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New West Experience - Road Trips and Scenic Drives in Montana

New West Experience

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Fly-fishing in Montana and Yellowstone National Park is certainly on any serious angler's bucket list. Wild trout abound in our seemingly endless waterways, coupled with liberal water access laws, offer the angler unparalleled opportunities. New West Experience is able to assist anglers interested in staying at elite fly fishing specific lodges, booking daily guided trips through our network of experienced professionals, or in the planning of do-it-yourself fly fishing adventures.

New West Experience owner, Will Casella, has spent over 10-years working at elite fly fishing lodges around the world- and has come back to live in Montana for one main reason- the fishing is that good. There are of course the classic rivers; the Madison, Big Hole, Big Horn, Beaverhead, Jefferson, Yellowstone, Missouri, and the Gallatin that produce memorable days. However, more often than not, the best angling days and Montana experience come from the not so famous rivers and lakes- the places nobody is willing to talk about- and that is where New West will get you. 

At New West, we all fish, and we keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on around the state. Although there are likely more wild trout in the state of Montana than pretty much anywhere else in the world, they can still be moody especially on the larger more famous waterways. We have found that the best way to fish Montana is to be flexible and mobile. Rather than staying at a lodge and getting locked into a waterway for your stay, we encourage anglers to move to where the fish are eating.

The main difference when planning a trip with New West versus many of the outfitters or a lodges is that we truly emphasize quality of experience. If a bumper-to-bumper float trip down the Madison drifting indicator rigs is what you want- we are not the company for you. If enjoying spectacular scenery in the company of good friends (or alone), and maybe catching a fish or two is what you seek- then we can help you out.

Experience the best of Montana and the birth of a season. 

Spring in Montana symbolized the birth of the next generation. The transition from a dull winter brown to a resplendent green studded with countless wildflowers is a sight to behold. Mid-May through June are the prime months to witness this explosive growth. The mountains are still snow-capped, the rivers often gorged with impressive run-off, and the abundant wildlife have or are bearing young. Yellowstone Park, in particular the Lamar Valley, can be a fantastic place to behold this regeneration of life. Although this is the wettest time of year in Montana, it is also the greenest and the blue sky looming over endless fields of wildflowers will make a shower or two worthwhile.

7-Day Recommended itinerary for two: $1,350 - $1,950 depending on desired accommodations.

Day 1. Arrive Bozeman. A New West representative will meet you at the airport and escort you in your rental Subaru Outback to the office. We will then go over maps, itinerary changes due to weather and add adjustments accordingly. Depending on arrival time, visit historic downtown Bozeman and/ or the Museum of the Rockies. Overnight at the historic Silver Forest Inn, located in the Bridger Mountains just 15-miles outside of town. Overnight, breakfast, and pack lunch included.

Day 2. After breakfast at the Inn, head south towards Livingston, Montana via the scenic Jackson Creek Road. Via backroads, head towards McLeod and the Boulder River Valley. Witness the stunning "Land Bridge" in full spate. Return to Big Timber and continue on interstate 90 for approximately 40-miles. Exit towards Absarokee on one of the prettiest pastoral roads imaginable. Enjoy the sights of the Beartooth mountains and abundant roadside wildlife, dinner and overnight in Red Lodge (not included, price range $70 - $160 for accommodations).

Day 3. The Beartooth Highway. Enjoy the day exploring the numerous vistas and hiking opportunities on what Charles Kuralt has deemed the most beautiful road in America. Overnight in Cook or Silver City (not included, price range $80 - $170/ night).

Day 4. The Lamar Valley. Buffalo, elk, big horn sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves abound in this extensive valley creating one of the premier large mammal wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. Finish the day having a soak in the natural hot springs of the Boiling River and overnight in Gardiner ($90 - $200) or at Chico Hot Springs ($80 - $200) just outside of the Park.

Day 5. Chico/ Gardiner through the Yellowstone Geyser Basin. Heading south through Yellowstone, witness the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, the wildlife resplendent Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge, Old Faithful, and the Geyser Basin. Overnight in West Yellowstone ($70 - $200).

Day 6. Head west into the Centennial Valley. Spend the day viewing the countless migratory birds, particularly swans, in the Red Rock Lake Wildlife Refuge or enjoy your own playing on your pristine high mountain lakes. In the late afternoon, head north via Henrys and Quake Lake, overnight in the small town of Ennis, perhaps if you have enough time, sneek over to Norris Hot Springs for an evening soak- or if you have an early departure flight return to Bozeman.

Day 7. Depending on departure time, head to Virginia and Nevada City to witness a perfectly preserved western mining town or head straight to the airport.

 

Pricing: Rental car with touring package, concierge/ planning services, and overnight at Silver Forest Inn; $850. Additional accommodations, depending on your budgetary wishes $500 - $1,100, full camping package $300.

At New West Experience we understand the difficulty of arranging small group trips. From getting the group to decide where to stay, when to travel, and the worst- collecting money from people, we are here to make it as painless as possible. New West is able to do everything from arranging your accommodations, planning your itineraries, arranging guided trips, providing rentals cars and gear, to collecting payments from everyone,  to even making sure the fridge is stocked upon your arrival. 

