13 Key Reasons to Visit Montana Immediately

Are you longing for an unforgettable adventure? Well, buckle up, because I’m about to let you in on a little secret: Montana is the ultimate destination that will leave you in awe.

So why should you pack your bags and head to the Treasure State? Well, I’ve got numerous compelling reasons that will have you itching to explore this rugged paradise.

From the mesmerizing beauty of Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park to the tranquil charm of Flathead Lake and Whitefish Mountain, the state’s breathtaking landscapes will leave you utterly spellbound. 

Plus, its rich history, genuine people, and historic lodges will whisk you away on a journey back in time.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a serene escape, Montana has it all.

Are you ready for a comprehensive insight into why you should include Big Sky Country on your bucket list? Let’s get started!

Reasons to Add Montana to Your Travel List

A captivating road in Montana with trees in the background.

Whether you’re seeking miles of hiking trails, the chance to spot grizzly bears and mountain goats, or simply a romantic getaway under the starry sky, Montana won’t disappoint.

Get lost in this breathtaking state and discover vacationing in scenic Montana is an experience like no other.

1. Montana’s Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, known as the “Crown of the Continent,” is a majestic wilderness that captivates adventurous souls like you and me.

With over 700 miles of trails, this park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts seeking pristine landscapes steeped in human history.

What sets Glacier National Park apart is its unique status as the world’s first international peace park, forming a seamless blend with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park.

This distinction has earned it the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As you explore this enchanting park, you can relive Montana’s glory days through its historic lodges, charming chalets, and the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road.

But the true magic of the park lies in its abundant wildlife.

Be prepared for thrilling encounters with mountain goats and bighorn sheep as they gracefully navigate the rugged terrain near Logan Pass.

Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the majestic grizzly bears, often spotted near Two Dog Flats on the park’s east side.

Explore the Jackson Glacier Overlook along Going-to-the-Sun Road, a prime location for viewing the majestic glaciers of Glacier National Park.

This prime location, situated on the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road between Logan Pass and St. Mary, offers a spectacular glimpse into the park’s incredible glacial-carved terrain.

Whether you love hiking or just enjoying nature’s beauty, the park has something for everyone.

With miles of hiking trails and an abundance of wildlife, this pristine wilderness is a true haven for outdoor lovers.

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Montana’s mesmerizing Glacier National Park with stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant wildlife.

2. Montana’s Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park is located in the western United States, spanning across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

While the majority of the park, about 96%, is in Wyoming, 3% of its magnificent 2.2 million acres lie within the borders of Montana.

Established on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park holds the distinction of being the very first national park in the world.

Its hydrothermal and geologic features are truly extraordinary, captivating travelers with its unique beauty.

In this vast expanse of wilderness, you have the chance to witness wildlife in their natural habitat.

Yellowstone’s intact ecosystem offers unparalleled opportunities to observe diverse species, creating truly unforgettable experiences.

What’s more, prepare to be amazed by Yellowstone National Park’s geothermal areas that house roughly half of the world’s active geysers.

This marvel of nature showcases the earth’s power and majesty, leaving visitors in awe.

And let’s not forget the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. This breathtaking sight is a testament to the forces of nature at work.

As you stand on the edge, gazing down at the towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls, you’ll understand why it’s an absolute must-see.

If you’re seeking travel inspiration, look no further than Yellowstone National Park.

With its rugged mountain ranges, millions of acres to explore, and an abundance of natural wonders, it’s a perfect destination for adventure and discovery.

3. Montana’s Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake in Montana

As the largest natural body of freshwater in the western United States, Montana’s Flathead Lake covers an impressive 191 square miles.

But it’s not just its size that makes this lake special. It’s also one of the cleanest lakes in the world, with pristine waters that will leave you in awe.

With 160 miles of shoreline, there are endless opportunities to explore and soak in the beauty of this magnificent lake.

The distribution of park units around the lake ensures that each site offers a unique feel and view of the valley and surrounding mountains.

Some notable individual park units around the lake include:

  • Big Arm
  • West Shore
  • Finley Point
  • Wild Horse Island
  • Wayfarers
  • Yellow Bay

From the tranquil Big Arm to the scenic West Shore, each unit has its own charm and allure.

