101 Questions About Montana

Are you ready to embark on a journey of curiosity and wonder?

From the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park to the untamed wilderness of Yellowstone, this western gem has captured the hearts of history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike.

But before we delve into the rich history and natural wonders of this captivating state, let’s address the questions burning in your mind.

Whether you’re planning a visit to Montana, eager to expand your knowledge, or simply seeking a dose of vicarious adventure, this article is for you.

Let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the mysteries of Montana, one question at a time.

Questions on Montana History

An old teepee in the middle of a field in Montana.

1. In what year did Montana experience a raucous, corrupt, and grossly expensive election to determine the permanent location of the state capital?

Answer: In 1894, when Helena defeated Anaconda to claim the title of state capital

2. Who is the Montana author who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1950 for The Way West?

Answer: A. B. “Bud” Guthrie, Jr.

3. Who is the legendary American author, humorist, and storyteller who toured Montana in 1895 to mixed review and theater audiences of varying sizes?

Answer: Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens

4. Who was the Helena suffragist who delivered street-corner speeches, worked as Jeannette Rankin’s secretary in Washington, D.C., ran for the state Senate in 1932, and invented cardboard picture frames, Kleenex boxes, and Cheerios shaped like numbers?

Answer: Belle Fligelman Winestine

5. What is generally considered to be Montana’s earliest white settlement?

Answer: St. Mary’s Mission in Stevensville, established in 1841

6. Who was the University of Montana graduate awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry?

Answer: Harold C. Urey received the award in 1934

7. What were the 3 communities that served as territorial capitals for Montana?

Answer: Bannack, Virginia City, and Helena

8. In 1968, Elvis Presley starred in a movie that was loosely based on a novel by a Great Falls author. What is the name of the movie and the book, and who was the author?

Answer: “Stay Away Joe,” written by Dan Cushman

9. On what date was the Dempsey-Gibbons heavyweight championship fight staged in Shelby, and who won the fight?

Answer: On July 4, 1923, Dempsey won a decision over Gibbons in the 15-round bout

10. From October 3 through October 31 of what year was the Helena area rocked by an extended series of devastating earthquakes?

Answer: 1935

11. What Montana city inspired crime author Dashiell Hammett to write Red Harvest (1929)?

Answer: Butte

12. In what town was the temporary White House established for President Teddy Roosevelt when he visited Montana in 1902?

Answer: Cinnabar, at the end of the Northern Pacific line

13. What was the first incorporated town in Montana?

Answer: Virginia City, in 1864

14. For what paper did the Montana newspaper editor who won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the devastating 1964 floods work, and what was his name?

Answer: Mel Ruder of the (Columbia Falls) Hungry Horse News

15. What was the name of the 1954 movie in which Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyk starred, and which was both set and filmed in Montana?

Answer: “The Cattle Queen of Montana”

16. According to local legend, what huge underwater monster lives in Flathead Lake?

Answer: The “Flathead Lake Monster”

17. Who was the Montana territorial secretary and acting territorial governor who died mysteriously at the Fort Benton levee in 1867?

Answer: Thomas Francis Meagher

18. Who was the U.S. Senator from Montana selected in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to become his U.S. Attorney General but died 2 days prior to assuming his post?

Answer: Thomas J. Walsh

19. What 3 rivers combine near Three Forks to form the Missouri River?

Answer: The Gallatin, the Madison, and the Jefferson

20. Who was the turn-of-the-century terrorist who tried to extort thousands of dollars from the Northern Pacific Railroad by performing a series of dynamite bombings statewide?

Answer: Isaac “Ike” Gravelle, Montana’s first Unabomber

21. What are the 7 Indian reservations in Montana?

Answer: Blackfeet, Rocky Boy’s, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, and Flathead

22. What is the English translation of Montana’s state motto, ‘Oro y Plata,’ which is curiously rendered in Spanish?

Answer: “Gold and silver”

23. Who was the distinguished politician from Montana who served as a U.S. representative, the majority leader of the U.S. Senate, and an ambassador to Japan?