Let us deal with the hassle so that you can enjoy your time together as friends in the mountains, on the snow, or on the water; whatever your desires may be. Boy's trips, girl's trips, family trips- we have got you covered.

From elite guest ranches to local bed and breakfasts- we know the right places to stay.

Play hard in the outdoors during the day, relax in comfortable surrounds at night. But where are the right places to stay? Montana and the Yellowstone area offer a wide variety of overnight accommodations from basic, inexpensive locally owned motels to elite guest ranches. The location and quality of this multitude of options also varies tremendously.

At New West, we are all about unique, locally owned overnight accommodations as this is truly the best way to Experience the real Montana. There are few places we have every traveled globally that offer such a welcoming atmosphere as seems to be consistently offered throughout the state and region. With this being said, some of the overnight options are better than others- and we try hard to visit them all so that our experience and recommendations can be passed on to you. 

There are of course numerous chain hotels available in most areas of the state, and most operate or exceed their chain's standards. The Holiday Inn in Bozeman is fantastic, but it could be a Holiday Inn anywhere in the world. New West is able to recommend and book the other options; like the small, historic Inn at the base of a ski mountain surrounded by a half-million acres of National Forest- for the same price or less as the Holiday Inn. We strive to provide our clients with clean, comfortable, and unique overnight accommodations- located in the right part of town to make the most of your stay. 

We do not limit ourselves (or our guests) to budgetary restraints. If you want to stay at the finest guest ranch in Montana- we have been there and know which rooms have the best view. If you are just looking for a bed to crash on, we know the best value and cleanest places around. 

NWE also works with numerous vacation rental management companies, bed and breakfasts, and guest houses all offering truly unique Montana experiences.

Montana and Yellowstone packages from New West Experience

New West Experience is the resource for planning Montana and Yellowstone National Park fly-drive holidays. Our partners; ranging from rental car agencies to unique locally owned accommodations, enable our guests to make the most of their Montana Experience. Although we recommend customizing packages for seasonal conditions and each guest's desires and budget, here is a sample of some of our recommended Montana and Yellowstone packages- each offering value, local knowledge, and an emphasis on Experience.

New West Experience

Driving from Destination A to Destination B is much more than just time in the car when you are in Montana. Unique small towns abound, all surrounded by stunning landscape and incomparable wildlife. Scenic driving in Montana is major part of the Experience out here. Distances are grand and seemingly each bend in the road will reveal a vista more beautiful then the last.

We get this. One of our favourite things to do ourselves is to hop in the car, pick a direction and drive. One will never be let down with monotony in Montana, and many of the best sites and experiences you will have will happen in the car. This being said, if you want to see Montana you have to drive. There is simply no good public transportation. Our partner, Phasmid Rentals, is able to provide rental vehicles and touring gear for your Montana road trip. Combined with New West's planning services we are able to get you the road trip of a lifetime.

Whether you enjoy the Beartooth Highway, Yellowstone Park, the unique small towns, or the endless gravel roads we are able to get you there and back- in style.

Millions of acres of public land, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, crystal clear rivers teeming with wild-trout, unspoiled open spaces, towering mountains offering endless exploration opportunity, abundant wildlife, unique small towns, wonderful history, working rural Americana culture, and endless scenically beautiful areas  to explore at your own place- this is Montana and the New West Experience.

Founder Will Casella has worked extensively in the international tourism industry for over 10-years, having gained experience in areas ranging as far as managing destination fly-fishing lodges in Russia, guiding river trips in Mongolia, to owning rental cars and creating self-drive adventures for travelers in New Zealand. In 2009, Will returned to visit the US having been abroad for nearly 10-years, and fell head-over-heels in love with the state of Montana. Having traveled and explored the world extensively, he identified Bozeman as being the best on earth to live and in 2010 he finally unpacked his bags and began call Bozeman home.

Summer of 2010 saw the first step in New West Experience, and that was the launch of Phasmid Rentals, an independent car rental agency specializing in the planning and execution of Montana fly-fishing self-drive tours. Phasmid started as a small pet-project to his other businesses catering to international fly-fishing tourism and soon grew into a rapidly growing business assisting visitors to the Big Sky, Bozeman, and Yellowstone areas. 

Autumn of 2011 saw the first expansion of services with the addition of the Silver Forest Inn, a historically listed bed and breakfast located at the base of Bridger Bowl Ski area. The Inn was identified as being an ideal location to provide a true Montana experience for visitors offering an unparalleled location, unique building, and fantastic setting.

In the spring of 2012, New West Experience was born with the goal of sharing the fantastic natural surroundings and unique locally owned businesses in Montana with visitors of the Bozeman, Big Sky, and Yellowstone area. Through the operation of Phasmid Rentals, Will noticed a common trend of visitors not having knowledge of the best places to stay, dine, and explore and decided as a personal mission to assist future guests in getting the most out of their Montana Experience. Montana and the Yellowstone areas are filled with endless opportunities to explore, and the best can only be experienced with the support of local assistance.

