CREATE YOUR OWN MONTANA MOMENTS IN BIG SKY COUNTRY WITH 7 OF OUR BEST THINGS TO DO!
Whether it is being active in one of the state’s 54 national parks, carving the powdery wintery slopes, or spending time on a working ranch to experience life as a cowboy, the rugged, wide open spaces and abundance of wildlife are waiting for you. Here are our top 7 things to do in Montana, in The Great American West.
1. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
Feel tiny in the best way possible as you are consumed by the towering glacier-carved snowy peaks and valleys of the Rocky Mountains known as the ‘Crown of the Continent’.
Just make sure you’re in the passenger seat along this 52 mile mountain-hugging drive so you can truly enjoy the spectacular unspoiled nature. If you’re in the driver’s seat don’t fret, there are plenty of spots to pull over and gaze across crystal blue lakes scanning for grizzly bears, elk, bighorn sheep and other wildlife.
The highest point as you cross the Continental Divide is at Logan Pass rising 2000m and where the Hidden Lake Nature Trail branches off to the west, then relax in front of a roaring fire at one of the historic Swiss chalet guest lodges.
- See the best of Glacier National Park with our Venture Experience, Yellowstone to Glacier Drive
2. Skiing, Bozeman
Get knee deep carving through the excellent powder on the picturesque peaks outside the town of Bozeman.
Big Sky Resort and the Bridger Bowl have mountains where everyone from wobbly beginner to swashbuckling pro will feel at home, the latter being the third largest collection of slopes in the USA with over 30 lifts strung across its nearly 6000 hectares of wilderness. Both have more extreme runs to sink your skis and snowboards into, as well as bowls and moguls and beginner slopes for the whole family.
You can stay in cosy cabins at the mountains resorts, or Bozeman with plenty of hotels just a short drive away is full of shops and lively bars and restaurants, as well as the Museum of the Rockies, home to a T-Rex skeleton and other dinosaur discoveries.
3. Between Whitefish + Missoula, take a detour to Flathead Lake
Whether its sending waves through the clear still waters on the back of a wakeboard or casting a languid line fishing from the side, Flathead Lake is big enough to handle everyone’s tastes.
To get your feet wet take your pick of tubing, paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming in this water sports heaven, and unlock the lake’s full splendour by taking a boat to Wild Horse Island in the centre where, as you probably guessed, wild horses roam freely amidst the trees.
With nooks and crannies tucked around more than 200km of shoreline it’s impossible to see everything here up close, but its this grandeur with the Rocky Mountains set in the background reflecting mirror images in the still waters that makes it a true sight to behold no matter where you stand.
- See the best of Flathead Lake on our Venture Experience, Across The Great American West.
4. Trails and Byway from Missoula
Storybook Montana, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream where three rivers and seven wilderness areas meet.
Competing with the outdoors is the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of activities from exploring the historic downtown area to seeking out the local craft breweries. A local favourite is to Hike the M, a landmark since 1908 when a zigzag trail up the west face of Mount Sentinel was forged to shape the symbol of the University of Montana. While the trail is not very long, it is steep and the views exquisite, from the north across Hellgate Canyon to the south to the Bitterroot Mountains.
An easy day excursion from Missoula, the Garnet Range Back Country Byway begins about 50km from Missoula through the mountainous wilderness of the Garnet Range to the historic Garnet Ghost Town, a former gold mining town that has been preserved to look nearly as it did in 1895. It’s like stepping onto the set of a Wild West movie.
- See Missoula’s beauty with our Venture Experience, Across The Great American West.
5. Billings to Red Lodge, Beartooth Highway
Three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park are located in the state of Montana.
Base yourself at Billings, situated along the Yellowstone River, and protected by incredible sandstone coloured cliffs known as Rimrocks, just begging to be explored.
For history lovers, drive 45 minutes south to the famous Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument where General Custer made in last stand against Sitting Bull and his men, or spend time downtown with fabulous restaurants, craft breweries + eclectic shopping.
Head up Beartooth Highway, quite simply one of the most beautiful drives you will find anywhere in America. The twists and turns draw out your time with sweeping craggy mountain scenery from all angles as you climb from the lakes and rushing rivers below higher and higher into the Beartooth Mountains where you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.
Reach the picturesque little western gown of Red Lodge, tucked into a mountain valley, and enjoy true western hospitality.
- Drive the scenic Beartooth Highway on our Venture Experience, Yellowstone to Glacier Drive.
6. Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Volcanic forces bubbling below the Earth shoot up high into the air from upwards of 500 geysers across Yellowstone National Park, the most of anywhere on the planet.
Picking exactly when they’re going to blow their top can be a bit of guesswork, but as the name implies, the Old Faithful Geyser erupts with pleasing regularity; the most you’ll wait is around two hours if you happened to have missed the last launch of its superheated aqua plumes.
Here, you can get a face full of spray by coming up close and personal along its boardwalk weaving around the geyser: just make sure to wipe it quickly off your camera lens and glasses. It’s a few hours drive from the Beartooth Highway leading into Yellowstone National Park to this famous cauldron of geothermal activity, giving you plenty of time to see some of the world’s most iconic scenery along the way.
- See Old Faithful Geyser in all her glory on our Venture Experience, Yellowstone to Glacier Drive
7. Cowboys + Ranches, Dude + Guest Ranches
Imagine seeing Montana the way the original cowboys did; from the back of a horse driving cattle from one part of the state to another.
Working ranches throughout Montana offer a range of accommodation styles, often all-inclusive, providing opportunities for many activities including hiking, rafting, fly fishing in mountain streams, camp fire sing-a-longs, western dancing + gourmet dining.
Whether it is 5-star luxury with spa treatments as part of the package, or more home style comfort, singing songs around a camp fire with s’mores (melted marshmallow sandwiched between biscuits and chocolate), it’s your choice to do as little or as much as possible.