The Yaak River Scenic Drive
The Yaak River Scenic Drive is a twenty-nine mile, paved route that leads into the remote and seldom visited Yaak region of Montana. The route follows Highway 508, and runs between US Highway 2 and the tiny town of Yaak, Montana.
Highlights of the drive include decent vistas of the unique and heavily forested Yaak region of Montana, the Yaak River, and the very scenic Yaak Falls. While the views from this scenic drive do not compare to other drives in Montana, anyone who is passing through this part of Montana on US Highway 2 (a popular route to enter Montana from Idaho), should absolutely take this short and quick drive. Additionally, those who want a more thorough and scenic journey into the Yaak region can create a loop drive by using some of the other highways in the area (see map below).
Beginning at the junction of US Highway 2 and Highway 508, the drive heads north and begins to ascend the mountains. During the climb, a number of pullouts exist that provide excellent views of the Yaak region and a distant look toward Yaak Falls. While the mountains in this part of Montana lack the lofty vertical height found elsewhere in the state, the actual vertical rise of the mountains is still quite large owing to the low valley elevations.
Soon the Yaak River Scenic Drive reaches the side road that leads to Yaak Falls, a must-see sight along the drive. There are many road signs that point the way to Yaak Falls, and the road that leads to it is in good condition (although it is gravel).
Beyond the road junction to Yaak Falls, the Yaak River Scenic Drive reaches gentler terrain and soon begins following the clean waters of the Yaak River. While much of this part of the drive is in deep forest, there are enough open meadows and pullovers next to the Yaak River to keep the views interesting.
After twenty-nine miles, the route ends in the tiny town of Yaak, which consists of, well, not much. A post office, general store and a bar/restaurant are the services in town.
While there are no services or lodging along the drive, there is plenty of camping. Several develped campground are located along the drive, and a few more are near the road junction along US Highway 2. Additionally, this entire part of Montana is basically one huge chunk of National Forest. As such, primitive camping is allowed almost everywhere.
From Yaak, either the visitor can return to US Highway 2 by turning around and going back down Highway 508, or they can turn south on Highway 567 and head toward Libby. I’d personally suggest the latter route. While I don’t find Highway 567 an especially scenic drive, the road is in decent condition, seldom used and passes through a very remote part of Montana that few people ever see. Moreover, it’s a nice short-cut between Yaak and Libby.
Overall, the Yaak River Scenic Drive is well worth taking for those who happen to pass through this part of Montana on their way to other parts of the state. While I wouldn’t suggest coming to the far Northwest corner of the state solely to take this drive, if you happen to be in the area it would be stupid to pass it up!
- Length: 29 Miles
- Highlights : Yaak River, Yaak Falls, the Yaak Region of Montana and the Kootenai River
- Road Type : Paved
- Nearby Towns : Libby
- 4wd needed? : No
- Traffic : Light
- Trailers? : Yes
- Season : Year-round.
Map of the Yaak River Scenic Drive
The map below shows the route and location of the Yaak River Scenic Drive in Northwest Montana. The drive runs between US Highway 2 and the tiny hamlet of Yaak, MT. A loop drive can also be taken, too, for those wishing to experience more of the Yaak region of Montana.