Answer: Mike Mansfield

24. What are the states and Canadian provinces that share a common boundary with Montana?

Answer: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan

25. Who was the Blackfoot mixed-blood known as the first woman to hold an elective office in Montana?

Answer: Helen Piotopowaka Clarke, who gained this distinction by winning the post of Lewis and Clark County superintendent of schools in 1882

26. Montana’s river systems ultimately empty into what 3 bodies of water?

Answer: The Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean), the Pacific Ocean, and Hudson’s Bay (Arctic Ocean)

27. In what year did women receive the vote in Montana?

Answer: 1914

28. Montana is the 4th largest state in the Union, comprising 147,138 square miles or almost 95 million acres; it averages 550 miles from east to west and 275 miles from north to south. What 3 states are larger than Montana?

Answer: In descending order, Alaska, Texas, and California

29. What are the 3 major dam projects constructed in Montana for irrigation, electric power, and recreation?

Answer: Fort Peck, Yellowtail, and Libby

30. In what years did Captains Lewis and Clark lead their expedition through Montana?

Answer: 1805 and 1806

31. What native Montanan (later a Billings car dealer) was the only pitcher to hit a grand-slam homerun in World Series history?

Answer: Dave McNally

32. What are the 3 entrances to Yellowstone National Park that are located in Montana?

Answer: West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Cooke City

33. What record low temperature for the continental United States was documented in Montana?

Answer: -70°F at Rogers Pass (west of Great Falls) on January 20, 1954

34. In what year did Montana have 3 governors?

Answer: 1889 (Preston H. Leslie, Benjamin F. White, and Joseph K. Toole)

35. What was designated as Montana’s first state park?

Answer: The Lewis and Clark Caverns/Morrison Caves

36. What are the 5 dams running downstream located at Great Falls, Montana?

Answer: Black Eagle, Rainbow, Cochrane, Ryan, and Morony

37. What is the title of Charlie Russell’s mural masterpiece, located in the House chamber of the Montana Capitol?

Answer: “Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross’ Hole”

38. What is Montana’s official state tree?

Answer: Ponderosa pine

39. Montana’s first college—called the Montana Collegiate Institute—was established in what community?

Answer: Deer Lodge

40. The Museum of the Plains Indian is located in what Montana community?

Answer: Browning

Questions on Montana Natural Wonders

Glacier National Park, Montana

41. Within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and standing at an elevation of 12,807 feet above sea level, what is the highest natural point in Montana?

Answer: Granite Peak

42. What river in Montana is the longest contiguous river in the U.S. without a dam?

Answer: Yellowstone River

43. One of Montana’s most visited tourist attractions was also deemed “the most beautiful drive in America” by a CBS correspondent. What is the name of this section of U.S. Route 212 between Red Lodge and Cooke City?

Answer: Beartooth Highway

44. What large Rocky Mountain lake south of Glacier National Park in Montana is famous for being one of the world’s cleanest?

Answer: Flathead Lake

45. Fittingly, what is the name of the 190-foot-deep, 6-mile-long body of water in Cameron, Montana created by a seismic event?

Answer: Earthquake Lake

46. What U.S. national park, located in the northwest corner of Montana, has the nickname “Crown of the Continent”?

Answer: Glacier National Park

47. In what Montana settlement, sharing its name with the local emergence of geothermally heated groundwater, was the first luge run in the United States constructed?

Answer: Lolo Hot Springs

48. At the Montana/Idaho border in the northwest, which river marks the lowest point in Montana as it exits the state?

Answer: Kootenai River

49. What is the name of Montana’s largest state park, derived from a Lakota phrase meaning “land of bad spirits”, and known for its badlands and dinosaur fossils?

Answer: Makoshika State Park

50. How many named mountain ranges does Montana have?

Answer: 77

51. What is the name of Montana’s shortest river in the United States, measuring just over 200 feet and named for the fish eggs common at the nearby State Fish Hatchery?

Answer: Roe River

52. What is the name of the dam that was constructed at the outlet of Polson Bay on Flathead Lake in 1930, resulting in a 10-foot increase in the lake’s water level, and still exists today?

