You’ve reached the heart of the Hi-line as you roll into Chester, Montana. At least, that’s what the signs will tell you. This small town is big enough to provide the basics, but I didn’t find much happening during my visit. Still, it’s worth a few minutes of exploration, at the least. That’s why you’re driving the Hi-line, right?
Chester, Montana is located along US 2 in Liberty County. It’s about 42 miles east of Shelby and 60 miles west of Havre.
By this point on your trip along the Hi-line, this will come as no shocker: Chester, Montana has some grain elevators, silos, and other various farm-related facilities, prominently visible along US 2 and the railroad tracks. I’ve seen more photogenic ones in other Hi-line towns, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on these. Instead, I turned south from the main road, to explore the town of Chester, Montana.
The grain elevator looms over Chester’s business district, which is just a few blocks wide and a couple of blocks deep.
The center of Chester’s business district isn’t on Main Street, it’s a block away. First Street East is anchored by the historic First State Bank of Chester building. The bank was built in 1910, and closed in 1920. Turn down First Street for a look at everything else the town has to offer.
Well, that mural is… nice. Perhaps it’s a work in progress.
Spud’s Cafe appears to be a decent place to eat, based on the reviews I’ve seen online.
When visiting today, you’ll see no sign of Chester, Montana’s brief moment of fame. But back in 2015, Chester became a hotbed of political activity, when Chester Cheetah attempted a dangerously cheesy run for the mayor’s office. Search around on YouTube and you’ll find a few commercials that appear to have featured local residents who were easily swayed by bags of Cheetos. Just like the political season, that attention has quickly passed, and life in Chester has gone back to normal.
Here’s a look at the drive eastbound on the Hi-Line, from East Glacier Park Village to Malta, Montana:
… and here’s a closer look at just the cities on the Hi-Line:
The Bottom Line
While driving the Hi-line, Chester is worth a stop and some exploration. While there are restaurants and at least one motel, Chester probably isn’t the greatest place for an overnight stop. I’d suggest continuing on to Havre for the night — which is what I did.