Ennis, Montana, is a small town near Bozeman that invites visitors with its laid-back air and comfortable assortment of activities with access to the wilds of Montana. Pack in the adventures at the destination, or make the journey to and from Ennis the true point of the excursion. You can even loop through Big Sky as you go, or detour along your way to or from West Yellowstone. With just an hour drive to take you from Bozeman to Ennis, your options are endless for making this a day trip to remember.
Immerse yourself in a Montana hot springs soak at Norris Hot Springs, the self-proclaimed “water of the gods.” Rustic wood-lined pools tame these natural mineral springs into soaking tubs. Grab craft brew or a bite to eat, with produce grown right on site, irrigated from the natural mineral water of the springs.
Fancy a wander? This access point to public lands gives you a gentle walk along the river, allowing you to hike up to 15 miles on this out-and-back route. But you can also just stroll as far as you feel, fishing along the way if you like.
If you feel inspired to make a big loop of it, letting the road carry you nearly to West Yellowstone on your way to or from Ennis, Quake Lake is a site to explore for any nature lover, history buff or scenic vista aficionado. This site of the massive 1959 earthquake shows a changing landscape and startling shifts in life in Montana, with interpretive displays and scenic stops.
Big Sky is worth a day trip in and of itself, but if your timing doesn’t allow for a dedicated visit, you can still pause along the way. This township is home to a ski resort for winter fun, and all sorts of summer goodness too.
Ennis Lake is a key spot for anyone undertaking some prime Montana fishing. Created by the Madison Dam, this reservoir is warm and shallow, ranging nearly 2.5 miles in length. When the water is cooler, it’s a good spot for rainbow and brown trout.
For casting, you also can’t go wrong with fishing access on the Madison River. The famed fifty-mile riffle makes fly fishing dreamy from just downriver of Hebgen Lake all the way to Ennis.
Local shops, restaurants and bars find a home on the town’s Main Street, worth exploring as you wander through this classic small town. It’s also not much farther to go if you want to hit up Virginia City, a living ghost town infamous for silver booms and vigilante standoffs in its heyday.
The McAllaster Inn Steakhouse is a highlight of the dining scene in this part of the state, located just north of Ennis. This is a spot to get a taste of local ranch beef in their steaks and burgers, from cows raised right here under the big sky.
Be sure to plan your trip around their hours of operation – Thursday through Monday, serving dinner only from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. It’s a worthy destination even when you need to work for it, as a top spot favored by grub hounds from all around the region.
After you dine, make your way back to the comforts of Bozeman with a stay at a VRBozeman property, and feel sated from an adventurous day.