What is the best way to kick-start spring, you ask? Instead of wandering aimlessly, let me suggest an answer that is truly worth it: a trip to Montana in April.
In this article, we’ll explore the splendors and subtleties of Big Sky Country during April. From events to activities to the nitty-gritty of visiting the state, this guide covers it all.
We’ll delve into the upside and downside arguments of a springtime visit, and I’ll even share a few of my own experiences to give you the inside scoop.
It’s a month when quiet winter beauty transitions into refreshing spring—a perfect blend of both seasons.
History buffs will find a cultural tapestry woven through Montana’s lively towns and heritage sites. And let’s not forget the foodies who can savor a bounty of seasonal delights while mingling with the locals.
- Related article: Best Time of Year to Visit Montana
So, whether you’re a seasoned Montana explorer looking for the state’s springtime gems or a newcomer curious about what makes this destination unique, this piece is a must-read.
Are you ready to discover a side of the state that only blooms in April? Let’s dive in!
Montana in April: Things to Know Before Visiting
Before traveling to Montana in April, it’s important to know what to expect.
From weather conditions and temperature changes to the best activities and attractions available, there is a lot of information to consider when planning your trip.
Make sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way by doing your research and learning about the area before you set off. With this information, you can make the most of every moment and have an awesome spring vacation in Montana!
Weather Conditions of Towns and Cities in Montana
April temperatures in Montana can vary significantly depending on the location.
This table provides a clear comparison of the average, minimum, and maximum temperatures for April 2023 in these 4 locations: Billings, Bozeman, Big Sky, and West Yellowstone.
Early April in Billings can be quite cold, so it’s important to dress accordingly to stay comfortable throughout the day. In comparison, Bozeman tends to be slightly colder during the same time of the month.
If you’re planning a visit to Big Sky, be aware that the weather there can be quite cold due to its elevation. Anticipate that there will be a gentle breeze in the area.
In West Yellowstone, temperatures can occasionally drop below freezing point even if it’s already April. So make sure to prepare before your trip.
It’s advisable to dress in layers to stay comfortable throughout the day, as some parts of Montana during the month, especially those with higher elevations, can still experience snowfall.
Montana’s weather in April can be a mix of seasonal climates, with fluctuating temperatures and the potential for precipitation, especially in the early part of the month.
Stay informed about any potential bad weather and adjust your plans accordingly.
Note: The temperature data used in this article is based on the PRISM Climate Group time-series data tool provided by Northwest Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering.
PRISM Climate Data provides detailed climate information about past and future weather conditions across the U.S., as well as other parts of the world.
Accessibility of National Parks in Montana
Montana in April comes alive with the thawing of winter and the emergence of Montana’s early spring glow.
One highlight of the month is the opening of the Glacier National Park perimeter.
The roads, walking trails, and biking trails in Glacier National Park in April become more accessible for hikers and bikers, providing opportunities to explore and witness the beautiful views of this majestic park.
If you’re visiting, it’s important to note that lodgings within the park remain closed during this time of month.
Similarly, in Yellowstone National Park, many facilities are still closed during April.
But don’t fret, select roads and the west entrance to Yellowstone will begin to reopen around mid-April, granting visitors more access to the park’s sites and interior.
To ensure a smooth trip, it’s advisable to check the road status before entering the park.
April is also a prime time to spot a variety of wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a nice center to learn more about these wild creatures and their natural habitat.
While visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Park in April, it’s important to be prepared for winter conditions and limited access to certain areas.
But for those who don’t mind the colder temperatures, this time of year offers a unique opportunity to experience the parks with fewer crowds and witness the beautiful spring scenery in its serene state.
Visiting Montana’s national parks in April can award you with a fun experience that you will never forget!
So be prepared, dress in layers for the unpredictable weather, and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of spring that only the Treasure State can offer.
Things to Know When Travelling Around Montana
In April, Montana welcomes visitors with open arms as the interstate highways are generally open with good driving conditions.
