Montana in September: Weather, Things to Do, and Events

Thinking about heading over to Montana this September?

Planning a trip can be tough when you aren’t sure what to expect.

Well, I’m here to help ease your worries and guide you through Big Sky Country’s best offerings in September.

Today, I’ll share valuable tips about the weather, top attractions, and exciting events in Montana during this special time of the year.

My insider knowledge should ensure an amazing trip without confusion or doubts.

Whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple seeking a romantic escape, or as a family looking for a fun adventure, this article holds valuable insights.

I’ll guide you through Montana’s stunning landscapes, vibrant festivals, and captivating experiences this September. I’m excited to share the wonders of the Treasure State with you!

Montana in September: Reasons to Visit

A river running through a forest in Montana.

In late September, Glacier National Park transforms into an array of colors.

The aspen and cottonwood trees burst into vibrant shades of gold, amber, and fiery red, creating a lovely landscape against the majestic backdrop of the park’s mountains and lakes.

One of the notable perks of visiting Montana in September is the decrease in tourist crowds. As summer vacationers return home and schools resume, the park and surrounding areas become more peaceful and serene.

It’s an excellent opportunity to explore without the usual hustle and bustle, providing a chance for personal reflection and connection with the environment.

However, some facilities in Yellowstone National Park begin to close as the summer season winds down.

Visitors should check the National Park Service website or contact park authorities for updated information regarding the closure dates of lodges, visitor centers, campgrounds, and other facilities within the park to plan their trip accordingly.

This information helps travelers prepare for limited amenities and potentially plan alternative accommodations or dining options.

Montana in September: Weather Conditions

A stream flows through an undergrowth with mountains in the background in Montana.

September in Montana brings a shift in weather, marking the transition from Montana’s August warmth to the crispness of autumn.

Travelers can expect varied conditions, from sunny days perfect for outdoor activities to occasional rainfall and cooler evenings, making it advisable to pack layers for this transitional month.

Average Temperatures During September

A river flows through a Montana forest.

LocationAverage Temperature
°F (°C) 
Warmest Temperature Mean
°F (°C)
Coldest Temperature Mean
°F (°C)
Precipitation (inches)
Billings64.7°F (18.2°C)79.4°F (26.3°C)49.9°F (9.9°C)0.63″
Kalispell58.3°F (14.6°C)71.9°F (22.2°C)44.7°F (7.1°C)0.65″
Missoula58.5°F (14.7°C)73.1°F (22.8°C)44.1°F (6.7°C)1.32″
Bozeman60.4°F (15.8°C)74.3°F (23.5°C)46.3°F (7.9°C)2.10″
Helena59.2°F (15.1°C)72.3°F (22.4°C)46.2°F (7.9°C)2.56″
West Yellowstone49.2°F (9.6°C)66.3°F (19.1°C)32.2°F (0.1°C)1.91″

West Yellowstone stands out as the coldest spot, with its consistently cooler temperatures compared to the other locations.

Its lowest recorded temperatures are notably lower than elsewhere, making it the chilliest spot on average.

On the contrary, Billings enjoys the mildest weather among these locations. Its maximum temperatures are relatively higher, contributing to the overall milder climate.

September’s daily temperatures in Billings are more comfortable, with the warmest mean temperature surpassing other places.

When comparing precipitation levels, Helena and Bozeman experience the highest amounts among these locations.

These areas receive more rainfall compared to others in this selection. Meanwhile, Billings and West Yellowstone have lower levels of precipitation.

What to Wear in Montana During September

A woman wearing a hat and backpack in Montana.

In September, Montana’s weather can be quite unpredictable, making preparedness crucial.

Fluctuating temperatures and potential rain necessitate planned clothing choices for comfort and protection.

Layered clothing is very important due to temperature fluctuations in September. Start with a light, moisture-wicking base layer to manage sweat and maintain comfort during active pursuits.

Follow with a warm insulating layer, like a fleece or lightweight jacket, to retain heat in cooler moments.

An outer layer that’s waterproof and windproof is vital to shield against rain showers or sudden gusts.

Don’t forget waterproof outerwear, especially a reliable jacket or coat. Sturdy, waterproof footwear is a must, particularly for traversing wet trails or encountering rainy conditions.

Moisture-wicking fabrics offer immense benefits in managing perspiration during outdoor activities.

They help keep you dry and comfortable, especially when temperatures vary throughout the day.

Comfortable and sturdy hiking boots are essential for tackling Montana’s diverse terrains.

Opt for footwear that provides ankle support and traction to navigate rocky or uneven surfaces.

Hats and sunglasses shield from the sun’s rays are also essential, while sunscreen is crucial for exposed skin.

Don’t forget to prepare thick warm hats and gloves for cooler mornings and evenings, ensuring you stay comfortable throughout the day, especially as temperatures fluctuate.

