A Drive to American Bar

When my dad suggested driving out to American Bar for Father’s Day this year, I was all for it. I’m always down to check out a new bar. What I didn’t realize is that American Bar he was referring to isn’t a bar at all. It’s a sub-development on the eastern shore of Upper Holter Lake.

By boat, it’s a leisurely cruise up the Missouri from Holter Lake. By car, it’s a 2-hour jaunt over some less-than-ideal dirt roads. We stopped at the York Bar for lunch–if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it. The burgers were good, and the atmosphere is great.

We got there a little before they opened, but the local birds were entertaining enough to watch while we waited.

The sub-development itself is great. My only issue with it is access. Rain would turn the road into a shit-show, and snow would make it incredibly difficult to get there. Just across Upper Holter Lake is the Gates of the Mountains Marina, but the docks are private. I’m not sure if they’d let you lease a spot to make it easier to get to your property.

Even with the questionable roads, the drive was relaxing, and a great way to spend Father’s Day with my dad.


One thing I love about summer is the early sunrises. I tend to wake up whenever sunlight starts streaming through my window, so in the summer I tend to wake up early. The older I get, the more I enjoy waking up early.

The other day, I woke up at 5:45 am. Wide awake. No point in even trying to go back to bed, so I grabbed my camera and hopped in the truck. The plan was to just grab a few shots on the way to my friend’s awesome new coffee shop in Great Falls, but I got sidetracked on the way there.

There’s a road that heads west out of Ulm. It’s marked with a dead end sign, so I’ve never driven it. Square Butte happened to catch my eye, and that dead-end road was headed in the right direction, so I decided to check it out. It didn’t quite do what I’d hoped it would do for the Square Butte photo (never rose up high enough to see the full butte,) but it was good enough.

Square Butte in the morning light.

The sky was just cloudy enough to keep the light interesting, and I found some areas I need to explore further later this summer. Definitely worth the drive.

I was on my way to the coffee shop by 7 am with a camera full of photos. I can’t think of a better way to start a day.

Delicious coffee at Broadwater Coffee Brewing