It may sound a little boring, driving around in your car for two hours on a one-way road, staring out the window for a glimpse of shaggy critters, but it’s not.
The National Bison Range (406/644-2211, http://bisonrange.fws.gov , $5 per vehicle) has two driving tours, and it’s worth taking a couple of hours to go on the long one. Stop in at the visitors center and find out where the herds have been spotted recently.
Bison are the main attraction, but expect to see bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and mountain goats as well. Even if all the animals are in hiding, the land, the sky, and the light are beautiful here. As with most wildlife viewing, it’s best to visit early in the morning or around dusk.
The National Bison Range was established in 1908 in response to concern that the buffalo had been slaughtered to the point of extinction. Part of the original herd was purchased from the Conrad family of Kalispell , who were early buffalo ranchers. The animals are now flourishing here, and a bison roundup is held in early October at the Bison Range.
The Bison Range is on a parcel of land carved from the Flathead Reservation  by Highway 212 near Moiese. If you’re approaching from Highway 93, catch Highway 212 between St. Ignatius  and Ronan . If you’re on Highway 200, there’s a turnoff to Highway 212 near Dixon . From the north, turn off Highway 93 at St. Ignatius.
If there’s no time for a tour, at least be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you drive Highway 93 north of Ravalli. Sometimes the bison come down off their mountain to water just a hundred yards or so from the highway.