Winter sports, water sports, bicycling, hiking, you name it, Montana is recognized as a sanctuary for outdoor aficionados.
It is also the fourth largest and one of the most northerly states in the United States. Because of its small population, it attracts wildlife and birdwatchers all year. Montana is unquestionably a dream vacation spot.
Butte, Montana’s most historic city, was formerly renowned as the Richest Hill on Earth. It all started in the late 1800s with the copper mining sector.
Meanwhile, it grew to be Montana’s first significant city and, for a time, the largest city between Chicago and San Francisco.
Butte’s mining operations lasted into the 1980s, but they were never as prosperous as they had been in the early 1900s. Butte is one of Montana’s best locations to visit since its history and culture are still on show.
The World Museum of Mining is one of the best sites to learn about the city’s mining history.
Also, the museum is built around a recreated mining settlement that features over three dozen historic houses and structures.
It was part of the former Hell Roarin’ Gulch settlement, which was located at the base of a dormant silver and zinc mine. The massive headframe — the winding tower at the mineshaft’s head — as well as subterranean mine excursions are highlights.
The Copper King Mansion, built-in 1888, is another mine-related attraction in Butte. Many of the original treasures from the Richest Hill on Earth can be found in this 24-room Victorian home.
The Mineral Museum is also worth a visit, with over 1,300 specimens on display, including a 27-and-a-half-troy-ounce gold nugget.
Helena, Montana’s capital, is home to one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings in the country. It was originally known as Last Chance Gulch because a group of dejected gold-diggers decided to have one last dig before striking gold.
Charles M. Russell, a well-known Montana artist, painted a mural in the structure showing Lewis and Clark meeting the Salish Indians.
Helena is enjoyable to visit for reasons other than the state capitol. The city has a distinct and dynamic culture that may be traced back to its gold-mining days. Reeder’s Alley, a historic location, coexists with modern art galleries and chic stores in the downtown area.
Helena is also an excellent starting point for visiting Montana’s countryside.
The huge Mount Helena City Park is within walking distance of downtown for a closer excursion.
3. Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is about an hour’s drive south of Bozeman and home to some of the “Biggest Skiing in America.” With an average of 400 inches of snow each year, the slopes are well-known for their abundance of snow.
During the winter, tens of thousands of skiers and snowboarders flock to the resort. Still, with 5,750 acres of skiable terrain, there’s plenty of room to turn.
The whole resort experience can be had by visiting Big Sky. Big Sky offers the crème de la crème of a Montana downhill experience, from heated eight-person lifts to an exciting base of the mountain full of events, restaurants, and après-ski entertainment.
But Big Sky isn’t the only ski resort worth visiting in Montana; several of the state’s greatest ski resorts provide similar downhill terrain. Near the Idaho border, Lost Trail Powder Mountain is a local favorite.
Whitefish Mountain Resort, located further north, offers spectacular views of Glacier National Park. Other popular destinations, such as Montana Snowbowl and Bridger Bowl, are easily accessible from Montana’s university towns.
Montana became linked with fly fishing with the 1992 film A River Runs Through It, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Robert Redford.
Anglers, on the other hand, have been casting lines in the state’s waterways for years, knowing that there are plenty of mountain streams and rivers suitable for a fly.
The film is set mostly on the Blackfoot River and is based on a classic Norman Maclean story from 1972. However, the Gallatin River was used to capture several of the most captivating river scenes.
These two rivers have some of the nicest mountain scenery in the sport, as well as productive seasonal hatches.
In addition, the state is known for its world-class fly fishing. The state contains numerous of mountain streams and creeks with plenty of movement, in addition to large rivers like the Madison, Missouri, and Yellowstone Rivers.
Bozeman’s reputation as one of Montana’s top cities is enhanced by the addition of the Museum of the Rockies.
The museum, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, is known for its spectacular displays of dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs, in addition to its planetarium.
Skeletons and realistic representations of the many species found in the state are among the items in the collection. The museum has one of the largest dinosaur collections in the United States, including the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus skull.
