Thompson Falls Ride


What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Thompson Falls? A waterfall right? Well, that’s what we thought at first but it turns out when we were researching and planning the trip we quickly realized Thompson Falls was just a town, not a waterfall. We decided to go through with the ride as you know from our “Ride With Us” page and I am glad we did.

Interstate? Nope

We are staying at the KOA in Missoula and we’re literally minutes from I-90 but did we take the interstate? Nope, that’s no fun. We followed West Broadway to US-93/MT-200. We have been on US-93/MT-200 before on our Flathead Lake ride. US-93 and MT-200 are one and the same until you reach the town of Ravalli. That is where the road splits. US-93 goes off to your right which is how you would get to Flathead Lake.

What we didn’t realize is when we stayed to the left at the US-93/MT-200 split (in the town of Ravalli) to stay on MT-200 how much nicer this road is!!! Let me stop and back up here for a minute to say that although we have ridden this stretch of road numerous times somehow we missed a Roadside Attraction.

1000 Buddhas?

As you are traveling down US-93/MT-200 towards Ravalli, you will find yourself riding through the town of Arlee. There is a road called White Coyote Road. If you make a right on this road and go down about a quarter-mile, you will see “The Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas” on your left side. White Coyote Road is a dirt road but it’s packed down hard so you will have no problem taking your bike on it. Don’t look for a sign about the Buddhas as there is none.

Even though we missed it on this ride we did go back and check it out. You can see those pictures on our Montana Roadside Oddities & Attractions page.

Thompson Falls Ride Map

As you pass through Arlee and continue down US-93/MT-200, you will enjoy the twists and turns through the mountains and riding along the water. What we found out was once we stayed to the left to continue on MT-200, we were about to be treated to an even more scenic road with more twists and turns, riding along the water, and mountain views.

Wild Stallions

On the first stretch of the ride, there are about 4 places to stop for fuel. Usually, when you come to one of the small towns there is a gas station in that town. Once you hit MT-200 there is no gas until you hit the town of Plains. Then there are two with nice convenience stores and clean bathrooms. Also in the town of Plains is a metal art display of wild stallions. Check them out on our Montana Roadside Oddities & Attractions page.

Along this stretch of road, there are numerous signs to watch out for Big-Horn sheep and falling rocks. There is even an area you can pull over into that is a Big Horn Sheep Viewing area. We did pull over and look around but unfortunately, we didn’t see any.

Thompson Falls

When we arrived in Thompson Falls we saw a sign that stated there was a park nearby. We made a left on Lincoln St and a right on Maiden St. There was a small parking lot across from some houses so we parked and decided to walk around a little bit. There was a small covered pavilion area with a few picnic tables and bathrooms on the backside. We followed a walkway and could see a cool-looking bridge and what appeared to be a reservoir/dam.

We walked along a paved trail until we could see that it lead to other trails. We met a couple who was coming up from the trails and we asked where they led to. They stated they were a couple of miles and looped back around to this park. Maybe another day we thought. Then they asked us if we had been to the bridge to see the dam. That peaked our attention. Not exactly a waterfall but we’ll take it.

Island Park

They explained if we got back on Maiden St. and went two blocks down to S. Gallatin St. and made a right there is a small (very small but perfect for a bike) area you can park and walk across the bridge. This place is called Island Park and it’s awesome. It’s another small park with hiking trails like the one we just left but this one has a great view of the dam.

After walking across the bridge, the trail will split. To view the dam and reservoir stay to your left. It’s only a short walk and when you pass the pit toilet on your right you know you’re almost there. This is where you come to an overlook platform. The size of this dam is amazing. The view and the area aren’t so bad either!!!

Another Bridge & More Trails

If you would have stayed to your right when you crossed the bridge it would have taken you to another cool bridge. After you cross that bridge you will be at another pit toilet and choice of trails to walk. As with the first set of trails at the other park, we decided the trails were for another day.

Usually the ride back we either jump on an interstate or go back the same we came. As we have stated when your riding sometimes riding the same road in two different directions brings very different views. This time however we switched it up. We jumped off MT-200 onto MT-135 once past the town of Plains. We took MT-135 to I-90 and it did not disappoint.

Final Thoughts

This was an all-around great ride. When you combine twisty roads, with mountain, and water views it’s got to be good. The roads were in good condition and gas stations were moderately placed for bathroom, gas, and snack breaks. We will definitely be going back to Thompson Falls as we want to do the hiking trails at the two parks. If you are in this area we highly recommend this ride.

Check Out Our Slideshow Featuring 50 Photos Of This Ride

TAOW Thompson Falls Ride

Or Check Out Our Short Video

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