Beautiful autumn day in western Montana, USA

Things to do in  Montana

Big mountains, bigger skies

Home to some of the nation’s most magnificent natural wonders, Montana doesn’t do anything by halves. Big, bold, and beautiful, this wild western state offers adventures like nowhere else, and the possibilities for exploring its spectacular, untamed spaces are nearly endless. Imagine yourself hiking alpine trails through the vast landscape of Glacier National Park, hitting the ski slopes in Whitefish, finding dinosaur fossils in the eastern Badlands, and watching spouting geysers in Yellowstone National Park. And that’s just for starters.

Top 5 attractions in Montana

Yellowstone National Park

Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the first US National Park. Famous for its wildlife and geothermal activity, the park covers almost 3,500 square miles (9,000 square kilometers) stretching over parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park boasts one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America (Yellowstone Lake), the longest undammed river in the contiguous United States (Yellowstone River), and even its own “Grand Canyon”.More

Glacier National Park

One of the nation’s most pristine and magnificent natural wonders, Glacier National Park—also called the “Crown of the Continent”—is a vast landscape of snow-capped mountains and turquoise glacial lakes along the Continental Divide. One of the top reasons folks often visit Glacier National Park is to travel along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.More

Virginia City

Step back in time to the Wild West at the historical mining town of Virginia City, once called the “richest place on Earth.” Enjoy 100-mile (160-kilometer) views across the high desert, ride the V&T railroad, shop, have a bite to eat or drink in an old saloon, and tour museums, mines, and mansions in one of the country’s largest National Historic Landmarks.More
Moss Mansion

Moss Mansion

The red sandstone Moss Mansion Historic House Museum and its tranquil grounds have been preserved to provide a time capsule of life in Billings, Montana, at the beginning of the 20th century. Originally built as the Moss family home in 1903 and inhabited until the 1980s, the mansion now holds historic exhibits, special events, and educational tours.More

C.M. Russell Museum

The two-story, 16-gallery C.M. Russell Museum is an ode to celebrated artist of the American West Charles Marion Russell, and his former home in Great Falls, Montana. Alive during the heyday of the Wild West between the 19th and 20th centuries, Russell produced more than 4,000 paintings, sketches and bronze sculptures capturing the period's knock for posterity. Hundreds of his intricate watercolors line the museum’s walls, painting a picture of the dusty plains, big skies, furious bison, and colorful inhabitants of the region at that time. Photographs, artwork, and related collections by other American West artists—including a display of John Moses Browning antique firearms—also fill the galleries.Next door, Russell’s former home and separate log cabin studio, both registered National Historic Landmarks, lend insight into the life and times of the man. The home is open for tours and included in the price of admission, though the studio remains closed during ongoing restoration. To appreciate both the museum and the home, a half day visit is recommended.More

Top activities in Montana

Madison River Guided Kayak Tour

Madison River Guided Kayak Tour

Wildlife & Wolf Private Tour with Lunch

Wildlife & Wolf Private Tour with Lunch

per group
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All about Montana

When to visit

Summer is peak visitor season in Montana for good reason: Long, sunny days promise ample outdoor adventures. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a calmer—and perhaps more authentic—experience, visit in the shoulder season from September to November. Winter, on the other hand, is superb for winter sports and for wildlife-watching (without summer’s nose-to-tail traffic) in Yellowstone National Park.

Getting around

Montana is a sprawling state, so you’ll need your own wheels to get pretty much anywhere—hitting the open road is one of the state’s best experiences, anyway. If driving is not an option, check out the Greyhound bus, which serves cities including Billings, Missoula, Kalispell, and Bozeman. There are also several Amtrak stations in Montana, including a few near Glacier National Park. Montana’s major cities have public transportation, albeit with limited services.

Traveler tips

Summer in Montana is glorious, but the state’s big attractions can feel the pressure of the sheer volume of visitors. If you are planning to visit in the summer months, aim to go off the beaten path and think beyond the national parks. The rugged preserve of Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, for example, lies just outside Yellowstone National Park and has hundreds of miles of hiking trails and backcountry to explore in relative peace.

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People Also Ask

What is Montana known for?

Montana is known for its abundance of natural beauty, from snow-capped mountains to glacial lakes, and diverse wildlife that includes bison, wolves, elk, bighorn sheep, and black and grizzly bears. It is also home to two of America’s most popular national parks: Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. The people of Montana have their own reputation as active outdoors enthusiasts with independent spirits.

What is the prettiest place in Montana?

Arguably, the prettiest place in Montana is Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park. Ten miles (16 kilometers) long, the lake’s glass-like water reveals multicolored rocks lying on the bottom that create a fairy tale-like image. Adding to the magical scene is the Swiss chalet-style Lake McDonald Lodge, perched on the shore.

How many days should you spend in Montana?

Montana is a big state (fun fact: it’s bigger than Germany), so don’t try to rush your way around. If you want to see much of the state, aim to spend at least seven days there. A full 10-day itinerary would be even better and allow time to see the main attractions and soak up some of the atmosphere.

How far is Yellowstone from Glacier National Park?

The driving distance is around 400 miles (643.7 kilometers), and it takes around 6.5 hours to drive from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park. However, you should consider taking your time to take in all the scenery along the way. Worthwhile stops include the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness and the colorful historic mining town of Butte.

What is the number one attraction in Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park’s top attraction is the mighty Old Faithful. This world-famous geyser is a real crowd-pleaser as it erupts close to 20 times each day, and those eruptions can be predicted with a confidence rate of 90 percent. You can find out when the next eruption is predicted at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.

Which is better, Glacier or Yellowstone?

Your decision to go to either Glacier or Yellowstone National Park will depend on what you want to do. If you are planning to do lots of hiking, you might be best suited to a Glacier National park trip. On the other hand, if it’s diverse wildlife and landscapes you’re after, opt for Yellowstone.

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