Answer: Kerr Dam

Questions on Montana Climate and Outdoor Adventures

A snowy view of Big Sky Resort in Montana.
source: commons.wikimedia.org

53. Montana had the first course for what type of 4-letter activity in the United States? Built at Lolo Hot Springs on Lolo Pass in 1965, this high-speed sporting event is a dangerous Winter Olympics sport.

Answer: Luge

54. What ski resort in southwestern Montana proudly claims to host the “Biggest Skiing in America”?

Answer: Big Sky Resort

55. What is the name of the attraction in Butte, Montana, a former open-pit copper mine, where you can pay to see toxic waste, including 40 billion gallons of acidic water, heavy metals, and unique microscopic lifeforms?

Answer: The Berkeley Pit

56. Montana has 450 miles of named rivers and creeks that are known for their “blue-ribbon” what?

Answer: Trout fishing

57. What is the most traditional outdoor adventure in Montana?

Answer: Horseback Riding

58. The climate is getting warmer in Montana and the glaciers in Glacier National Park have receded and are predicted to do what in a few decades?

Answer: Melt away completely

59. Winters are now warmer, and have fewer cold spells that used to kill off the what in Montana?

Answer: Bark beetles, which are now attacking the forests of western Montana

Trivia Questions on the State of Montana

A paper with the word trivia on it and a pen, notebook, and a book on a desk.

60. What 4-word, 16-letter phrase has often been used by Montanans to describe their home state? The phrase was also the title of a 1990 anthology of Montana stories edited by William Kittredge.

Answer: The Last Best Place

61. Although it has a name that sounds more like an unpleasant additive to a salad, what is the official state flower of Montana?

Answer: Bitterroot

62. Where was the richest gold placer digging discovered?

Answer: Alder Gulch, where the town of Virginia City was established

63. Flathead Lake, Red Lodge, Bozeman, Harvest Moon, and Blackfoot River are all names of what type of company is located in Montana? They are all part of an industry that has exploded in popularity across the U.S. in the 2010s.

Answer: Breweries

64. What “rich” phrase is the official state nickname of Montana?

Answer: The Treasure State

65. Electric, Dooley, and Copperopolis are 3 communities in Montana that share what haunted condition?

Answer: Ghost towns

66. The county seat of Valley County in northeast Montana shares its name with what Scottish city?

Answer: Glasgow

67. How many dams are there on the Missouri River?

Answer: 10

68. Gold output in Montana from 1862 through 1876 reached how many dollars?

Answer: $144 million

69. Montana’s rivers drain into what 3 major bodies of water?

Answer: The Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay

70. Two “Copper Kings” competed to determine Montana’s state capital in the late 1800s. Helena was the winning option. Who was the reptilian runner-up?

Answer: Anaconda

71. Excluding Alaska, Montana has the largest breeding population of what “musical” type of swan?

Answer: Trumpeter swan

72. After the glacial dams collapsed in what gigantic lake that now shares its name with the second-largest city in Montana, did the land that would later become Portland get flooded in the prehistoric era?

Answer: Lake Missoula

73. Introduced by Montana Senator James E. Murray, the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959 paved the way for what U.S. government agencies to form in 1970?

Answer: The Environmental Protection Agency

74. Fort Benton, Montana’s first fort, was purchased by the U.S. Army in 1865. Initially, the settlement was established as a trading post for what commodity in 1847?

Answer: Fur

75. Happening in the southeastern portion of Montana, Custer’s Last Stand occurred during what battle during the Great Sioux War of 1876?

Answer: Battle of the Little Bighorn

76. The town of Ekalaka, Montana was named for the daughter of what famous Sioux chief?

Answer: Sitting Bull

77. How many presidents have called Montana their home state?

Answer: Zero

78. What is the only city in Montana with a population over 100,000?

Answer: Billings

79. What is the “G” name associated with hotel Bibles because of a religious organization that places the tomes on bedside tables? The first of these Bibles was placed in a hotel in Superior, Montana.

Answer: Gideons Bible

80. Montana’s counties include Big Horn as well as which other related one, named for a 19th-century general who was born in Ohio but died in Montana?

Answer: Custer

81. Yellowstone, the first national park in the U.S. is often considered the first national park in the world. This park technically lies within Montana and what 2 other states?