Montana in September: 5 Things To Do

A lush valley in Montana, adorned with a river and embraced by a thriving forest.

Montana’s September weather provides a colorful mix of outdoor activities and outdoor experiences.

This month welcomes visitors to explore its stunning natural wonders, engage in outdoor adventures, and experience local festivities, showcasing the essence of the state as summer transitions to autumn.

1. Discover Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in Montana.

Glacier National Park in September offers a plethora of exciting activities for visitors.

Visitors can explore Glacier National Park by driving the renowned Going-to-the-Sun Road, hiking through stunning landscapes, observing wildlife, and enjoying the beautiful fall foliage, catering to various interests and preferences.

This month offers an excellent opportunity for adventurers due to lowered entry fees and decreased crowds, creating a tranquil environment ideal for fully appreciating the park’s natural splendor.

However, be mindful of potential road closures along the Going-to-the-Sun Road due to unpredictable weather conditions.

It’s advisable to regularly check for road status updates to plan your visit accordingly.

In this month, the park operates on a first-come, first-serve basis for campgrounds, offering a chance for spontaneous camping adventures.

Considering the presence of bears in the park, visitors are strongly advised to carry bear spray and hike in groups for safety.

Being vigilant and following recommended safety guidelines ensures a secure and enjoyable experience while exploring Glacier National Park.

2. Embark on an Adventure to Yellowstone National Park

Sunrise over a river in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park offers a range of fun activities in September, including ranger-led programs and wildlife-watching opportunities.

The park provides excellent chances to witness wildlife like elk, bison, bears, and wolves, especially during the elk rut mating season, showcasing distinctive mating behaviors.

Yellowstone’s scenic drives also reveal fall colors with its diverse landscapes, geothermal features, and colorful hot springs, ideal for sightseeing and photography.

Backpacking and llama trek activities can give you serene experiences in the park’s wilderness during the fall season.

Some of the notable options for llama treks and backpacking include:

  • Bechler River Llama Trek –This trek is considered the crown jewel of Yellowstone’s backcountry hiking, offering a multi-day hiking and camping experience with the support of pack llamas.
  • Paradise Valley Llama Treks – Yellowstone Llamas, a woman-owned business located north of Yellowstone National Park, offers llama treks in Paradise Valley.

September in Yellowstone marks the elk rut, a prime time for observing this natural phenomenon.

Campgrounds remain open during the month, allowing visitors to appreciate the park’s fall colors while camping.

3. Uncover the Wonders of Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake in Montana.

Nestled near Bigfork Village, Flathead Lake offers an array of attractions and activities for visitors, making it a must-see destination.

The lake presents a range of attractions and activities for visitors including:

  • Wild Horse Island State Park – The island is home to a herd of wild horses. Visitors can enjoy hiking, and picnicking on the island. The park also provides opportunities for fishing, and water-based activities along the shores of Flathead Lake.
  • Yellow Bay State Park – Yellow Bay State Park is known for its picturesque setting and provides access to the pristine waters of Flathead Lake. Visitors can engage in activities such as swimming, camping, picnicking, and water sports at Yellow Bay State Park.
  • Bigfork Village – Bigfork Village is a charming community located on the northeast shore of the Lake. The village is known for its artistic culture, galleries, shops, and restaurants, offering a unique blend of arts, entertainment, and outdoor recreation.

With so many wonders to uncover at Flathead Lake, it’s no wonder that visitors are drawn to this beautiful and diverse destination. 

4. Experience Fly Fishing

A woman is fishing in a river with mountains in the background in Montana.

September is a great time for fly fishing in Montana. You can catch different kinds of fish like trout, salmon, and bass.

For fly fishing, specialized gear is needed, including a fly rod, reel, and different types of flies that mimic insects or baitfish.

The fly reel holds the fly line, crucial for casting the fly. Flies, tied to a hook, imitate various insects or baitfish to lure fish.

You can fish in some of Montana’s famous rivers for fly fishing, such as the Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Madison River, Jefferson River, and the Bighorn River.

These rivers are renowned for exceptional fly fishing opportunities, making them favored destinations for anglers in September.

5. Drive Along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road offers a scenic drive through stunning alpine scenery with access to picturesque viewpoints like Logan Pass.

The road is adorned with vibrant fall foliage especially in late September, creating a beautiful backdrop for travelers amid the crisp autumn air.

While Going-to-the-Sun Road usually stays open the entire September, it might close earlier due to changing weather conditions.

Despite being a quieter time, the road can still get busy, so planning is wise.

Visitors can consider using the free National Park Service Shuttles for easier navigation.

Weather in Glacier National Park during September can be unpredictable, varying from snow to rain and cold temperatures.

