From the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park, Montana is a rare place, where a person can slow down and enjoy the grandeur of nature and the American West. With just one million residents spread out over more than 38-million hectares (an area larger than Germany), it is one of America’s greatest unspoiled treasures of scenic lands and wildlife. Its mix of modern and traditional cultures make it the ideal place to experience the history of the frontier and authentic small-town American life.
Montana is America’s fourth largest state. With more wildlife than people, Montana gives new meaning to the phrase “wide, open spaces.” Two national parks anchor Montana – Glacier to the north and Yellowstone to the south. These parks and the other natural wonders between them, including 54 State Parks, 15 wilderness areas, and numerous national and state forests, show why Montana is America’s Last Best Place.
From the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains with its pristine alpine lakes and meadows, to the rolling plains and dramatic badlands in the east, Montana offers endless opportunities to explore its stunning scenery, awe-inspiring wildlife and rich cultural heritage. The great variety of year round activities in Montana will surprise you. Rafting, hiking and biking can be enjoyed during summer on numerous lakes, rivers and trails throughout the state. Follow the Montana Dinosaur Trail or one of our small town’s Brewery Trails, Visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, or overnight at a ranch.
Montana is home to numerous working and guest ranches. Saddle up and experience trail rides, barn dances and chuckwagon suppers. Montana’s ranches will show you an authentic Western way of life that still exists today. Summer rodeos throughout the state offer a chance to see traditional ranch activities performed by cowboys and cowgirls in fun, family-friendly venues.
Traditional Native American ways of life can be experienced at Montana’s Powwows, such as Crow Fair near Billings, or at North American Indian Days in Browning. Montana’s Indian tribes celebrate their traditions with dance, drumming and traditional dress during these family-oriented celebrations.
Wander through authentic ghost towns such as Bannack, one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the country. There are over 50 buildings that line Main Street with their historic log and frame structures that recall Montana’s gold rush era. Guided tours and panning for gold are offered during the summer. The lively Victorian ghost town of Virginia City is located just 90 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Nevada City, just a mile and half away, offers more than 100 buildings, a museum, music hall, train rides and weekend living history programs that are sure to put you into a nostalgic mood.
Winter activities in Montana can be as adventurous as you like. Travellers attracted to cold season adventure will find some of the best skiing available at Montana’s 15 ski areas, including Whitefish Mountain Resort in the north near Glacier National Park, and Big Sky Resort near Yellowstone. These areas also offer other exciting winter recreational opportunities, from dog sledding to snowshoeing and tours by snowmobile, as well as opportunities to visit these national parks in wintertime.
Montana is natural wonders, charming small towns, friendly people and life at a slower pace—a land full of experiences that truly can’t be found anywhere else.
Must See Places in Montana
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is an area of spectacular mountain ranges, alpine meadows, thick forests, tall waterfalls, countless sparkling lakes, and numerous glaciers. It’s a paradise for adventurous outdoor-types thanks to its more than 700 miles of hiking trails. It’s also easily accessible by car, a highlight being the 50-mile-long Going-to-the-Sun Road connecting St. Mary via the 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass to West Glacier.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
One of the best-known historical landmarks in the US – and one of the most important in terms of the reconciliation that has taken place since – the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument commemorates the 1876 clash between the US Army and Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.
Located in northwestern part of the state, Flathead – the largest natural lake in the western USA – is a still, flat freshwater sheet, perfect for fishing trout or boating. Visit the lake’s Wild Horse Island, home to 75 species of birds, to see Bighorn Sheep, deer, falcon and the namesake wild horses.
The World Museum of Mining
The World Museum of Mining offers a fascinating insight into the tough life of Montana’s miners. In the town of Butte, the museum centres around a restored mining camp featuring mining relics along with more than three dozen historical buildings and structures.
Gates of the Mountains Wilderness
Designated as a wilderness in 1964, Gates of the Mountains contains more than 28,000 acres to explore, including 50 miles of hiking trails. Located 20 miles north of Helena, Gates of the Mountains is a popular recreation spot.
Video Credit: Visit the USA