However, it’s important to note that smaller highways, especially those winding through the sizable mountains, may still be closed due to lingering winter weather.
So, if you’re planning to travel to Montana in April by road, then it’s advisable to check the road conditions before taking off.
For those seeking an alternative way to reach the famous Glacier National Park, consider taking the Empire Builder Train.
Operating from connected cities, this rail trip not only provides a cheaper option but also treats passengers to breathtaking views of Montana’s picturesque landscapes along the way.
So if you’re opting to visit the state around April, don’t worry! I will guide you through the things that you can do during this time to make sure your spring trip will be memorable and enjoyable.
Montana in April: Things to Do
I recently visited Montana last April and I can tell that if you don’t mind the chilly weather, then this is a great time to explore Montana’s spring scenery and do a wide range of outdoor activities.
Here is a list of things that you should try whenever you plan to visit Montana in April:
1. Take a Bike Ride in Glacier National Park
Biking in Glacier National Park is a beautiful experience that offers gorgeous views and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
One of the highlights of biking in Glacier National Park is the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. In April, hikers and bikers can enjoy a more relaxed pace in the park before it is fully opened to vehicular traffic.
Glacier Guides offers eBike rentals for only around $30 for 1 to 2 days, making it easier to navigate the road’s elevation changes.
There are other biking options in the Glacier Country. One such option is exploring the family-friendly Apgar Bike Path, perfect for a leisurely ride.
While biking through Glacier Park, always remember to carry bear spray and be prepared for the unpredictable weather.
You can also choose to do a moderate hike while biking in places such as the majestic Avalanche Lake with its alpine views. Glacier National Park in April is truly the perfect time for a biking adventure.
So hop on a bike to explore the wonders of this majestic park, where great experiences and the park’s natural beauty await discovery on 2 wheels.
2. Visit Flathead Lake and View the Cherry Blossoms
Visiting Flathead Lake in April is a treat for the senses, as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, with their pink and white petals. It’s a sight that truly captures the essence of spring’s arrival.
As I drive along Montana Highway 35, the scenic route leading to this amazing lake, I can’t help but be in awe of the views of the mountains and lush orchards.
Flathead Lake is renowned for its cherry orchards, and some offer a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the blooming blossoms.
For those who prefer to explore on foot, there are walking trails and accessible trails that meander through the orchards.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, there are nearby hikes that offer amazing views of the lake and its blossoming surroundings.
If you’re opting to visit, take note that the cherry orchids in Flathead Lake, typically bloom in late April to mid-May, depending on the weather. So, make sure to check the forecast before going.
This lake in April is a hidden gem, where nature’s beauty takes center stage. The cherry blossoms create a magical atmosphere that is both serene and enchanting.
So take a scenic drive, breathe in the fragrant air, and don’t miss the beauty of the cherry blossoms at Flathead Lake.
3. Enjoy Fishing in Rock Creek
When it comes to fishing in Montana, there exists a prime spot that every angler should experience.
Located in Western Montana, Rock Creek is a Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery that offers an awesome fly fishing experience in April.
This time of the month is considered the prime fly fishing season. It’s when there are a lot of great hatches on Rock Creek.
Here’s a list of hatches you can expect to see in April:
- Skwala Stonefly
- Western March Brown
- Blue-Winged Olives
These hatches create a feeding frenzy among the trout, making it the perfect time to cast your line.
The creek is home to various trout species, including Cutthroat, Brown, Bull, and Rainbow trout, with an estimated 2,000 trout per mile. It’s truly a haven for anglers.
To catch these magnificent fish, there are a variety of fishing techniques that prove effective in April.
Nymphing with Blue blue-winged olives and Skwala stonefly imitations is a popular choice, as well as dry fly fishing when the hatches are active.
What makes Rock Creek so special is its mostly free-flowing nature and classic Western trout water characteristics that only a few states including Montana have.