One of the highlights of Flathead Lake is undoubtedly Wild Horse Island, the largest of several islands on the lake and a 2,160-acre paradise for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore its rugged trails, spot wild horses roaming free, and take in the breathtaking views from the island’s summit.

Flathead Lake State Park, encompassing the lake and its surrounding areas, is a paradise for outdoor lovers.

With 140 campsites, it’s the perfect place to pitch a tent and immerse yourself in nature.

Dive into the crystal-clear waters for a refreshing swim, embark on scenic hikes, spot wildlife in their natural habitat, or simply relax by the water’s edge.

Boating and fishing opportunities abound, giving you a chance to explore the lake’s depths and reel in a big catch.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply a peaceful retreat, Flathead Lake will captivate your heart and leave you with incredible memories. 

4. Montana’s Fly Fishing Paradise

A man fly fishing in Montana's river.

If you’re ready to cast your line and reel in the experience of a lifetime, then Montana’s blue-ribbon trout rivers are calling your name.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice just dipping your toes into the world of fly fishing, one trip on these pristine waters is certain to ignite a love affair with the sport.

In Montana, the fish are much like the people who call this state home—they’re feisty, fighters (in a good way), and there’s no place they’d rather be than in the glacial-fed waters of Big Sky Country.

It’s no wonder the state served as the inspiration for the beloved book and movie, A River Runs Through It.

While spring and summer are typically the most popular times for fly fishing in Montana, don’t overlook fall.

As seasons change, lower-elevation rivers become perfect for action-packed fishing when they are too hot in the summer months.

And let’s not forget about the big rivers like the Missouri and Yellowstone, which tend to be quieter during the fall, offering a prime opportunity to hook some of the biggest fish around.

But even if you don’t manage to reel in a trophy catch, the views alone make it worth the trip.

Montana’s rivers meander through stunning landscapes that will leave you breathless. So grab your gear, hit the water, and prepare to be immersed in this fly fishing paradise.

5. Montana’s Savory Delicacies

Steaks are being cooked on a grill in Montana.

When people think of Montana, food may not be what initially comes to mind. But let me tell you, this state is a food lover’s paradise.

From hearty ranch-style meals to artisanal delights, Big Sky Country’s culinary scene is an unexplored treasure waiting to be discovered.

One surprising element of Montana’s food scene is the emphasis placed on using local ingredients.

In Western Montana, where farm-to-table is not just a trend but a way of life, chefs and restaurateurs prioritize serving dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

This means you’ll often find fresh and seasonal produce, such as morel mushrooms, bison, yak, pasta, Flathead cherries, and huckleberries, making their way into many culinary offerings.

The commitment to fresh food extends beyond just the ingredients.

Montana’s chefs take pride in creating dishes that not only taste delicious but also highlight the flavors of the local produce.

Whether you’re indulging in a flavorful bison steak or savoring a dessert made with juicy huckleberries, every bite is a celebration of the Treasure State’s natural bounty.

So, while you may come to the state for its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures, don’t forget to treat your taste buds to its savory delicacies.

From rustic ranch meals to fine dining experiences, Montana’s culinary scene is sure to leave you craving for more.

6. Montana’s Genuine People From Varied Backgrounds

A woman dancing in front of a crowd during a Montana gathering,

Big Sky Country’s genuine people come from a diverse array of backgrounds, representing the rich tapestry of this beautiful state.

Montana’s 12 Indian nations are among its diverse inhabitants, and they include:

  • Assiniboine
  • Blackfeet
  • Chippewa
  • Cree
  • Crow
  • Gros Ventre
  • Kootenai
  • Little Shell Chippewa
  • Northern Cheyenne
  • Pend d’Oreille
  • Salish
  • Sioux 

Mix in working cowboys, small-town cafe owners, writers, fly-fishing guides, and visitors from all over the world, and you’ll encounter a multitude of personalities in the Treasure State.

What sets Montanans apart is their warm and genuine nature.

In a place where wide-open spaces can mean less contact with neighbors, the rare encounters you do have are often met with smiles and an eagerness to lend a helping hand.

