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15 Best Places to visit in Montana

15 Best Places to visit in Montana

Photo: Bill45/Shutterstock

Want to find the best places to visit in Montana? Here’s an updated guide for 2020 with interesting and beautiful destinations to include on your Montana Itinerary. 

America’s fourth-largest state Montana is where some of the country’s most famous national parks are located, including the small part of the world’s first established national park – Yellowstone.

Tourism is Montana’s main fuel for the economy, which indeed means there is a lot to admire in the state often called “Big Sky Country” or “The Treasure State”.

Despite its large size and being one of the largest states in the US, Montana’s population is only about a million people. It means there’s plenty of wide-open space and unspoiled nature to marvel at in this northerly American state.

Glacier National Park

Located in the northwestern region of Montana and bordering Canada, Glacier National Park is called the Crown of the Continent and is home to spectacular mountains, dense forests, ice rivers, alpine green meadows, waterfalls, about 50 glistening glaciers, and 200 glowing lakes.

It’s Montana’s exemplary park and a real paradise for nature lovers. You can explore the park’s highlights by taking hundreds of miles of hikes or through a scenic drive on the popular 50-mile highway known as “Going to the Sun Road”.

Glacier National Park’s grandeur nature is full of forests, vegetated streams, and meadows that provide habitat for all kinds of wildlife. This makes it one of the best places to visit in Montana for hiking adventures and wild animal encounters. 

Glacier National Park

Photo: Shutterstock

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Being Montana’s first state park, Lewis and Clark Caverns is home to impressively decorated limestone caverns, which are the most famous in the Northwest. The miraculous geological formations of this cavern include helictites, columns, stalactites and more. 

Visitors view caverns in nearly a 2-mile hike within the comfort of natural air-conditioning in the area. Caverns are equipped with electric lights for the safety of the visitors. 

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Photo: crbellette/Shutterstock

Flathead Lake

Because of its size, Flathead Lake is more like a sea than a lake. It’s the largest freshwater lake in the lower 48 states west of the Mississippi. This 200 square miles large lake is 370 feet deep and has nearly 160 miles of beautiful shoreline.

Flathead Lake’s vibrant, clean and sparkling waters are a pure source of inspiration and provide many recreation opportunities such as swimming, boating, fishing, and so on.

The largest island in the lake is called Wild Horse Island, which is also a popular landmark in the area.

Flathead Lake

Photo: James R Poston/Shutterstock

Big Hole National Battlefield

Big Hole National Battlefield is both a historic site and also a memorial to those who lost lives in the historic battle between the US Army of volunteers and the Nez Perce people.

The battle took place on August 9-10, 1877 and approximately 29 US soldiers and 60-90 Nez Perce people lost their lives. This battle was part of a 5-month conflict which was about moving Nez Perce to Lapwai Reservation in Idaho.

Today, the whole battlefield site is preserved for visitors and accommodated with trails, visitors center and everything else needed to see and learn about the entire story of the battle. 

Big Hole National Battlefield

Photo: Bruce Ellis/Shutterstock

West Yellowstone

Located at the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, West Yellowstone is a small town in Montana and a gateway community to the famous national park. Except for being the busiest gateway to the park, this fun-filled town also offers visitors a variety of other attractions.

Here you can enjoy nature, outdoors and parks at their best, take scenic drives, find lakes, rivers, falls and a lot more. In the Yellowstone Historic center located in downtown West Yellowstone, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about the park’s history before entering it.

Another popular attraction here is The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, where you can observe grizzly bears and wolves in their natural settings. An interesting statistic about West Yellowstone tourism is that it gets half of its annual business from Chinese tourists. 

West Yellowstone

Photo: Matthew Thomas Allen / Shutterstock.com

Great Falls

Vibrating on Missouri River in the center of Montana, Great Falls is a city where you can experience the true, authentic side of Montana. It’s a great destination to explore bountiful gardens, freshwater springs, and mountain views in the rugged part of the state.

A major attraction for tourists here is the Giant Springs State Park, as it’s one of the largest freshwater springs in the country, which also includes The Great Falls of Missouri – the stunning set of four waterfalls.

Other popular attractions of The Great Falls are Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, C.M. Russell Museum and 60 miles of the River’s Edge Trail.

Great Falls

Photo: vagabond54/Shutterstock

Little Bighorn National Monument

This area is located in southeastern Montana and memorizes one of the most famous battles in the history of America – the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The battle took place on June 25-26 of 1876, where about 263 soldiers including Lt. George A.

