CM Russell Auto Tour

Highway 87, The Charles M. Russell Trail

How to use the below Guide which can be found in the CM Russell Auto Tour booklet:  The Guide uses Russell's art to interpret the history of Judith Basin.  Occasionally you will see the actual landmarks Russell used in his painting; other paintings depict events that occured nearby.  Interpretive test rounds out this glimpse back into the history of the Basin.  As you drive the Russell Trail, you will find specific road-side turnouts for some, but not all of the 25 interpretive sites.  (click on left photo to download map)

# Painting Title Theme Location
1  Romance Makers The Free Trapper  West of Belt
2  America's First Printers Indian Rock Art  Raynesford 
3  Buffalo In Winter Buffalo in the Basin  Geyser 
4  The Medicine Man Blackfeet in the Judith Basin  Geyser Rest Area
5  First Furrow The First Settlers  Stanford 
6  In Without Knocking Old Town Stanford  Stanford 
7  Lone Wolf
Roping a Wolf
The Legendary Wolves of the Basin  Stanford 
8  White Mans Buffalo The Price of Progress  Windham 
9  Paying the Fiddler The Cattle Rustlers  Benchland 
10  The Toll Collectors The First Cattle Herds Judith River 
11  Trail of the Iron Horse The Role of the Railroads  Hobson 
12  Chief Joseph The Flight of Nez Perce  Eddie's Corner
13  The Price of His Hide The Grizzley Encounter  Moore

The Memorial Way-Utica, Yogo and
the South Fork of the Judith Basin

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.  
(click on left photo to download map

# Painting Title Theme Location
14 Quiet Day In Utica History of Utica Utica
15 Cowboy Camp During Roundup The Cattle Roundups Utica
16 Waiting For A Chinook The Hard Winter of 1887 Judith River
17 Doubtful Guest Russell Meets Jake Hoover South Fork Judith River
18 When I Was A Kid Charlie's Early Days Russell Point
19 Old Hoover Camp
On The South Fork Of The Judith River
Jake Hoover and His Cabin Hoover Cabin
20 The Elk Wildlife Boom and Bust Judith Game Range
21 Placer Mines Prospecting New Strike The Yogo Sapphire Judith Game Range
22 The Tollgate  Tollgate
23  Yogo Town History  Yogo Town 
24  Fire Boat
The Jerkline
Steamboats & Trails
Hauling the Freight 
25  Stagecoach Early Transportation  Philbrook

Welcome to the Judith Basin! Nestled in the heart of the state known as the last best place, the Basin truly fits the classic Montana description of high, wide and handsome. Island mountain ranges like the Highwoods, Snowy's and Moccasins surround a sea of grass where the rancher, farmer, and sportsmen enjoy the rich bounty of this land. The auto tour uses Charlie Russell's art to open a window to the Judith Basin and its history.

A young man from Missouri named 
Charlie Russell arrived in the Judith Basin in 1880. For the next ten years, the cowboy artist lived and worked here; the Western epic was faithfully captured with his paints and canvas, and many of the scenes are from the Judith Basin.

Charlie's art provides a window into the past to tell 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.

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 located in Stanford, Utica and Hobson during your travels too!

An interpretive booklet for the C.M. Russell Auto Tour is available from the Judith District Ranger Office located in
Stanford, Montana or by calling 406-566-2292.