No matter where you go, whether it’s exploring the rugged backcountry chalets or chatting with locals in a charming small town, the people you meet in Montana are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Their authenticity and friendly demeanor make for an unforgettable experience.

So, as you make your way through this wild state, be open to the genuine connections you’ll form with its people.

Montana’s genuine residents from varied backgrounds are just one more reason to explore the wonders of this extraordinary state.

7. Montana’s Outdoor Adventures

A man in a forest in Montana

Montana is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with no shortage of adventures to embark upon.

The state offers an endless supply of thrilling activities, set against some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world.

Thanks to renowned national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone, visitors have access to a wide range of outdoor experiences.

In Glacier National Park, you can witness the awe-inspiring sight of glaciers that have carved out the incredible terrain over centuries.

As you explore the park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this place home.

Hiking and biking trails wind their way through the park, ensuring every step is filled with wonder and discovery.

For those seeking aquatic adventures, Flathead Lake and Whitefish Lake are the perfect spots.

The largest freshwater lake by surface area west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake, offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, swimming, and even fly fishing.

Whitefish Lake, nestled near the charming town of Whitefish, is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty.

When winter blankets the land, Big Sky Country transforms into a winter wonderland.

Montana’s famous Big Sky Resort, along with the state’s nearly 15 ski resorts, beckon snow enthusiasts from near and far.

You can ski or snowboard down slopes, surrounded by majestic mountains draped in pristine powder.

If you prefer a slower pace, snowshoeing through the silent forests is a magical experience.

The Treasure State truly is a paradise for outdoor activities, offering a wide range of adventures in its stunning natural settings. 

So pack your gear, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to experience Montana’s outdoor wonders.

8. Montana’s Diverse Wildlife

A grey wolf and a black wolf standing.

Big Sky Country is a wildlife lover’s paradise, boasting a plenitude of diverse creatures that roam its vast landscapes.

From the regal grizzly bears to the elusive gray wolves, Montana is home to an abundance of majestic predators that will leave you in awe.

Here, you can encounter a wide array of large predators, including grizzly bears, black bears, wolverines, mountain lions, lynx, coyotes, and wolves.

As you explore the state’s stunning national parks or venture into the wilds of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, keep your eyes peeled for these incredible animals.

But it’s not just the predators that make Montana’s wildlife so captivating.

The state is also home to a variety of herbivores, such as moose, sheep, elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer.

Other animals, including badgers, beavers, mink, bats, and porcupines, among others, add to the rich tapestry of the state’s wildlife.

When it comes to Montana’s iconic wildlife, the following typically stand out among the rest:

  • Grizzly Bear – Montana grizzly bears are native, iconic omnivores that have high value to people and cultures across the state and around the world. This species plays an important role in the ecosystems.
  • Gray Wolf – The Gray Wolf is the largest of the wild dogs. About half the Gray Wolves in Montana are black with the other half gray. Both color phases may be found in a pack or in a litter of pups.
  • Pronghorn – Pronghorn have lived in North America for millions of years, surviving glacial eras, volcanic ash winters, and predation. Today, pronghorns number over 1 million across North America.
  • Bighorn Sheep – Most sociable of Montana’s big game species; herds segregate according to age and sex. Subject to die-offs related to severe winter weather and pneumonia.
  • Mountain Lion – Despite past persecution, mountain lions are making a remarkable comeback in Montana, recolonizing their historic range and aiding in population growth across the western and midwestern U.S.

Encountering these magnificent creatures is a thrilling experience, whether you spot them during your outdoor adventures or even in urban areas.

While it is possible to come across wildlife in Montana’s urban locales, it’s important to remember that these encounters are not always ideal.

However, witnessing these creatures in their natural habitats, where they truly belong, is an unforgettable sight that will leave you jaw-dropped in awe.

So, whether you’re exploring the Bob Marshall Wilderness or hiking through one of Montana’s stunning national parks, interactions with a breathtaking array of wildlife await. 

9. Montana’s Big Sky Resort

A captivating view of a ski resort with snow-covered mountains in the background.

When it comes to outdoor adventures, there’s a place in Montana that’s a dream come true: Big Sky Resort.