It’s a place where you can truly engage yourself in nature while enjoying a day of fishing.
So, if you’re looking for an awesome fishing experience in April, head to Rock Creek in Western Montana. This pristine creek will provide you with a fishing adventure like no other.
4. Tour the Bison Range in Mission Mountains
Touring the Bison Range in the Mission Mountains of Northwestern Montana is an absolute must for wildlife enthusiasts.
Last April, I had the opportunity to travel along the scenic West Loop, a drive that offers breathtaking views and the chance to witness the Bison Range’s diverse wildlife firsthand.
The Bison Range is home to a wide array of wildlife, such as:
- Mule Deers
- Bighorn Sheep
- Black Bear
- Trumpeter Swans
Although the full Red Sleep Drive, a 19-mile-long one-way drive through the range, opens in early May, the West Loop still provides ample opportunities for wildlife sightings during April.
As I drove, I encountered several of these magnificent creatures grazing peacefully in their natural habitat.
One of the highlights of my visit was spotting baby bison, which are often born during the spring season. These adorable little ones added an extra touch of wonder to my wildlife-watching experience.
The Bison Range’s knowledgeable staff at their visitor center informed me that April is a prime time to see these baby animals romping around, captivating visitors with their playful antics.
For those looking to immerse themselves in nature and witness an abundance of wildlife, touring the Bison Range in the Mission Mountains is an incredible opportunity.
The stunning scenery, diverse animal sightings, and accessibility of the West Loop make it an unforgettable experience.
Don’t miss the chance to connect with nature and witness the wonders of the Bison Range in April.
5. Enjoy Stand-up Paddleboard at Whitefish Lake
Stand-up paddleboarding on Whitefish Lake in Western Montana is a great addition to your April trip.
In the serene month of April, Whitefish Lake’s calm waters create the perfect setting for enjoying stand-up paddleboarding.
Whether you’re a seasoned paddleboarder or a beginner looking to try something new, Whitefish Lake is suitable for all skill levels.
You have the option to bring your paddleboard or conveniently rent one from various providers in the area, such as Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours, Inc. at Whitefish Lake State Park.
As you glide across the glassy surface of the lake, the majestic peaks create a stunning backdrop to your paddleboarding ride, adding an extra touch of awe to your experience.
The calm waters of this alpine lake also make it a family-friendly activity. So, grab your loved ones and spend quality time together on the paddleboard, creating memories that you surely will never forget.
So, if you’re seeking a unique and memorable way to explore the beauty of Western Montana, stand-up paddleboarding on Whitefish Lake in April is the perfect choice.
6. Take a Trip to Downtown Missoula
In April, Missoula is the place to be. It’s a few degrees warmer than those other western Montana cities, making it the perfect spot to soak up the spring weather.
If you’re looking for a little retail therapy, the city will not disappoint. The streets are lined with unique shops, offering everything from trendy fashion boutiques to quirky antique stores.
And when you’ve worked up an appetite, the dining scene is on point. From farm-to-table restaurants to cozy cafes, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
But it’s not just about shopping and dining. The entertainment options in downtown Missoula are top-notch.
In April, make sure to catch a live show at Missoula’s historic Wilma Theatre, known for its incredible acoustics and intimate atmosphere.
And speaking of history, the downtown area is home to some historical architecture. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the beautiful historical buildings such as:
- Wilma Building
- Headquarters Building/Daily Annex
- Missoula Carnegie Public Library
- Florence Hotel
Along the way, be sure to stop by the local brewpubs, distilleries, and cider companies for a taste of the unique flavors of Missoula.
And let’s not forget the outdoor opportunities that are just a stone’s throw away. The Missoula Carousel is a hit with visitors of all ages, and the adjacent trail in Riverfront offers a beautiful trail for walking or biking.
So whether you’re looking for a fun experience or a beautiful one, downtown Missoula has it all.
April Events in Montana
As we bid farewell to the snowy landscapes of winter, Montana comes alive with a range of exciting events in April.
