Rustic Lens

An American Icon – National Bison Range In Montana

The National Bison Range in northwest Montana trip that I took last winter was not all that I had hoped it would be. The road that goes up and around the mountain is closed in the winter so I didn’t see any bison. Last weekend I made a side trip on the way home from Virginia City and it was awesome! My wife, daughter and I drove over Red Sleep Mtn Drive and saw

a lot of bison and also several antelope, bighorn sheep, deer and amazing views.  I wrote a blog post about the winter trip here. Although the National Bison Range is open all year for you to visit it’s definitely better in the warmer weather.

national bison range
Pano of the West Loop with Red Sleep Mtn Drive shown going up the mountain in the background.

As we drove around the West Loop we were starting to think that we wouldn’t see any bison until we went up the mountain.  Then we rounded a corner and this huge bison was crossing the road in front of us. He stopped on the drivers side and was scratching his head on a little bush. We were in awe of how huge he was! He was as tall and almost as long as our Jeep. What a majestic animal.

american bison
American bison profile.

As we drove up the mountain, I realized why the road is closed in the winter. It is skinny, steep and winds it’s way right up and around the mountain. We saw a few more bison on the way up and also some amazing views of the surrounding area from each side.

american bison
Black and white bison bull.
Flathead river
Flathead River from Red Sleep Mtn Drive.

There were many other animals out there too. The great thing was that the animals seem to be used to cars and that makes it easier to get pictures.

A funny shot of an antelope. How would you caption this one?
herd of bighorn sheep
Herds of photo ops!
bighorn sheep
This guy walked in front of us and when he got to this side he struck this awesome pose for me.
deer buck
This sleepy deer was 10 feet from the road.

I got several great shots this time and you can check them out in the FULL GALLERY.  I highly recommend that you visit the National Bison Range. It’s on the Flathead Indian Reservation and near Dixon, Montana.

My gear used on this trip:
Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera, Body Only (Black) (ILCE7RM2/B)

Sony SEL24240 FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Zoom Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

I love the funny picture of the antelope. What do you think he is saying?



Evan Jones

I am a landscape and travel photographer who is drawn to old and rusty stuff as well as beautiful landscapes. I like to explore the backroads of the Northwest United States and anywhere else I can get to. My blog is at

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