From the South – Welcome, US visitors

by | Dec 20, 2021

Great Falls MT = 4h15/244 miles; Billings MT = 4h30/278 miles

ROUTE: Billings MT to Malta MT to Monchy Canada Border Crossing to Val Marie

Flying into Great Falls or Billings, Montana and renting a car is a popular way to get here. Another is to take the northern Amtrack train (Chicago to Seattle) to Malta MT, just 1h20 or 70 miles south of us, and renting a car there.

Wherever you start point, you’ll probably cross the border into Canada at the Morgan/Monchy Border Crossing.

This takes a little planning as the Monchy Canada Border Crossing is a very small with limited hours. Currently, this border crossing is on reduced hours and closed during the weekends so if you miss out, you’ll be driving back to Malta 1 hour away. There are no services between Malta and the border.

Gas up in Malta as this is your last opportunity until you reach Val Marie, SK across the Canada:US border.

Morgan/Monchy Border Crossing
Monchy Canada Border Crossing: 1-306-298-2232; 10am to 6pm CT (in winter)
(Nb. Saskatchewan does not follow Daylight Savings so this would be 9am MT in winter months.)
Morgan US Border Crossing: 1-406-674-5248; 9am to 6pm MT (closes 9pm in summer)
Questions to ask:
What are the current Vaccine passport and testing requirements?
What can and can’t be carried across the border? This includes some food items.

Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs is a hidden gem. It’s located just 20 minutes east of Malta, along Hwy2. For a very reasonable entrance fee, you get access to a spa-like geothermal bathing experience in a beautifully tiled indoor pool, sauna and hot tub.

Sleeping Buffalo Rock, after which the Hot Springs is named, is a spiritually significant medicine rock to the high plains First Nations. You’ll find the rock on the side of the highway, covered in ancient carvings of medicine wheels, buffalo tracts and carvings depicting its form as a reclining buffalo. Don’t be dismayed by the cigarette butts and food left behind as they are offerings of respect. Originally resting on a nearby wind-swept ridge overlooking the Cree Crossing on the Milk River, it was moved into the town of Malta in 1932 before being moved to its current, more respectful location in 1967. It is the smaller of the two rocks on this site. The second larger “Medicine Rock” was moved from near Cree Crossing to join Sleeping Buffalo Rock in 1987.

Once you cross the border into Canada you’re on the home stretch. The Crossing is only 23km/14 miles away. Follow Hwy4 north to the Hwy18/Hwy4 junction. Turn right and drive towards the village of Val Marie. As the road curves left, you’ll spot Val Marie with its iconic prairie grain elevators across the valley, and hills/buttes on your right. Watch for our sign at Rosefield Grid Rd on the right. Turn right and then stay left.

Welcome, you’re one kilometre away from comfort on the edge of the grassland sea.