Crossing the Missouri River on the Carter Ferry

Ride along with us as we make a loop ride thru Montana Country.

This is the second time we have taken the drive around the loop from Fort Benton, to Carter, across the ferry, thru farm country and then come out in Highwood and back to Fort Benton.

Getting to the ferry is the easy part but once your across the ferry you can get lost trying to find your way as you travel through farm country on the way to Highwood. There are many roads back there. The directions are kind of like this. Go to the top of the hill and turn right, take a left around the farm house (note: lots of miles between top of the hill and that farm house).. Then.. another right and lastly a left. (note: lots of miles in between those lefts and rights..)


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All in all its about a 3 hour trip with adding time to take a few photos along the way. A great day drive and I highly suggest May or June for the greenest views. But not if it has rained a lot because those back roads could be very bad when muddy.

After you leave Carter Montana, it’s about 3 miles and then you begin to drop down towards the river. There have some nice views of big coulees and the Highwood Mountains off in the distance. The first view down to the bottom is a delight.

Crossing takes little time and you get a good view up the river as you ride the ferry across.

Once the operator shuts down the engine, take a moment to visit a little and be sure to ask directions for making it to Highwood. Like I said, you will get a right, left, right, left.. and hopefully you will take the right ones. If you get lost just stop in at one of the farms along the way and I am sure they will be happy to get you on the right road.

Once across, you climb back up and out of the bottom.

I never miss an old building and there are a couple of dandys. I would have liked to get more of this old orange vehicle that was peeking at us around this building.

I get a big kick out of the sign on the front of this one.. It says Smile, Your on Candid Camera.

Now we travel thru farm country. I mean you can see forever but the focus of most of this part of the drive is the Highwood Mountains which will always be in your view (if your going the right way.)

Some might consider this part of the drive mudane since there isn’t much to see. Miles and miles of wheat fields. However, they are so green this time of year it looks like an ocean of green or maybe a very giant golf course.

Pay attention thou. There are a few swampy areas after a wet spring and you can catch the cattails in bloom and some red winged black birds in the area.

As we got closer to Highwood the country side took on a mix of farm and ranch country. Caught these cattle catching some shade under a big tree. I am sure they were thankful for that tree as they are far and few between out in that country.

A little about our Ferries and the Carter Ferry..

There are three river ferries that operate on the Upper Missouri River, the Carter ferry, Virgelle ferry and Stafford-McClelland ferry near Winifred. Typical season is April through November and there is no charge. Each ferry can carry 2 passenger cars at a time.

The Carter Ferry was established in 1917 at an original cost of $850. It was replaced in 1945 and replaced again in 2004. Vehicles can use the ferry stop at the boat ramp at either side of the river. There is a box with a button to push that will alert the ferry operator for service. The operator uses an engine and cable system that pulls the double-hulled boats across the Missouri between two towers anchored on the shore.

The Carter Ferry (area) is also a state fishing and public access site. It is a day use only site with a boat launch.

I hope you enjoyed riding along with us………….


You might like our post of our drive thru the Highwood Mountains.

You might like our post on our drive thru the Shonkin Sag.


You might like my book: It’s a Montana mystery (fiction) set in modern day ranch country. You can find it on AMAZON


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