Take a Break from Bowhunting this Fall on the Montana Bale Trail!
By angelamontana

Posted: February 1, 2017

It might be a little early to start thinking about fall–wait, no, it isn’t….it’s never too early to start thinking of Montana’s bow season!  With that in mind, you can also plan a trip around hunting for an afternoon with the family and check out the infamous “Montana Bale Trail”!  This trail includes hay bale sculptures of “hay artists” displayed for 22 miles between Hobson and Windham–and there sure are some awesome sights to see!  So, mark your calendars for September 10th to check it out and vote for your favorites, and find more information at www.montanabaletrail.com.

Here’s a little bit of history on this unique event:

The “What the Hay” (Montana Bale Trail) is organized by The Friends of the Hobson Library/Museum and sponsored by local businesses and private individuals.  It is held annually on the first Sunday following Labor Day in conjunction with the Utica Day Fair.  This truly unique event features “am-hayzingly” creative and (most often) quite amusing sculptures made of hay and straw.

Beginning in 1990, “What they Hay” has grown from a friendly, tongue-in-cheek, competition between two neighboring ranchers into a full-blown, major tourist attraction.  In 2003, it was named Montana’s Tourism Event of the Year, and last year-the twentieth anniversary edition-saw over 50 beautifully sculpted entries.

Numerous television spots and countless print media articles in newspapers and magazines ranging from local papers to national publications like People and Sunset   have featured this rather unusual and eye-popping event.  Although local farmers and ranchers construct the majority of the creations, there have been entrants from all parts of Montana as well as California, Arizona, and as far away as New York.

The fantastic and imaginative bale sculptures are displayed in fields along the “Bale Trail,” a 21 mile loop just south of U.S. Highway 87.  The “Bale Trail” runs along state highways 239 and 541 with the eastern end being in Hobson, the western end at Windham, and Utica (home of the famous Oxen Yoke Inn) being the halfway point.

As you can see, the Montana Bale Trail has become quite the big deal, and being that it is right here in Montana, it would be worth checking out EVERYTHING our state has to offer!  Here is a video of a summary of the event from a few years ago, and below that are a few displays from 2016:

(Information and photos via montanabaletrail.com)