National Bison Range

Bison Refuge near Missoula

Located south of Flathead Lake and north of Missoula, the National Bison Range is a great opportunity to view Bison in a natural habitat.  There are 3 different routes through the Refuge.  The longest of these, the Red Sleep Mountain Drive, is a 19 mile one-way road, open only in the summer season. For vehicle restrictions and more details

The Refuge was established in 1908 to help to save the bison (or buffalo) from extinction.  The current property can safely contain about 350 bison.  New calves are born each year, and the herd is moved to different areas within the refuge.  

After a stop at the visitor’s center, you will drive through the Refuge.  Plan on about 2 hours, so that you can enjoy the scenery as well as stopping to view the buffalo herd.  You can also find elk, pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and many more mammals.  Don’t forget to look in the sky for a vast array of birds. Over 200 varieties have been spotted from our Western Meadow Lark to Osprey.  Birds can be spotted all year long in the various seasons.  There are also some trails where you can get out of your car and take a short walk.  Great way to stretch your legs and view the scenery.  Don’t forget your binoculars!

Make a day trip out of your visit to the Refuge.  It is definitely worth the drive from either the Missoula area or the Flathead valley.  You are practically guaranteed to see bison as well as other wildlife, not to mention the beauty of the Mission Mountains.

Find out more about the National Bison Range on their website 

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