THE GREAT NORTHERN
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MILK RIVER VALLEY

East of Malta, the road and the railroad cross and recross the banks of the sluggish and narrow Milk River. Highway signs proclaim your entrance to “Beef Country”; just check out the menu options in the cafés and you’ll know you’ve arrived. US-2 continues its jaunt over the Milk River tributaries, winding along the swampy Lake Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, once the state’s best duck-hunting grounds and now warm-weather home to pheasants, grouse, and sage hens as well as pelicans, ibis, and herons.

  Unless you’re a keen bird-watcher, the main place worth stopping along this stretch is 10 miles west of Saco and four miles north of US-2. Here, the large and enticing Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs resort ($50 and up; 406/654-2100) offers a huge (60 by 80 feet) naturally heated swimming pool as well as hot tubs—as hot as 106°F!

The Great Northern: Kremlin to Tampico map

The Great Northern Route Detail: Kremlin to Tampico

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