Custer died in a fight with a few thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors. This battle is known to be the most successful one fought by the American Indians against the US Army in the West.

During the years the Monument expanded to a National Cemetery and now includes also graces of soldiers from other wars, from the first and second World Wars, from the Spanish-American War, Korean War, and others.

Little Bighorn National Monument

Photo: Don Mammoser / Shutterstock.com

Bitterroot Valley

Stretching nearly 90 miles long south of Missoula, Bitterroot Valley is one of the relatively hidden but most beautiful places to visit in Montana. Right through the middle of the valley runs the Bitterroot river.

The valley is contoured by Bitterroot Mountains from the west and Sapphire Mountains from the east. All this together makes a beautiful scenic view of the Bitterroot Valley, which is also home to small engaging communities, outdoor recreation, and a few historic highlights.

Bitterroot Valley

Photo: Drummond Photography/Shutterstock

Big Sky

Under the excessive piece of the Montana sky, Big Sky is a census-designated destination in the southwest of Montana. It’s a part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which offers unlimited opportunities for recreation and relaxation.

Except for the wild whitewater experience, scenic hikes, trout streams, wildlife and vegetation, Big Sky is home to the biggest skiing in the country with nearly 5800 acres of skiable area, extended across four mountains.

The town next to the ski resort offers tons of trails and opportunities for adventurous hiking. If you want to go skiing in “The Treasure State”, Big Sky is one of the best places to visit in Montana. 

Big Sky in Montana

Photo: thierry dehove/Shutterstock

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

One of the 5 largest canyons of the US – Bighorn Canyon stretches across southern Montana and northern Wyoming borders. This recreation area is over 120,000 acres large and features extraordinary scenery of the canyons, extensive forests, valleys and deserts, wetlands, and the famous Bighorn Lake.

The lake stretches nearly 71 miles through Montana and Wyoming, from which 55 miles are held within the astounding Bighorn Canyon. This dry and rocky land was created about five million years ago by the upheaval of mountains and was eroded by the Bighorn River.

Today it became a beloved destination for travelers where they can go hiking, camping, and marveling at the scenery of the rocky landscape.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Photo: Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Often called “The Walmart of its day,” Fort Union was established in 1828 and was the most important fur trading spot on the upper Missouri shore for nearly 40 years.

Here is where Northern Plains Indians traded buffalo robes and other furs for goods from all around the world, such as guns, clothes, blankets, etc. It was a spot of peaceful exchange and annually traded over 25,000 buffalo robes.

As a result of changing market conditions, Fort Union Trading Post was closed in 1867. Today, the 444-acre large property is established as a historic site and is open daily for its visitors. It is located on the Montana-North Dakota border.

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Photo: Zack Frank/Shutterstock

Grant-Kohrs Ranch

Trader Johnny Grant recognized the potential of raising cuttle and established this pioneer ranch in the 1850s. Located at Deer Lodge, this area is now a national historic site representing 19th-century Victorian sensibilities and perpetuating the role of cattlemen in American history.

Wide-open spaces, cowboys and broad herds of cattle are here to take you back to the past spirit of the ranch. Guided tours are also available to learn more about the history of this large cattle empire.

Grant-Kohrs Ranch

Photo: Zack Frank/Shutterstock

Whitefish

Located in Montana’s Flathead County on the shores of Whitefish Lake, Whitefish is a small appealing city and is known to be one of the world’s top ski towns. It’s also a gateway to Glacier National Park.

Travelers to Whitefish can enjoy world-class skiing, snowboarding, biking and hiking, boating, as well as live professional theater and many stellar restaurants. 

Whitefish

Photo: Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

Virginia City

Virginia City is located near Yellowstone National park and is one of Montana’s points of pride. This colorful mining camp seems to be frozen in time and canonizes the tales of its early days.

This is where many folks made a fortune, as it was born with the discovery of gold. This ghost town reflects the most fascinating history of any town in Southwest Montana.

Virginia City

Photo: magmarcz/Shutterstock

Livingston

Remember the famous Marlboro advertisement? Yes, this is where it was pictured. Snuggled on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Livingston town is where the authentic spirit of cowboys, ranchers, the rich and famous artists can be sensed.

This historic train town of the late 19th century offers attractions year-round, including arts, music, events and many others.

Livingston Montana

Photo: Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com


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