Montana is known for a lot of reasons but tourism makes most of its income per year. In fact, the state welcomes as many as 10 million people per year thanks to the Glacier National Park, the Missouri River, and Flathead Lake. Beyond these three, however, it is home to other attractions. Here are the greatest places to visit in Montana:
1. Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Note that this State Park is best accessed with the help of a tour guide so plan accordingly! It’s home to one of the largest Northwest limestone caverns that are professionally lit for your viewing advantage. There’s also a self-guided nature trail which you’ll be able to enjoy if you’re visiting from October to April. The park covers roughly 3,000 acres of land area with an elevation of up to 5,600 feet.
Whitefish is often tagged as the city that houses the Glacier National Park. However, if you’re only coming here for the park, then you’re missing out on many other spots. There’s Whitefish Lake where even the locals go fishing. The Whitefish Mountain Resort is also an excellent place to ski or maybe just head to the local golf courses.
Missoula is the second biggest city in Montana and this is where you can find the great University of Montana. The place is popular for several attractions like the Roxy Theater, the Missoula Art Museum, and the Caras Park Carousel. The Clark Fork River also runs through this place so people who want to go rafting will enjoy their visit.
4. Great Falls
Right in the middle of Montana is Great Falls. Most people pass by this area on their way to diving excursions. Also known as the Electric City, the place is packed with awesome hiking trails that are perfect for outdoor lovers. Note that close to the area are the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park and the Giant Springs State Park, both of which are fairly popular with tourists. The city itself is also worth exploring so be sure to check local hotspots.
5. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
The Bighorn Canyon has always been compared to Grand Canyon although not quite as impressive. Still, it is one of the places to visit in Montana. The 70 miles of canyon walls make this place stand out, especially since some of the walls soar to around 1,000 feet in height. The canyon makes for an excellent site for various activities like swimming, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. The natural landscape makes for a striking testament to more than 10,000 years of human evolution. Whether you want to do something exciting or just chill beside Bighorn Lake, everything here makes for a memorable visit.
6. Top Places to Visit in Montana: Chinese Wall
The Chinese Wall is named such because it is comparable to the Great Wall of China. This wall can be found in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area measuring over 1000 feet in height. This limestone barrier is an artificial structure and can be accessed via the Benchmark Trailhead. Note though that getting here requires experience as a hiker since the trail can be difficult for beginners. The trail measures 40 miles and will have several designated camping sites throughout the walk. It’s strongly suggested that you get a guide to help you get past the more difficult parts of the trail.
7. Makoshika State Park
This park deserves a spot in our list of places to visit in Montana. It’s composed of two parts; the first one is called the Upper Section and it takes you across the Artist’s Vista Campground where the Makoshika Amphitheatre is located. The Lower Section is designed for hiking where you can check out the plants and wildlife of the area. There’s even a campground in the section along with picnic areas if you want to rest and relax after the hike. Dinosaur enthusiasts will love how the park is home to various dinosaur fossils which you can spot, even without the help of a guide.
8. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
If you love animals, then this centre is worth a visit. It’s home to grizzly bears and wolves that are unable to make it out in the wild. A non-profit, the centre also studies these animals to find a way to benefit the species out in the wild. Open the whole year round, the place is also home to other wildlife like snakes, river otters, frogs, and native fishes. For those visiting Montana as a family, drop by this place for the kids’ enjoyment.
9. Museum of the Rockies
If the outdoors is a little too much, there’s always the safe and environment-controlled Museum of the Rockies. Marvel at complete dinosaur bone exhibits, a planetarium, and even the Mesozoic Media Center. All visitors get a map of the place so getting around shouldn’t be a problem, especially with such a large area!
10. Glacier National Park
Of course, let’s not forget Glacier National Park which is practically synonymous with Montana. The park is packed with wildlife, amazing waters, and some of the most amazing landscapes you’ll ever see. Hikers typically gravitate to the Highline Trail which is challenging but memorable thanks to the sharp incline. Lake McDonald is considered to be an untouched wonder spanning ten miles worth of space. Those who just want to lazily enjoy the park can set up at the several picnic areas and maybe spend a few hours taking photos.
Tips: Dressing for Montana Weather
How you dress up when seeing the top places to visit in Montana depends entirely on the season you’re visiting the State. The months of July to September are usually the summer months. So if you’re visiting at this time, it’s best to bring light materials that can be layered. This way, you can add or remove clothing depending on the comfort level of the area.
Winter in Montana runs from October to April when the State gets inches of snow. Make sure to pack enough clothes for the cold weather. Layering is still an effective technique for this time but use thicker materials for added warmth. Regardless of the month of your visit, always make sure you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes as Montana tours include lots of walking!