PLACES: Marias Pass

By Beacon Staff

For those looking to find an out-of-place curiosity, check out the Marias Pass Memorial Park about an hour and a half east of Kalispell on U.S. Highway 2. Along the way, travelers can enjoy the stunning views of Glacier National Park and some area history along the way.

The Great Northern Railway first crossed Marias Pass in the late 1890s and today it’s also traversed by U.S. Highway 2. The pass has also gone by different names, including Backbone Pass and Theodore Roosevelt Pass. As the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide, Marias was used as an outlet for Salish and Kootenai Indians to enter the plains and hunt bison. The summit also marks the boundary of the Flathead and Lewis and Clark national forests.

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Monument is located on the divide. Modeled after the Washington Monument, the obelisk stands 60 feet tall and was built in 1931 to memorialize both the former president and the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service. At one point it was located right in the middle of Highway 2, but in 1989 it was moved into the park. Near the obelisk is a statue of John F. Stevens, the man who first charted a path over the pass.

Restroom facilities and parking are available at the park

How to get there: From Kalispell, take U.S. Highway 2 east for 75 miles or about an hour and a half. The park is located on the right site of the road, at the summit.