Located in the southwestern part of the state, about an hour south of Bozeman via U.S. Highway 191, this ski resort is the ultimate destination for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

As the 2nd-largest ski resort in the United States in terms of acreage, Big Sky Resort offers endless opportunities for winter fun.

If you’re up for a challenge, check out the resort’s 7 terrain parks where you can show off your tricks and flips.

For an adrenaline rush unlike any other, try zip-lining across the stunning mountain landscape or explore the serene beauty of the snow-covered trails on snowshoes.

During the summer months, Big Sky Resort transforms into a playground of outdoor activities.

Zip lines, archery, tennis, hiking, and mountain biking trails await adventure enthusiasts of all ages.

And if you’re a golf enthusiast or simply love the idea of horseback riding, you’ll find options near the Meadow Village to satisfy your craving for more excitement.

Big Sky Resort offers not only adrenaline-pumping activities but also serves as an ideal venue for conferences, weddings, and corporate retreats, providing extensive meeting space and stunning views.

From winter thrills to summer bliss, this destination has you covered.

10. Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort
source: flickr.com

Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort is an incredible winter wonderland nestled in the stunning beauty of the western United States.

Located at Big Mountain in northwestern Montana, this ski resort offers an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

One of the standout features of Whitefish Mountain Resort is its proximity to Glacier National Park, which is just a stone’s throw away in the Flathead National Forest.

And when you’re ready to explore beyond the resort, the charming town of Whitefish is only 4 miles away, offering a delightful blend of small-town charm and vibrant culture.

Additionally, Columbia Falls and Kalispell are 16 miles west and 21 miles north, respectively.

The history of Whitefish Mountain Resort is equally fascinating. Winter Sports, Inc. (WSI), the company that operates the resort, was formed 76 years ago in 1947 by community shareholders.

They opened Big Mountain on December 14, and the resort has been a beloved destination ever since.

In June 2007, the resort was given its current name after 60 years of operation, and it expanded to include 10 chairlifts at that time.

Today, Whitefish Mountain Resort boasts a total of 15 operating lifts, including the exhilarating Hellfire trail, the longest on the mountain at 3.3 miles.

One of the most unique aspects of this location is the phenomenon of low-hanging clouds.

On certain days, skiers can actually ski above the clouds, creating a surreal and magical experience. It’s a sight you won’t find at many other ski resorts.

From thrilling winter adventures to charming town explorations and picturesque mountain sceneries, Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort has it all. 

11. Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

Montana's Bitterroot Valley

Bitterroot Valley is a hidden gem nestled in the picturesque landscapes of southwestern Montana.

Situated along the Bitterroot River, between the Bitterroot Range and the Sapphire Mountains, this valley is a breathtaking destination in the Northwestern United States.

With a rich historical significance, it was once the ancestral home of the Bitterroot Salish tribe of the Flathead nation.

In the early 1900s, Bitterroot Valley boasted nearly a million apple trees and was one of the world’s largest producers of MacIntosh apples.

Although the valley’s orchards faced challenges and became less competitive with those in Washington state due to hailstorms in 1922 and 1923, it remains home to one of the nation’s largest cider orchards.

Stretching approximately 95 miles, from Lost Trail Pass in Idaho to a point near the city of Missoula, Bitterroot Valley offers endless views and endless hiking opportunities.

Along the way, you’ll encounter vibrant communities like Lolo in Missoula County, and Florence, Stevensville, Victor, Corvallis, Hamilton, Darby, Conner, and Sula in Ravalli County.

The surrounding mountains provide a playground for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and rock climbing, while the Bitterroot River offers excellent birding and fishing opportunities.

Hunters flock to the valley to pursue big game, upland birds, and waterfowl, but it’s essential to be cautious due to the increase in grizzly bear activity since 2013.

Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Come and experience the magic of this remarkable destination for yourself.

12. Montana’s Unmatched Scenery

A rocky mountain in Montana

Often referred to as Big Sky Country, Montana lives up to its nickname in every way. Exploring this state reveals its stunning beauty, where the landscape blurs the line between Earth and sky.

One of the advantages of being in Montana is the lack of light pollution. With very little artificial light, the stars that grace the state’s night sky shine with unrivaled brilliance.