NWE strives to provide and share experiences that are memorable, unique, and truly Montana. From the moment our guests step off of the airplane to the time they depart, they have the support of New West. All of our Montana/ Yellowstone fly-drive adventures are catered specifically to each guest's desires and budget. We do not offer group tours, we offer individual experiences; whether it is staying at multiple fly-fishing lodges during a one week stay, or exploring the small towns and camping in National Parks over a month. We are passionate about exploring Montana and Yellowstone ourselves, and share all of our best experiences with our guests.

If you are exploring the options of coming to Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park we encourage you to give us a call. We promise to reduce your travel planning hassle and provide more Experience than any other travel agency around- whatever your level of adventure is you may desire.

Rental cars with superior service for Big Sky, Yellowstone, and Bozeman BZN

New West Experience is partnered with Phasmid Rentals, a superior off-airport rental car agency providing four wheel drive rental vehicles ideally suited for Montana adventures. New West is able to book Phasmid cars directly, and is able to incorporate discounted rates into all of our packages. Phasmid provides rental cars for Bozeman Gallatin Field airport, BZN.

Through New West and Phasmid we are able to offer two types of vehicles in two different classes. Chevrolet Suburbans (Big) and Subaru Outbacks (not-so-big). New ones, or slightly used ones. All of Phasmid's rental vehicles are impeccably maintained, immaculate, and contain Montana emergency kits (first aid kits, breakdown kits, tools, etc.)- all of the things that you likely carry in your own vehicle that no other rental company provides.

Prices vary depending on availability and time of year, but generally speaking Phasmid is less expensive than the Big Box companies at the airport- and always provides superior service.

+  Subaru Outback "Roadwarriors" (pre-loved ones) around $50/ day

+  2010-12 Subaru Outbacks around $75/ day

+  Older style Chevrolet Suburbans (2003-2007) around $85/ day

+  Newer Chevrolet Suburbans (2009-12) around $120/ day

Some of the benefits that we have found with Phasmid Rentals:

+  No nickle-and-dime treatment. They do not sell you anything you do not need, and treat customers like people and not numbers

+  Guests never have to wait in line. Phasmid picks up all guests at the baggage claim at BZN, and shuttles them back to office (1.5 miles away) in their rental car

+  Unlimited mileage, no-charge for additional drivers, and 24-hour roadside assistance always included

Visit the Phasmid Rentals website, or call New West to arrange a far superior rental car experience.

Winter is one of the best times of the year to explore Yellowstone National Park- especially as a wildlife photographer/ enthusiast. Crowd numbers are very low and most of the wildlife is seeking shelter in the lower elevation valleys. This is a prime time of year to witness bison breaking through snow drifts, wolves feeding on carcasses, or the iconic coyote or fox pouncing on a mouse under the snow. Only the northeastern corner of the Park is open to road traffic in the winter. This road to Cooke City traverses the Lamar Valley, one of the prime spotting area for wolves and wildlife in the Park. The Southeast Geyser Basin area is only open to over-snow travel- snowmobile (guided only), snowcoach, or by your own two feet. The geothermal colors against a white backdrop are truly a sight to behold. 

Recommended 6-day, 7-night itinerary:

Day 1. Arrive Bozeman, a representative from NWE will meet you at the airport and escort you to the office in your rental Subaru Outback. At the office, we will go over map details, off-the-beaten path photo opportunities, and last minute changes to itinerary due to weather conditions. Overnight at Chico Hot Springs, just outside of Yellowstone National Park in the Paradise Valley. 

Day 2 - 3. Explore the Lamar Valley and surrounding areas, overnighting at Chico or in Gardiner.

Day 4. After a morning of shooting, head back towards Bozeman and then down to West Yellowstone. This is a very beautiful drive along the Gallatin River Canyon and offers photo opportunities for scenic, elk, big horn sheep, and moose. Overnight in West Yellowstone.

Day 5. Snowcoach into the Yellowstone Geyser Basin. Overnight West Yellowstone.

Day 6. Return to Bozeman via Quake Lake, Henrys Lake, Ennis, and the Madison Valley. Stop for a soak in Norris Hot Springs, overnight in Bozeman.

Day 7. Depart.

Package price $550 includes rental vehicle and concierge services. Accommodations range from $500 - $900 based on double occupancy. West Yellowstone guided snowcoach tours, from $100 per person. Total price vehicle, tour, and accommodation from $625 per person.

 

Get away from the crowds and into the REAL Montana

At New West Experience we understand the value of your time and your desire to maximize the quality of your experience visiting the Bozeman/ Yellowstone area. Therefore, we offer Itinerary Planning services. This essentially means that we will assist you in the planning of the entirety of your trip to ensure that you will not be wasting time going to the wrong places.

All of our itinerary planning services are designed for each party and their desires/ budget. Some people would like an hour-to-hour plan, others just want advice. We do not charge for our itinerary planning services if it is part of a rental car package through Phasmid Rentals. For guests not using our rental cars, we charge a flat fee of $250 per week of planning and booking.

Our Montana and Yellowstone itineraries get our guests off of the beaten path and into the special places that make Montana and Yellowstone so unique.

Copyright New West Experience, 2012. All rights reserved.

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