Answer: Wyoming and Idaho

82. What is the two-word name for the white buffalo born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in 1933 and now on display in Helena?

Answer: Big Medicine

83. Near the town of Three Forks, the Folkvord family is well-known in Montana for founding what grains company? The company’s products are distributed throughout the region and claim to be grown at the highest elevation of any grains in the U.S.

Answer: Wheat Montana

84. What pair of famous expeditioners is the namesake of a state park of limestone caverns in Montana?

Answer: Lewis and Clark

85. As of the most recent census, nearly 95% of Montanans speak English at home. What is the second-most-spoken language in the state?

Answer: Spanish

86. Adapted into a TV miniseries, what “avian” 1985 novel by Larry McMurtry focuses on a pair of retired Texas Rangers and their crew as they drive a herd of cattle to Montana?

Answer: Lonesome Dove

87. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery passed through the Rocky Mountains at Lemhi Pass, which crosses from what is now Montana into what bordering state?

Answer: Idaho

88. Of the many native nations currently living in Montana, which group was the first to arrive? This Siouan-language people are named after a bird.

Answer: The Crow

89. Although the town has a population of less than 2,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census, what Montana municipality boasts a state-owned airport, dozens of lodging establishments, and a neighboring National Park?

Answer: West Yellowstone

90. When Glacier National Park was officially christened as a National Park in 1910, what man was the U.S. President?

Answer: William Howard Taft

91. By number of square miles, what U.S. state is the closest size in area to Montana’s 147,000 square miles?

Answer: California

92. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, which of Montana’s 20 largest cities had the highest share of Native Americans at approximately 16% of all city residents?

Answer: Polson

93. Along with the “Treasure State” and “The Last Best Place,” one of Montana’s state nicknames is the “Land of the ______ Mountains.” What word fills in the blank?

Answer: Shining

94. What 2013 black-and-white film follows the journey of a Montana man as he drives south to claim a sweepstakes prize? The film is named after a state, but that state is not Montana.

Answer: Nebraska

95. According to the Bozeman Daily, what chain restaurant had the most locations in Montana as of 2015? The eatery was nearing the triple digit mark with 93 open establishments.

Answer: Subway

Questions on Montana Personalities

Three young women are looking at a tablet computer in Montana.

96. Known for his 1986-1993 stint on Saturday Night Live and his role as Garth Algar in the Wayne’s World films, what Montanan comedian was born in Missoula in 1955?

Answer: Dana Carvey

97. What “Zen Master” professional sports coach was born in Deer Lodge, Montana? This man later became iconic during coaching stints in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Answer: Phil Jackson

98. What famous Montanan was born in Butte in 1938 and rose to national fame after changing his name (birth name: Robert Craig)? After a career of increasingly impressive stunts, he publicly converted to Christianity later in life and was baptized at a televised congregation.

Answer: Evel Knievel

99. What American sportscaster was raised in Billings, Montana, and rose to fame as one of the original members of the program “The NFL Today”? This man worked for CBS Sports, ESPN, and ABC before eventually retiring in January 2017.

Answer: Brent Musburger

100. “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” is a collection of stories published in 1976 that created a surge of interest in both fly fishing and the state of Montana for outdoor tourism. Who was the American author who wrote this book?

Answer: Norman Maclean

101. What “R” 20th-century woman, an early social worker and fervent suffragette, later made history in 1917 when she was elected to the U.S. House Of Representatives out of Montana?

Answer: Jeannette Rankin

101 Questions About Montana Final Thoughts

A man pondering with his hand on his chin.

Montana is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of history, natural wonders, and thrilling outdoor adventures.

From the iconic Glacier National Park to the famous Yellowstone National Park, this state is a haven for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Montana’s rich history is showcased through notable figures like William Clark, who embarked on a historic expedition with Meriwether Lewis.

The state’s diverse landscapes add to its natural beauty and allure.

With its fascinating trivia and interesting facts, Montana leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Whether you’re exploring the vibrant cities or venturing into the arid lands, Montana never fails to charm with its breathtaking natural beauty and historical sites. 

Explore Montana further by giving these other articles a read:

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding PocketMontana.com was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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