To stay comfortable, it’s essential to dress in layers and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Montana in September: Events and Festivals

Mountains in Glacier National Park

Montana in September is a vibrant and colorful time of year, with an array of events and festivals that showcase the unique culture and beauty of the state.

Montana State University Homecoming

Montana State University

Montana State University’s Homecoming Week in 2023, held last September 25th to September 30th, was a vibrant celebration featuring all kinds of engaging activities.

Among the highlights were a spirited parade, a delightful Homecoming BBQ, a high-energy Pep Rally, and a lively Tailgate event, among others.

Montana State University’s Homecoming provides a fantastic opportunity for students, alumni, and the local community to gather and showcase their support for the university in Bozeman.

Participating in these events allowed individuals to demonstrate their pride in the university.

It also served as an excellent event to have new connections, meet fellow locals, and enjoy the vibrant culture of the town of Bozeman.

Looking forward, the scheduled dates for Montana State University’s Homecoming in 2024 have not been announced yet.

For those interested you can visit the Montana State University website for a closer look into the event details of their Homecoming.

Montana Brewers Fall Rendezvous

A person pouring beer into a glass at a Montana brewpub.

The Montana Brewers Fall Rendezvous is an annual Brewfest held in Missoula, celebrating the state’s thriving craft beer scene.

The 2023 event took place on September 29 at Caras Park.

Montana Brewers Fall Rendezvous is a celebration of Montana-made craft beer, offering unlimited samples that showcase the creativity of local brewers.

Alongside the beer, attendees can enjoy a variety of food options from different vendors, perfectly complementing the diverse beer selections.

Plus, live music makes the whole Brewfest more fun.

As of now, there are no details available for the schedule of the Montana Brewers Fall Rendezvous in 2024.

You can visit the official Montana Brewers Association website for more information about the event.

Chokecherry Festival

A tree with red berries hanging from its branches.

The Chokecherry Festival held in Lewistown, Montana, is a jubilant celebration that marks the harvest of chokecherries.

The 34th year of the event took place on September 9, 2023, on Main Street in Lewistown with its vibrant activities.

Chokecherry Festival boasts a variety of activities, including a lively parade, electrifying live music, tempting food vendors, a relaxing beer garden, an impressive car show, and a delightful quilt show.

It also offers an invigorating 5K run and a joyful children’s carnival, ensuring something enjoyable for everyone attending.

Visitors have the delightful opportunity to sample and purchase an array of chokecherry-based products like jams, jellies, syrups, and delectable baked goods, highlighting the versatility of this unique fruit.

For those eager to be part of this fantastic celebration, get all the details when you drop by the official Chokecherry Festival website.

Montana in September Final Thoughts

A stream winding through a forest in Montana.

Montana in September is a time of beautiful seasonal transition and exciting things to do.

In the later days of this month, the landscapes turn into a mix of colorful autumn shades, inviting everyone to enjoy nature’s beauty.

The weather switches from warm days to cooler nights, making it perfect for outdoor activities.

You can explore Glacier National Park with its amazing fall colors, see wildlife in Yellowstone, or visit the lovely Flathead Lake.

Plus, there are fun events like university celebrations, beer festivals, and local harvest gatherings like the Chokecherry Festival.

It’s important to wear or prepare some thick layers for the changing weather to stay comfy while you explore.

Whether admiring nature’s colors or joining local events, September in Montana promises to be an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Montana in September FAQs

1. What Is the Warmest Month in Montana?

The warmest month typically tends to be July.

During July, temperatures across the state often reach their highest points, making it the warmest month on average.

2. How Was the Weather Last September?

September 2023 was an overall wet month with warmer than normal temperatures, Due to persistent wet/humid conditions through the late summer, the wildfire season remained quiet.

3. What Is the Best Weather in Montana?

The best time to explore Montana varies based on your preferences and the activities you enjoy.

Summer, spanning from July to early September, stands as the peak season, drawing visitors with its warm weather and a diverse range of outdoor pursuits.

Autumn also offers a wonderful opportunity to visit, characterized by cooler temperatures, reduced crowds, and stunning displays of fall colors.

4. Is September Too Late to Visit Glacier National Park?

It’s not too late to visit Glacier National Park in September; in fact, it’s a great time to explore the park during this period.

While most businesses and services are open during Glacier’s summer season, which generally runs from late May through September, the fall season offers its unique charm.

In September, the park is less crowded, and the trees are turning colors by mid-September.

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Written by:

Elizabeth Hawley
Hey, fellow travelers! I'm Elizabeth Hawley, stepping into the world in the hues of fall. For me, Montana is more than just a state; it's a muse. The golden aspen trees and russet landscapes in the fall have always fueled my creativity. Co-founding was a no-brainer, blending my love for art, photography, and Montana's ever-changing palette.

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