrooms and full hookups for your travel trailer rental from Lewistown. However, it’s little more than a truck stop with a parking area cordoned off for RV travelers.
The Little Montana Campground is to the east of town, at the foot of the Little Snowy Mountains, and has a few full hookup sites with access to showers and a small grocery store. This could be a good choice if you’re planning on taking trips into Montana’s sparsely populated eastern half with the Lewistown camper rental.
Most visitors to The Treasure State come to spend time in its pristine wilderness spaces, so you might also enjoy one of the rustic campsites in the Little Snowy Mountains south of town. You’ll have a bit of a drive to get back to Lewistown, but the Crystal Lake Campground in the heart of the mountains is one of the nicest places to stay when you rent an RV nearby. There are virtually no amenities besides toilets and drinking water, but you certainly can’t beat the views of Crystal Lake.
One of the more unique experiences to have when you book an RV in Lewistown is the Charlie Russell Chew Choo. The three-hour scenic train ride plots a course through the some of the beautiful landscapes of central Montana and includes a delicious prime rib dinner. If you’re traveling there during the holiday season, they also offer a North Pole-themed ride that is great for the kids.
If you’re interested in learning more about one of Montana’s lesser known communities, head to the Hutterite King Colony Ranch. The Hutterites are a German-speaking group with communal societies similar to the Amish of Pennsylvania. The King Colony ranch conducts tours of the colony’s homes and workshops and teaches visitors about their unique way of life.
For a look at the Native American history of the area, you’ll want to head over to Bear Gulch Pictographs, a massive expanse of rock walls that are covered in petroglyphs. The etchings are very easy to spot and tell fascinating stories of central Montana’s inhabitants before Europeans arrived in the late 1700s.