Here are events that you shouldn’t miss if you are visiting Montana in April
1. Whitefish Pond Skim
April in Montana is a time when the snow begins to melt, and the excitement in the air is palpable.
One event that truly captures the spirit of this transition in April is the Annual Whitefish Pond Skim in Whitefish. It’s a wet and wacky celebration of the end of the ski season that leaves everyone in joy.
This year, on April 8, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Whitefish Pond Skim took place at the renowned Whitefish Mountain Resort.
This ski weekend event has costumed participants. The participants not only showcase their skiing and snowboarding skills but also their creativity and fearlessness.
But the fun doesn’t stop with the daring skiers. The Whitefish Pond Skim draws a massive crowd of spectators who cheer on the participants, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
It’s a spectacle of laughter, adrenaline, and anticipation, as everyone waits to see who will conquer the pond and who will take a refreshing dip.
The Pond Skim gives you a chance to win a $1,050 cash purse.
So, whether you’re a participant or a spectator, the Annual Whitefish Pond Skim promises an amazing experience and a fitting farewell to the ski season.
If you’re in Whitefish in April, make sure you don’t miss out on this incredible event that truly embodies the spirit of the coming of spring.
2. Taste of Bigfork
Attending the Taste of Bigfork event in April is an absolute treat for the senses.
As an avid food lover, I couldn’t help but indulge in the incredible array of local delicacies and beverages that were on offer.
Held annually during April in Bigfork, Montana, this event is a celebration of the town’s culinary expertise and vibrant culture.
Exploring the town’s downtown area, I came across many participating restaurants and breweries, each offering unique dishes and drinks.
From mouth-watering appetizers to delectable desserts, the variety of flavors was simply outstanding. There was an opportunity to savor dishes from renowned establishments, such as:
- The Raven Brew Pub
- Grille 459
- Stone Hill Kitchen and Bar
The event was hosted by the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce, which did an excellent job of ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all attendees.
The combination of delicious food, fine wine, and live music created a truly memorable ambiance.
The Taste of Bigfork event in April is a must-attend for any food enthusiast or localvore looking to experience the best of the region’s culinary delights.
Whether you’re a fan of traditional Montana fare or craving something a bit more exotic, Taste of Bigfork will not disappoint.
So mark your calendars and get ready for a truly delectable experience.
3. Kyiyo Pow Wow
I was able to attend the recent annual Kyiyo Pow Wow in Missoula last April 21-22, Montana and it was truly a captivating experience.
This significant cultural event, organized by the University of Montana’s Native American Student Association, showcases the rich heritage of Native American culture.
When I entered the Adams Center where the event was held, I was surrounded by the vibrant energy and captivating rhythms of traditional Native American dance, drumming, and singing.
The passion and skill displayed by the participants were awe-inspiring, and it was evident that this event holds deep meaning for indigenous people from across the nation and Montana.
The powwow provided a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the traditions and customs of Native American culture.
As I perused the craft vendors, I was amazed at the exquisite handmade jewelry, intricate beadwork, and beautifully crafted pottery.
The delicious aroma of traditional Native American cuisine filled the air, enticing me to sample dishes that delighted my taste buds with their rich flavors.
What makes the Kyiyo Pow Wow truly special is that it is open to everyone. Whether you are a spectator or want to actively participate, this event welcomes all with open arms.
The annual Kyiyo Pow Wow is a must-attend event in April for anyone interested in experiencing the vibrant spirit and cultural richness of Native American traditions in Montana.
It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and renewing the old traditions, while also fostering a sense of unity and understanding among diverse communities.
4. International Wildlife Film Festival
The International Wildlife Film Festival, an annual event held at the Roxy Theater in Missoula, Montana, is a true celebration of wildlife and conservation through film.
With the theater’s 4 cinema screens, micro-cinema, outdoor movie garden, and 35mm projection, attendees will be truly immersed in these wildlife documentaries and films.
