9 Best Travel Books on Montana to Ignite Your Wanderlust

Calling all wanderlusts and Big Sky Country enthusiasts, are you gearing up for your next Montana journey? As you’re likely aware, the expansively beautiful frontier of the state demands both preparedness and a sense of adventure.

I’m here to introduce you to the 9 best Montana travel guidebooks that will be your trusty companions as you explore the Treasure State, from its rich history to its sweeping prairie lands.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker in search of ideal trails, a rockhounder seeking prime spots, or a family eager to explore the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, there’s a book here crafted to suit your needs.

With authors as diverse as Montana’s landscapes, you’ll find these well-researched and insightful guides full of comprehensive information and firsthand experiences. Let these manuscript touring buddies take you on an organized and surprising journey.

Are you ready to dive in and set your course with these top travel books on Montana? Let’s go! There’s a travel guide waiting for you that’s as varied and enticing as the state itself. 

7 Key Takeaways on Montana Travel Books

  1. Each Montana travel book provides depth and detail, offering more than just generic advice, but rather expert insights to help you make the most of your trip.
  2. The Montana Road & Recreation Atlas showcases maps depicting the rugged peaks, majestic rivers, and expansive plains of Montana.
  3. Rockhounding Montana serves as a travel guide, providing coverage of numerous rockhounding sites scattered across the picturesque landscapes of Montana.
  4. Fodor’s Montana and Wyoming presents a vibrant, full-color travel guide complete with maps, recommendations, and all the essential information to streamline your trip-planning process.
  5. Discover the wonders of Yellowstone National Park with ‘Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone National Park,’ a travel book that delves into the 800 miles (1,287 km) of scenic trails within the park’s breathtaking landscapes
  6. Jean Arthur’s Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone is a comprehensive book that not only unveils historically significant information about the park and its trails but also highlights sustainable practices within Glacier National Park.
  7. These travel books stand out for their ability to enhance the travel experience in Montana, catering to a variety of interests and travel styles.

Best Travel Books on Montana

A woman sitting on a bench, reading a travel book about Montana.

Montana, known as Big Sky Country, holds a wealth of natural wonders, history, and cultural hotspots that beg exploration. For those interested in angling at the state’s premier rivers or exploring the quirkiest roadside attractions, there’s a book out there for you.

Remember, a good travel guide can elevate your trip from good to great. So, pick up a volume or two, dust off your adventurer’s hat, and get ready to hit the trail!

1. Montana Road & Recreation Atlas

If you’ve ever flicked through the pages of the Montana Road & Recreation Atlas on a quest for a deeper connection with the Treasure State, you’ll resonate with me. Published by the geniuses at Benchmark Maps and Atlases, this isn’t just a book of maps with public land detail; it’s an ode to Montana’s rugged beauty.

This 30-page recreation guide is like your trusty sidekick. Categorized by activities – from fishing spots to must-hike trails – Montana Road & Recreation Atlas paints a vivid picture of unspoiled wilderness. 

Let me give you the lowdown: it’s got state parks covered, reveals the best hot springs, and every outdoor activity imaginable from skiing to snowmobiling. It serves not only as a planner but also as a conversation starter. Its pages will become a source of stories, capturing and sharing your Montana explorations for years to come.

If you’re thinking of hitting Montana’s expansive roads, waterways, and landmarks, few tools are as vital as this atlas. You’re not just getting a book; you’re unlocking the gateways to the Last Best Place.

2. Rockhounding Montana: A Guide to 100 of Montana’s Best Rockhounding Sites

Rockhounding Montana: A Guide to 100 of Montana’s Best Rockhounding Sites, written by Montana Hodges and Robert Feldman, is a practical treasure map in print.

This guide is part of a larger Rockhounding Series comprising 23 books, with each book shining a geological spotlight on different areas of the U.S. and covering various rockhounding sites. And Montana? Well, it’s like the crown jewel of this series, boasting 100 curated hotspots for your rock-collecting endeavors.

Rockhounding Montana doesn’t just point you to the well-worn paths of commercial sites; it’ll take you off the beaten track to lesser-known, but no less exciting areas around the state. It also covers the niftiest details – from how to properly collect specimens to detailed maps and concise directions to each site in Montana.

And if you’re like me and love to connect with others who share your interests, you’ll be thrilled to know that it even lists rockhound clubs around the state. Trust me, these clubs aren’t just about ‘rocking’ parties; they provide a great platform to exchange tips, stories, and maybe occasionally rocks too.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or an aspiring geologist with a hammer in hand, Rockhounding Montana is your key to unlocking the state’s geological wonders, one rock at a time. Grab your pick, put on your hiking boots, and let’s rock (literally)!

