It should come as no surprise that Montana has some of the best landscapes in the country given its nickname as “The Last Best Place” and “Big Sky Country.” In Montana’s national parks, which are made up of uninterrupted prairies, unending plains, otherworldly geothermal features, remote glacier lakes, and staggering mountains, you can experience moments of complete solitude despite the state’s population of just over a million people.
The must-see attractions are located in Glacier National Park, Montana’s most well-known national park. Going to the Sun Road, magnificent hikes like the Trail of the Cedars and Apikuni Falls, and a lot of brilliantly blue glacier lakes and rivers are all worth checking out. Southwest Montana is where three of the park’s five entrances, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the abundantly wildlife-filled Lamar Valley are located.
However, don’t let Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks make you too starry-eyed. Other parks and historic sites in Montana are equally impressive and much less crowded. At Grant-Kohrs Ranch, immerse yourself in the culture of the Wild Wild West, or visit the historically significant Big Hole National Battlefield to learn about the Nez Perce. In Montana National Parks, distinctive culture and breathtaking vistas welcome you around every corner. Let’s look at it!
1- Yellowstone National Park
An astounding 2.2 million acres make up Yellowstone National Park. The North Entrance is in Gardiner, Montana, even though Wyoming is home to the majority of this wild environment. The friendly mountain community of Paradise Valley, which is located at the southernmost tip of the state, is worth a visit on its own. However, the steamy Mammoth Hot Springs are the first place visitors to the park who enter through the North Entrance arrive.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, you can see travertine terraces, boiling rivers, and vibrant thermophiles, among other things. Historic Fort Yellowstone, one of the park’s earliest historical sites, is located in this region. Mammoth Hot Springs’ Albright Visitor Center today offers a more up-to-date view of the park. And in the winter, this North Entrance is the only one that is still accessible for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Beyond Mammoth Hot Springs, the rest of the park can be explored over several days. To even begin to explore all that Yellowstone has to offer, allow three days. The 140-mile Grand Loop Road, which links the attractions in Yellowstone National Park, provides access to much of the scenery. Just be aware of bison crossing the road.
2- Glacier National Park
The national parks of Montana contain some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. Glacier National Park is one such location with a fascinating tale to tell.
It was referred to as the “Crown of the Continent” by George Bird Grinnell, who some people believe to be “America’s First Environmental Activist.” It is the Glacier National Park, to us. Beautiful mountain slopes covered in a sea of wildflowers, breathtaking waterfalls, and fascinating wildlife can all be found in this magnificent park.
There are plenty of activities at Glacier, spread across more than a million acres. Over 700 miles of hiking trails run through the park. The 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road, the main route for many park explorations, is a great place to get a feel for the area.
Along with hiking, visitors can go boating, fishing, stargazing, bicycling, and on guided tours like the park’s well-known Red Bus Tours. Additionally, a shuttle service is available to transport you through the park.
There is so much to do that choosing which fantastic activity to engage in will be your hardest task. What a fun problem to have, right?
If you enjoy observing wildlife, you may see marmots, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, as well as grizzly and black bears on occasion.
3- Flathead Lake State Park
In Northwest Montana, there is a magnificent freshwater lake called Flathead Lake. With a length of roughly 28 miles, it is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River in the lower 48 states and attracts a lot of attention. At Flathead Lake State Park, which runs six units encircling the lakeshore, one of the best ways to experience the aquatic landscape.
On both sides of the bank, five of the six state park units are located. On the western shore, boating, fishing, and swimming activities are catered to by the Big Arm and West Shore units. The bigger of the two units, Big Arm, has 41 camping sites, which is a lot of camping.
Finley Point, Wayfarers, and Yellowbay are the three state park sections on the eastern shore. Beautiful water views and camping nearby are offered by all three of the units.
Part of the biggest island on the lake is included in Wild Horse Island, the sixth unit of Flathead Lake State Park. Furthermore, the name is accurate given that wild horses still roam this particular region of Montana. Wild Horse Island can only be reached by boat, and in addition to Boat Rentals and Rides in Big Arm, other locations in the neighborhood also rent out ferries and kayaks.
4- Giant Springs State Park
Nearly 14 miles of shoreline and a sizable freshwater spring on the Missouri River are all included in Giant Springs State Park. It connects to the River’s Edge Trail, which runs throughout the rest of the city, and is situated close to Great Falls in Central Montana. Dip your toes into the 54-degree Giant Springs, one of the park’s many outdoor activities.
Hunting, boating, and birdwatching are some of the other popular activities in the park, and there are over 30 miles of multi-use trails available for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Excellent views of the falls are provided by the numerous dams that are scattered along the Missouri River in the park from various vantage points.
Giant Springs was discovered by Lewis and Clark in 1805 while they were traveling across the American West. A similar view is still available to visitors from the park’s Lewis and Clark Overlook. Near the park’s boundaries, the nonprofit Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center runs and provides comprehensive information on their amazing journey.
5- Lone Pine State Park
The lovely Lone Pine State Park, which is nearby Kalispell to the southwest, towers over the town and the Flathead Valley. With a variety of recreational opportunities available, it is very well-liked by both locals and visitors due to its beautiful natural surroundings and scenic trails.
The park, which was established in 1941, has lovely scenery, with flower-filled meadows and lush forests encircling its hilly boundaries. It rises to a height of 1,110 meters, has more than ten kilometers of trails to explore, and offers breathtaking views from its upper reaches.
Visitors can go birdwatching and wildlife watching in addition to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along its tranquil pathways. A volleyball court and an archery range are also available for use. During the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are available.