From unexpected recreation areas to pre-historic fossils, there’s a lot for visitors to Glendive to find. If you’re coming to explore Montana’s Badlands, Glendive is the perfect base from which to see this unique region of the country, but don’t discount getting to know the town itself while you’re in town.
While you’ll find no shortage of places to see dinosaur bones, go fishing in the Yellowstone River, or explore the local flora and fauna, you can also poke around Glendive’s quaint Downtown.
If you’ve never been, here are a few places, free activities, and the best things to do in Glendive while you’re there.
10 Best Things To Do In Glendive, Montana
1. Frontier Gateway Museum
With information and several immersive displays full of original pieces dating from as far back as the mid-1800, the Frontier Gateway Museum aims to tell the story of the settlers who relocated to the area.
With a total of seven buildings on an acre of land, there’s a lot to see here including dinosaur fossils, examples of period clothing and furniture, and even suits of armor.
2. Baische’s Dinosaur Digs
One of the most immersive experiences on Montana’s dinosaur trail, Baische’s Dinosaur Digs incorporates educational presentations about geology and paleontology with a half or full day of hunting for fossils.
After the knowledgeable staff instructs you on the basics of unearthing fossils, you are invited to go fossil hunting on their privately owned ranch. You get to keep the fossils you find, which makes an excellent souvenir.
3. Makoshika State Park
Encompassing some of the most scenic parts of Montana’s Badlands, Makoshika State Park is one of the best places in the country to see fossilized dinosaurs.
This otherworldly landscape – that many visitors liken to walking on Mars – is so unique because they not only were ideal conditions for preserving fossils, but the specific geological makeup in the area yields itself perfectly to unearthing them.
The result is one of the most consistently bountiful resources for fossils of all kinds, including dinosaurs.
4. The Gallery
Preserving the rich artistic history of Glendive and the surrounding region, The Gallery showcases works of photography, painting, sculpture, and more. They focus on promoting local artists but are also on a mission to support up-and-comers: their educational arts programs are incredibly robust considering Glendive’s size. If you’d like to take a piece of Glendive home with you, they have a wide variety of pieces for sale.
5. Savor a Montanan Meal
The restaurant culture in Glendive is simple: quality food that people love at prices that folks can afford.
While you may not find haute cuisine during your stay in town, you’re likely to find more than one comfortable, delicious restaurant where you can feel comfortable taking a load off and making a few new friends.
Right off I94, CC’s is a Glendive institution. Beginning with breakfast service at 6 am, they keep serving lovingly prepared meals through dinner, every day. As the name would suggest, this is the perfect place to bring the whole family: the prices are exceptionally reasonable and the food tastes homemade, as in, made with love.
This slick sports bar serves up brick-oven pizzas alongside a vast selection of rotating local craft beers. While the bar is popular – and the perfect place to catch a game while you’re in town – the Gust-Hauf is also somewhere you’re welcome to bring the whole family for a quality meal. A long-time favorite among Glendivites, the Gust-Hauf has been around since 1965.
Billed as “Glendive’s original brewery,” Cross Country Brewing is a distributing brewery in Glendive, but they also have a small, but formidable taproom. You can stop in to try a flight of their current offerings, or grab a growler to take home with you.
6. Browse Local Goods
Glendive’s retail offerings are quite varied and surprisingly sophisticated for such a small town. Many of the local businesses here are much more specialized than you may imagine a city of its size could support, but this is a welcome surprise for visitors.
With so many unique things available, you’ll be sure to find something interesting to take home with you.
This Glendive boutique carries a wide selection of well-curated clothing at very affordable prices. They offer clothing for men, women, and children, as well as shoes and accessories. This is a hyper-local operation, with goods and clothing perfect for the Montanan climate.
This charming boutique sells artful basics perfect for life in the wild west. While the selection feels contemporary and fresh, a definitively rustic feel permeates the clothing offerings here. You’ll also find beauty and skincare items, as well as accessories, homewares, and gifts.
The retail outlet of the Farm to Table Co-op, the Farm to Table store carries a mix of locally and regionally sourced foods and snacks, with a focus on organic, unprocessed, and unpackaged foods. They also sell many locally produced preserves, honey, pickles, and other assorted items that make perfect gifts or souvenirs from your trip.
7. Check Out the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
The Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum is a private dinosaur museum in Glendive with a twist. Operated as a non-profit organization, the museum offers an interesting take not only on the dinosaurs that walked the earth but also on the way it is linked in with the creation theory and the great flood.