Stargazing here is an experience like no other, where you can witness the wonders of the universe in all their glory.

But it’s not just the night sky that will leave you in awe. Montana boasts some of the best views in the country, and the best part is that most of them are easily accessible.

From the Mission Mountains visible from Ravalli Hill to the iconic Wild Goose Island along Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, every view is a sight to behold.

Don’t miss the panoramic view of Missoula from the top of Mount Sentinel, or the scenic beauty of the Clark Fork River as you drive along Highway 200.

These are just a few examples of the plenitude of picturesque views that await you in Big Sky Country.

So, if you’re looking for a destination that will leave you speechless, Montana is the place to be. 

13. Montana’s Farmlands

Hay bales in a Montana field.

Heading east from Montana’s largest city, Billings, immediately leads you to rich farmland.

While the state is often known for its mountains, dude ranches, and national parks, overlooking this side means missing out on a significant part of the state’s culture and community.

Montana boasts a land area of a staggering 93 million acres, with 58 million acres (62%) used for agricultural production.

But here’s the interesting part: the percentage of land used for agriculture varies across counties.

In 2017, Montana had a total of 27,048 farms, with an average farm size of 2,758 acres. But again, the sizes of these farms differ depending on the county.

As you drive through this region, you’ll witness acres of farmland stretching across the flat terrain.

From hay bales and crops to dirt roads and a vivid natural palette under the wide blue sky, it’s a sight that truly captures the essence of rural America.

And let’s not forget the small towns that dot this farmland landscape. They are like delightful surprises waiting to be discovered.

Exploring these towns and stopping at local diners and bars is an opportunity to get a taste of true small-town living in America.

Don’t miss out on the chance to embrace the rich culture and lifestyle that Montana’s farmlands have to offer.

Why Visit Montana Final Thoughts

A lake in Montana surrounded with mountains with a blue sky.
source: flickr.com

Montana’s incredible natural beauty, extensive farmland, and abundance of outdoor activities make it a dream destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

From the stunning Glacier National Park to the majestic Yellowstone National Park, the Treasure State is home to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the country.

From miles of scenic trails to the incredible wildlife that call this state home, Montana is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

But the state is not just about the great outdoors. The food and culture you experience, and the genuine people you’ll meet along the way, are what make it truly special.

You’ll be delighted by the warm and friendly welcome you receive, whether this happens when you’re savoring a delectable locally sourced meal or unwinding at renowned resorts like the Big Sky Resort.

Montana beckons, so why wait any longer? It’s time to make your travel dreams a reality and experience the Treasure State firsthand.

Prepare for a vacation filled with breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

Learn more about traveling to and in Montana:

Why Visit Montana FAQs

1. Why Should You Visit Montana?

If you’re searching for a vacation destination that offers natural splendor, outdoor activities, breathtaking scenery, and a plenitude of wildlife, then Montana is calling your name.

Here are some standout attractions in Montana to strongly entice your visit to the state:

  • Glacier National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Flathead Lake
  • Big Sky Resort
  • Whitefish Mountain Resort

2. What’s So Special About Montana?

In Montana, adventure and wonder await at every turn.

This is most evident in Glacier National Park, the world’s first international peace park.

In a visionary partnership with Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, Glacier National Park’s collaborative conservation efforts led to its world heritage site designation.

3. Is Montana Worth Seeing?

Is Montana worth seeing? Absolutely. 

This state offers an unrivaled experience for those seeking breathtaking natural beauty.

From the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the awe-inspiring glaciers of Glacier National Park, Montana is a paradise for adventure-seekers and serenity-seekers alike.

4. Is There Anything Interesting in Montana?

The answer depends on your preferences, as Montana provides a wide array of options and experiences.

From the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park to the tranquil waters of Flathead Lake, this state is a haven for those seeking outdoor adventure.

What’s truly captivating about Montana are its ghost towns, such as Bannack State Park, which stand as intriguing remnants of past settlements frozen in time, veiled in mystery.

5. Why Is Montana the Most Beautiful State?

Montana boasts abundant natural wonders, from the landscapes of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Beyond its stunning scenery, the state’s diverse and genuine inhabitants enrich its beauty.

Photo of author

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.

Leave a Comment