This April event in Missoula event brings together the world’s top wildlife filmmakers, producers, scientists, and conservation leaders, attracting up to 12,000 people.
The festival showcases a curated selection of thought-provoking films that highlight the beauty and importance of nature and wildlife.
From stunning cinematography to gripping narratives, these films transport viewers to remote locations and offer a unique perspective on the animal kingdom.
The International Wildlife Film Festival also features a juried showcase and guest speakers who share their expertise and experiences in conservation.
Don’t miss the chance to be inspired and educated by the International Wildlife Film Festival, where filmmakers and conservationists come together to give importance to protecting our planet’s biodiversity.
5. Eureka Rendezvous Days
I attended the annual Eureka Rendezvous Days in April and was blown away by the vibrant energy and sense of community that permeated the event.
Held on the last weekend of April, this festival has become a beloved tradition in Eureka, Montana.
From the moment I arrived, I was immersed in a whirlwind of activities and entertainment.
The festival featured a diverse array of offerings, ranging from local talent showcases to live music performances that had the crowd dancing and singing along.
Classic cars lined the streets, showcasing the region’s automobile enthusiasts’ passion and dedication. The atmosphere was electric, buzzing with excitement and camaraderie.
One of the highlights of the festival was the Friday Night Kickoff Extravaganza. With great music and mouth-watering food, this event set the tone for an unforgettable event.
The atmosphere was infectious, and I found myself caught up in the infectious joy and enthusiasm of the crowd.
Eureka Rendezvous Days is truly a treasure of Montana, and I can’t wait to return next year for another incredible experience.
Montana in April Final Thoughts
April in Montana is a time of transition, as the chill of winter gives way to the promise of spring.
The landscape begins to awaken from its snowy slumber, transforming into a vibrant and greener canvas.
Biking trails in Glacier National Park are open, providing the perfect opportunity to explore great mountain views and experience the park’s natural beauty.
It is a time of community celebrations and events. From the Whitefish Pond Skim to the Taste of Bigfork, there are plenty of events to indulge in.
The annual Kyiyo Pow Wow, Eureka Rendezvous Days, and more showcase the rich history and traditions of the region.
Montana in April offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and community festivities.
Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape in nature or a vibrant cultural experience, this is the perfect time to visit Big Country Sky.
Montana in April FAQs
1. Can You See the Northern Lights in Montana in April?
Yes, it is possible to see the Northern Lights during the spring season, which includes the month of April.
However, it is important to note that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and can be unpredictable, so there is no guarantee that they will be visible during a specific time or location.
It is also recommended to check the forecast and conditions before attempting to view the Northern Lights.
2. How Much Snow Is in Montana in April?
The amount of snow in Montana in April can vary greatly depending on the location and year.
On April 12, 2022, Heavy snows were recorded in Billings, Montana.
Approximately 10-12 inches fell between roughly 6:00 a.m. and noon. Total snowfall at the Billings Airport on the 12th ended up being a whopping 13.9 inches.
The amount of snowfall is not the same every year. Some regions receive fewer amounts of snow.
3. What Is the Wettest Month in Montana?
The wettest month in Montana varies depending on the location and year.
June is generally the wettest month in Montana, with May being a close second. However, this can vary from year to year.
4. What Is the Hottest Month in Montana?
The hottest month in Montana varies depending on the location.
In Billings, the warmest time of year is generally mid-July, where highs are regularly around 86.5°F.
The Western Regional Climate Center also reports that July is the warmest month in Montana, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 74°F to 86.5°F recorded in different locations.
5. Is Glacier National Park Open in April?
Glacier National Park is open year-round, but park conditions and accessible areas vary greatly by season.
During the spring, lower elevations around the park usually melt out by the end of April, and hiking trails on the edges of the park tend to be accessible.
However, most services in the West Glacier do not reopen for the season until late May or early June, and accommodations inside the park are very limited.
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