Interstate 90 or I -90 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Montana. The highway forms a long east-west route across the state, from the Idaho border at Lookout Pass through numerous regional towns to the Wyoming border. The largest town on the route is Billings, the main junction is Butte. The highway takes you through a varied landscape, from the Bitterroot Range in the far west to the forested valleys and isolated mountain ranges in the middle and the barren High Plains in the east. I-90 travels its longest distance within a single state in Montana, the highway is 891 kilometers long.
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I-90 west of Missoula.
I-90 begins on the border with the state of Idaho, formed by the 1,436-foot Lookout Pass in the Bitterroot Range. Interstate 90 in Idaho comes here from Coeur d’Alene and continues into Montana. The highway heads southeast through Lolo National Forest, a densely forested area. The highway initially leads through a narrow valley, from St. Regis the highway follows the Clark Fork River to Missoula. From here, I-90 begins to ascend gradually again. Missoula is 150 miles from the Idaho border and is the first major town on the route. One crosses the US 93, while a double numbering starts with the US 12.
The highway continues east from Missoula for about 70 miles to Garrison, where US 12 exits toward the state capital Helena and I-90 turns south. The highway then continues for about 60 kilometers in a southerly direction, as far as Anaconda. I-90 curves east again here, after which a short double numbering with Interstate 15 follows past the town of Butte. I-15 joins west of Butte and splits off east of Butte. Butte is Montana’s main hub, created next to a large copper mine, easily visible from I-90.
I-90 in Butte, overlooking the copper mines.
On the east side of Butte, the highway ascends to the 1,929-foot Homestake Pass. It crosses the Continental Divide and is the highest point of I-90. The descent is especially impressive towards Butte. The landscape east of Butte consists of plains, interspersed with isolated mountain ranges, with peaks up to over 3,000 meters. At Three Forks, US 287 is crossed, after which the highway leads through a more densely populated valley, the most important of which is the town of Bozeman. At Bozeman you cross the US 191.
East of Bozeman, the highway crosses the 1,738-meter-high Bozeman Pass. East of this pass one descends to the valley around Livingston, where US 89 is crossed. This is the main route to Yellowstone National Park, which is about 100 miles south in Wyoming. I-90 then follows the Yellowstone River valley to the east. There are a few small towns on the route, at Big Timber the US 191 connects to the north and at Laurel a double numbering starts with the US 212. The landscape gradually flattens, the mountain ranges give way to plains with occasional shallow canyons.
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I-90 at Wyola in Eastern Montana.
Then you reach Billings, the largest city on the route in Montana, and also the largest city in the state. I-90 passes south and east of Billings and intersects with US 87. On the east side of Billings, Interstate 94. turnsoff. I-90 then heads east for more than 60 kilometers to Hardin and then turns south. I-90 leads here over the barren plains of the High Plains, although the landscape is not really flat, it consists of rolling landscape with some rocky elevations. The last 80 miles of I-90 heads south, parallel to the Little Bighorn River. At Crow Agency, US 212 exits into remote southeastern Montana. I-90 passes through an area prone to high winds and lonely. After Wyola, the border with the state of Wyoming follows, after which Interstate 90 in Wyoming continues to Sheridan and Buffalo.