3. Fodor’s Montana and Wyoming

Have you ever had a travel guide whisk you across the kaleidoscopic landscapes of both Montana and Wyoming in one go? Well, now you can, thanks to Fodor’s Montana & Wyoming: with Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks. It’s as colorful as the etched sunsets you’ll witness on your journey.

Fodor’s Montana and Wyoming travel guide in a nutshell:

  • Multiple itineraries and 24 detailed maps to plan your day, your way
  • Up-to-date coverage of major destinations and hidden gems including Bozeman, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and more
  • Honest recommendations from locals acting as your ‘you’ve-got-a-friend-in-me’ guide
  • Trip-planning tools and tips for time and cost-effectiveness

This guidebook is your fairy godmother of travel, packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process and make the most of your time.

It’s safe to say this isn’t just a companion for traversing landscapes; it’s great for diving deep into local culture and history. So, next time you’re planning a hearty journey through the Wild West, make this book your confidante.

4. Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone National Park

Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone National Park is a gem in Bill Schneider’s Best Easy Day Hikes series. This book is an up-to-date classic, ideal for newbie hikers or folks with time constraints, featuring the perfect selection to make the most of your visit.

Yellowstone, with its more than 800 miles (1,287 km) of trails, can be pretty daunting. But this guidebook simplifies it, breaking down hikes by features, like wheelchair-accessible trails and the best ones for wildlife enthusiasts.

Here’s what you can unleash in the travel book Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone National Park by Bill Schneider:

  • Encouragement for Beginner Hikers – Some of the hikes detailed are relatively easy and are family-friendly, so even your little ones can join in.
  • Tips on Trail Preparation – From what to pack in your day bag to dealing with wildlife, this guidebook helps you prepare for whatever the trail throws at you.
  • Categories That Appeal to Everyone – From hikes best for wildflowers to different types of hikes, there’s something for everyone in this book.

With its comprehensive and user-friendly approach, this book is an essential resource for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park through its best easy day hikes.

5. Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone

Jean Arthur’s Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone is like the crown jewel in your collection of guides to Glacier National Park. It carves out routes that tie your hiking boots to history, nature’s pulse, and the heart of ongoing scientific research.

There’s something magical about how this guide doesn’t just lead you to some of the most secluded trails in the park, but also paints vivid pictures of current and past human activity, wildlife, wildfire importance, and geologic changes that crafted the very landscape you’re walking on.

Highlighted in Jean Arthur’s Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone travel book are:

  • Retracing routes to 200 sapphire blue or turquoise green lakes
  • Draining meltwater to 3 different oceans from a mountain pass
  • Experiencing some of Glacier’s 200 named waterfalls on the way

The routes also tread upon culturally significant waypoints like those of the Blackfeet Indian tribe and other Native American traditions. Mastering these paths doesn’t just mean visiting Glacier, it means truly understanding and appreciating it.

It’s worth noting that this Glacier National Park travel guide is merely one among the 16 outstanding books that constitute the esteemed Top Trails series.

Next time if you’re packing for a trip to Glacier, you might want to make some room in your bag for Jean Arthur’s wisdom. It’s a guaranteed way to elevate your hike from a physical exertion to a profound natural experience.

6. Backroads & Byways of Montana: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions

Jeff Welsch and Sherry L. Moore have genuinely worked their Montana magic in this gem. The “Backroads & Byways of Montana: Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions” virtually paves the way for you to explore the state as if you’re flipping through a local’s mental photo album. 

As part of the 23-book Backroads & Byways series, this guide offers a unique journey through Montana’s rustic landscapes. From winding through spectacular vistas to exploring remote prairies and charming small towns, it unveils a world of possibilities within the state.

This isn’t just a roadmap with instructions; it’s a yellow-brick road to some of the most fascinating locales and experiences Montana has to offer. All of the drives suggested come with detailed options for lodging and dining, so this is way more than a “get lost and hungry” kind of adventure.

Whether you’re looking for a lazy Sunday drive, a solo escape, or a romantic retreat in Montana; each mapped-out trip is designed to make sure you never take a wrong turn from an experience standpoint – though a few unplanned ones from the road could be the adventure you’re after!

7. Flyfisher’s Guide to Montana

Wilderness Adventures Press has completely outdone itself with this revised version by Chuck Robbins. Loaded with vibrant photography and newly detailed maps, Flyfisher’s Guide to Montana is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts.

It’s not just a book anymore; it’s your fishing GPS. The updated maps encompass BLM land, National Forests, Wilderness Areas, and state-owned land across Montana. Dive into the specifics, and you’ll find info on access points, boat launches, campgrounds, you name it – all backed by GPS coordinates.

