Montana Bail Trail
Photo courtesy: Jane Hughes
Photo courtesy: Barbara Twiford
Judith Guard Station
The tiny town of Utica, at the headwaters of the Judith River, sits on the route of the one of the most iconic and unique events in Central Montana: the Montana Bale Trail What the Hay. Each year the road from Hobson to Utica to Windham features over fifty clever and whimsical hay bale sculptures. The event is held on the first Sunday after Labor Day weekend and draws around seven thousand visitors. In addition to the decorated haybales visitors can enjoy a Hay-Maze, Utica Day craft fair, flea markets, local food and more. While touring the trail, learn the history of Utica at the Utica Museum.
Renowned cowboy-artist Charlie Russell learned the life of a cowboy in Utica and many of his famous paintings feature landscapes of the area. Many visitors still come to the town, drawn by the same stunning nature that inspired Russell. Lewis and Clark National Forest covers a huge swath of land to the west, and the Judith River Wildlife Management Area extends to the east. Ackley Lake State Park, also east of town, offers opportunities to camp, fish, and boat, surrounded by the Little Belt and Snowy Mountains. The Judith River flows through remote country with towering cliffs and deep pine filled coulees, perfect for exploring. The Judith Ranger District of the Lewis & Clark National Forest manages the historic Judith Guard Station which can be rented for overnight accommodations.
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