The Montana Legislature designated Highway 87 between Great Falls and Lewistown as the “Charles M. Russell Trail.” The land continues to stir the imagination and spirit today as it did for a cowboy artist over 100 years ago. Make sure to visit the C.M. Russell Museum located in Great Falls and also stop in and visit the charming museums in Stanford, Utica, and Hobson during your travels too!
Charlie’s art provides a window into the past, telling the story of American Indians, buffalo and wolves, cowboys and the open range, mountain men and miners, and the inevitable change that came with the progress of the homesteaders, railroads, and highways. The story is told where it happened, out on the range and in the mountains where people can experience the West as it was, and as it is today.
An interpretive guide booklet uses Russell’s art to interpret the history of Judith Basin. Occasionally you will see the actual landmarks Russell used in his painting; while other paintings depict events that happened nearby. As you drive the Russell Trail, you will find specific roadside turnouts for some, but not all of the 25 interpretive sites.
Yogo Creek Road and Memorial Way (South Fork Judith) are narrow single-lane gravel roads with turnouts. Trailers and large recreation vehicles are not recommended.
The interpretive booklet for the C.M. Russell Auto Tour is available at the U.S. Forest Service Office located in Stanford, or by calling (406) 566-2292.