Trust me, the visual aid of the detailed maps in Flyfisher’s Guide to Montana enhanced my fishing trips exponentially. Plus, if you’re a fan of smaller rivers and lakes, Robbins has got you covered with equally top-notch advice.

Once you’re done exploring the wonders of Montana’s surface waters, delve into the book for advice on trout, grayling, pike, and more. It’s a comprehensive guide to open up a world of angling possibilities, and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you’re serious about hitting the best fishing spots in Big Sky Country, add this gem to your collection. The “Flyfisher’s Guide to Montana” offers a nuanced blend of travel guide and adventurer’s journal, perfect for mirroring your angling journey with those of the authors.

8. Hiking Montana: A Guide to the State’s Greatest Hikes

“Hiking Montana: A Guide to the State’s Greatest Hikes” is a classic in the realm of Montana travel books. A part of the renowned series, State Hiking Guides, the book brings together the knowledge and passion of authors Bill and Russ Schneider, offering you nothing short of Montana’s top 100 hikes.

Bill Schneider, a veteran of over 35 years hiking trails across America and was with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, brings a local angle to the book.

On the other hand, Russ, who has made a profession out of being a backpacking, rafting, and fishing guide in the Rockies and Northwest, adds a distinct touch to the book with his extensive outdoor expertise.

This guide is your Montana hiking Moses, leading you to an abundance of trekking delights, from relaxed family strolls to rugged backcountry escapades. The breadth of the authors’ expertise ensures an experience tailored to your hiking proclivities.

Whether you’re looking for a quick, scenic half-day expedition or yearning for an in-depth multi-day adventure, “Hiking Montana” is the compass to your dreams.

9. Camping Montana: A Comprehensive Guide to Public Tent & RV Campground

This is a book that knows the real-time obsession with checking Montana’s weather situation, expects mishaps while setting up tents, and tactically places those portable toilets. We can’t hide that there’s a little gearhead in all of us when it comes to camping.

Graham’s Camping Montana book is like having a lifeline of advice, insider tips, as well as detailed maps of the nearly 300 public campgrounds it covers, elevating your camping game from amateur to pro overnight. If your idea of a trip revolves around outdoor activities, this book is a must-pack.

From beginners dipping their toes into the vast world of camping to hardened pros who have seen it all, Camping Montana is your roadmap to sleeping under Montana’s starry skies. But this book offers more than just basic campground info; it’s a complete Montana camping encyclopedia.

Kenneth L. Graham guides you through the nitty-gritty of public and RV campgrounds scattered across Montana, serving as a knowledgeable companion with insider tips to enhance your experience.

So next time you’re packing that overfilled backpack or hitching up the RV, I highly recommend slipping “Camping Montana: A Comprehensive Guide to Public Tent & RV Campgrounds” into your collection of travel trinkets.

Best Montana Travel Books Final Thoughts

3 books on top of one another on the sand by the beach in Montana

Montana is more than just an expanse of unmatched natural beauty; it’s a story waiting to be told, an adventure yearning to unfold. With a diverse range of travel guidebooks designed to cater to distinct interests, the state’s secrets are ripe for discovery.

If you’re a newcomer seeking a thorough guide, an outdoor enthusiast craving detailed information, or a traveler interested in exploring Montana’s unique aspects, these recommendations are designed to enrich your journey.

Every page within these travel companions bursts with local insights, tips, and hidden gems, bridging the gap between a good trip and an unforgettable experience. 

As you prepare to explore Montana’s vast roads, hike its rugged landscapes, or fish its premier rivers, each book isn’t just adding weight to your luggage. It alleviates unanswered questions, turns random excursions into soul-nourishing trails, and ensures your next Montana adventure is extraordinary.

Open these books; let the whisper of Montana’s wild spirit guide you across thousands of miles. It’s time to turn the pages, pen your personalized Montana narrative, and create moments that will etch themselves in your memory for years to come.

Travel Books on Montana FAQs

1. What Are Travel Books Called?

Travel literature, including outdoor literature, guidebooks, nature writing, and travel memoirs, encompasses a diverse range of genres. In these works, travel writers provide readers with insights into the culture, landscapes, and people of the destinations they visit, offering a unique perspective on their experiences.

2. Do People Still Use Travel Books?

Although fewer people use printed travel books nowadays because of digital technology, some still find them valuable. Certain individuals appreciate the physical aspect of travel books for in-depth research, inspiration, and as collectibles.

3. What Makes a Good Travel Book?

A great travel book is like a story, created by combining a photographer’s view, careful curation, and thoughtful organization. It’s not just a collection of pictures; it tells a tale.

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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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