A T-Rex thighbone with soft-tissue remains and the “Big Mike” T-Rex skeleton at the museum entrance are also attractions. All of these prehistoric monuments contribute to the preservation of the region’s heritage.
However, it isn’t all dinosaurs. A dynamic exhibit welcomes visitors to Yellowstone Country at the museum. Native peoples of the region, Western art shows, and the Tinsley House – an original pioneer log home from the late 1800s — are among the other topics covered.
Glacier National Park, in Northwest Montana, is known as the Crown of the Continent. Mountain ranges, alpine meadows, lush woods, big waterfalls, innumerable beautiful lakes, and several glaciers make up this spectacular scenic location.
It’s a true adventure paradise with famous vistas that will entice return tourists for years.
The 50-mile-long Going-to-the-Sun Road, the park’s only paved path, is a wonder of engineering and worth a visit in and of itself.
It connects St. Mary to Apgar Village and West Glacier by crossing the Continental Divide at the 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass.
With almost 700 kilometers of hiking trails, the national park attracts adventure travelers. Grinnell Glacier, Ptarmigan Tunnel, and the spectacular Highline Trail are just a few of the most famous hiking trails.
While day hikes are the most popular way to see the area, overnight expeditions in the park’s vast backcountry are also popular.
7. Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Lewis and Clark Caverns, located between Butte and Bozeman, is Montana’s first state park and a renowned underground exploration destination.
Only a guided trip organized by park employees is available to explore its depths. During the summer, three distinct tours are provided, each catering to a different ability level.
During the colder months, a unique Winter Holiday Candlelight Tour is held.
The Lewis and Clark Caverns are one of the world’s largest limestone caverns. They have massive cave features, handrails, and bats that live there.
The tours stay on a concrete sidewalk the entire time and never pass through any congested areas.
The state park does provide a unique three-hour Wild Cave Tour that includes some crawling for individuals who aren’t afraid of claustrophobia.
Hiking trails and a visitor center with interpretative information about the caverns are available outside the cavern in the park’s aboveground portion. Cabins, tipis, and group campsites are provided at the cavern’s campground, which is located above ground.
Address: 25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, Montana
Montana is home to ten national forests with a total area of almost 20 million acres. This huge, open landscape has come to characterize the Montana experience, and no trip to the state is complete without a hike through these public areas.
Many of these national treasures can be found in the western part of the state, from the Kootenai to the Custer-Gallatin.
Within a short drive of Missoula, home of the University of Montana, are at least five national forests. The city is surrounded by the Lolo National Forest.
Residents and visitors benefit from the area’s closeness to public lands, which include the Rattlesnake and Blue Mountain National Recreation Areas.
Bozeman, which is also home to Montana’s other state institution, is a great place to start exploring national forests. While there are various public places nearby, the Custer-Gallatin National Forest is the most popular.
The Custer-Gallatin River flows south of Bozeman, past the adventurous town of Big Sky, and into Yellowstone National Park.
9. Visit Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, the country’s first national park, has two main entrances in Montana. The West Entrance and the North Entrance, respectively, include gateway settlements that are fun to visit on their own.
With over two million acres to explore, the park is a world of adventure once you’re inside.
The West Entrance of Yellowstone, which begins in the aptly named hamlet of West Yellowstone, leads deep into geyser country.
The road splits 14 miles from the entrance after reaching the historic Madison Junction, featuring top Yellowstone sights on both sides. Norris Geyser Basin, north of Madison Junction, is home to Steamboat Geyser.
To the south are the Lower, Midway, and Upper Geyser Basins, which include well-known attractions like Grand Prismatic and Old Faithful.
Gardiner, Montana is home to Yellowstone’s North Entrance. Also, From Bozeman, take a scenic 90-minute drive via Paradise Valley to reach this entry.
The Boiling River, another great attraction of Yellowstone, is located just outside the park’s gates and welcomes immediate investigation.
The Mammoth Hot Springs area, located further into the park, features gorgeous travertine terraces as well as a bit of park history.