In 1805 the Corps of Discovery stopped in what is now Three Forks. Three tributaries – the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Gallatin – form the headwaters of the Missouri. The rivers were named for President Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, and Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin. Sacajawea recognized the area as where she was captured by the Hidatsas as a child. Three Forks was traditional land of the Shoshone.
John Colter, one member of the Corps of Discovery came back to Three Forks to trap. It was in this area that he had his encounter with the Blackfeet and he made his “naked” run in 1808. Jack Gladstone has a song about Colter’s Run told from the Blackfeet point of view that I really enjoy. John Colter was also the first white man to travel through what is now Yellowstone National Park.
Just outside of Three Forks is the Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli. It is located at the intersection of I-90 and Highway 287 (Exit 274). The flour that they use to make their baked goods comes from the wheat that grows on their family farm. On their website they tell about holding the Guinness Record for taking standing wheat and turning it into bread in 8 minutes and 13 seconds.
One of their advertisements states that they are the 21st century equivalent to a stagecoach stop where people can refresh themselves. So TRUE. I always stop there if it is at all possible when I travel through the area. They have good sandwiches; in my opinion their claim to fame is their pastries.
My favorite is the caramel rolls. The rolls are larger than a softball – about 4 inches across. I love having them hot with butter drizzling down the side. I savor each bite – a taste of ecstasy. The caramel slides down your tongue teasing you until you have eaten the whole thing.
Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli should have a sign posted outside – “Sin Sold Within”.