The philosophy of the museum is displayed openly in a religious context, and the facility features about 25 comprehensive dinosaur displays as well as some unique fossils. The institute has received criticism and has been largely shunned by the scientific and paleolithic communities who don’t hold with the same theories.
Some people love the place for its comprehensive and expansive displays, while others will see it as an attempt by a religious group to profit from the fossils in the region while preaching what they might believe to be untruths as they go against the current mainstream thinking taught through science.
The museum has a huge dinosaur erupting out of the front of the building, and the dinosaur exhibits are impressive enough. Each display gives consideration to what life might be like during this particular era.
The museum is worth it for the fossils alone if you are a dinosaur fan, and their exhibits include full skeletons of T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and quite a few more.
There is also a small room containing old copies of the Bible, including a Gutenberg Bible, various scroll replicas, manuscripts, and various other artifacts and items.
The staff are friendly and enjoy catering to kids in the museum. The facility is worth a look if you are heading to the region because of its renown for dinosaur fossils.
8. Drop-In to the Cross Country Brewery
Known as the town’s first Craft Brewery, Cross Country Brewery, and its Tap Room is a great place to stop off if you have any interest in sampling a fantastic array of local craft beers.
The taproom favorites feature original recipes and usually have names related to the area in some capacity like the Cemetery Hill Strong Ale and the Hungary Joe Red Ale. Maybe the Bell Street Bridge Gold Ale will have you thinking of the sunsets to be found in places like the Yellowstone River and Big Sky.
As with various aspects of many small Montana towns, the Brewery and Tap Room has its own historic slant in that it is housed in a former Cross Petroleum facility that was extensively renovated to make it fit for brewing needs.
You can stop off for a family-friendly look at this great little brewery. The kids won’t be left out as there is even Root Beer and popcorn. You can see a sample of what’s currently on tap HERE.
9. Check Out the Retro Theatre
The Rose Theatre was the former single-screened theater dating back to 1918 that once served a 5,000-strong community. The theater would show movies afternoons and evenings, as well as matinees on weekends.
However, all this came to an end in 2014 when the venue decided to drop movies altogether, instead transforming into a venue for local live performances, and with a new moniker by way of the Retro Theatre.
The Retro Theatre features both well-known artists and lesser-known local acts which includes both music and comedy. The venue has 400 seats, all with decent views..
10. Indulge in Some Top-Notch and Unique Fishing
The Bighorn River is a blue-ribbon Montana trout location and it flows by Glendive. This is a top place to find a spot and cast a line while in Glendive, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch one of the reasonably plentiful trout that run through the town.
Although it is in a great fly-fishing location, there is another popular fishing season in Glendive Paddlefishing. Between May and June, fishing fanatics descend on Glendive to try their luck at snagging one of the large and prehistoric-looking fish that actually has a lineage tracing back to prehistoric times.
The fish heads up the Yellowstone River regions and a top fishing spot are apparently the Intake Diversion Dam. If you don’t manage to catch one and yet remain intrigued you might consider heading into town and seeking out some of the Yellowstone Caviar made from paddlefish roe.
If you’re looking for something a bit more standard you may want to head to one of the six lakes in Glendive. The lakes tend to contain brown trout, smallmouth bass, and a few other species.
3 Free Things To Do In Glendive, Montana
11. Makoshika Visitor Center
While there is a fee to enter Makoshika State Park, a trip to the visitors center is free. Inside you’ll find informative exhibits, a well-stocked gift shop, and even triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex fossils.
This is also where you can pay your entrance fees or reserve a campsite within Makoshika State Park if you don’t have an annual pass.
12. Historic Bell Bridge
Part of a pedestrian and bicycle trail, the historic Bell Street Bridge is a 1,300 ft long steel bridge that spans the Yellowstone River.
Once a major thoroughfare for automobile traffic, now it serves as one of the best places in the region to take a stroll and snap some scenic photos on foot.
13. Black Bridge Recreation Area
Arranged on 71 acres right along the Yellowstone River, the Black Bridge Recreation Area is part fishing access site, and part park for local Glendivites and visitors alike.
Filled with cottonwood trees and encircled by a modest trail, this urban recreation area is a delightful place for a picnic or a stroll.
If you’re coming to go fishing, you’ll be delighted to find it is a spot that is rich with native species like catfish, walleye, and sauger.