Montana is a beautiful destination for vacations with epic scenery, crowd-free terrain, and some of the best national parks in America. It’s the fourth largest in the U.S., so it can be hard to narrow down what to see when traveling Big Sky Country. When visiting Montana, many people think of Yellowstone National Park. While beautiful, Montana offers many more opportunities to explore nature, discover beautiful views, and learn about different cultures. Here are 10 places outside of Yellowstone National Park that visitors should check out!
1. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. The park is located in the northwestern region of Montana and offers over 16,000 square miles of untouched wilderness. A scenic drive on Going to the Sun Road allows visitors to see many of the park’s highlights including the Continental Divide, the Garden Wall trail, and many beautiful lakes, such as Lake McDonald.
2. Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is a state park located near Whitehall, Montana. While it offers camping, biking, and hiking trails, the park is most notable for its highly decorated limestone caverns. You will be required to book a tour to access the cave, and cave access and tours are typically closed for the winter season, so plan accordingly.
Originally founded as a gold camp during the Montana gold Rush, Helena is the capital city of the state of Montana. In addition to being home to the Montana State Capitol, Helena offers outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, and skiing. Hikers will find a wide selection of trails of varying difficulty levels and breathtaking views in The Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. For a fun historic tour of Helena, take a ride on Helena’s Last Chance Tour Train.
4. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Straddling the border between northern Wyoming and southern Montana, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area spans over 120,000 acres and includes over a dozen hiking trails. You can visit this amazing place for a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, camping, ice fishing, and horseback riding.
5. Great Falls
Great Falls, MT is a charming city with the Missouri River running through it and has lush gardens, freshwater springs, and mountain views. If you love Western art, stop by Western Art Week during the 3rd week in March. Between June and September, the Great Falls Farmers’ Market is another must-see, offering over unique handcrafted items, baked goods, fresh produce, and more from over 100 vendors and local farms.
6. Makoshika State Park
Located in Glendive, Montana, Makoshika State Park is Montana’s largest state park. It features breathtaking badlands formations and is also home to many dinosaur fossils, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. Make sure to stop by their visitor center to view the fossils and Montana paleontology exhibits. The park also hosts special events at their onsite amphitheater throughout the year, such as Montana Shakespeare in the Park performances and the Buzzard Day festival.
Home to Montana State University, Bozeman is a diverse and eclectic city with an alternative college town feel. In addition to being a popular home base for outdoor activities, it’s also a city boasting a variety of museums, theaters, and symphonies. Make sure you visit the Museum of the Rockies, which offers a variety of exhibits about Montana’s geology, wildlife, and people, including the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the US!
8. Hyalite Canyon
Hyalite Canyon is a beautiful canyon that lies just to the east of Hyalite Reservoir. It’s only about 15 miles from Bozeman, and it provides excellent opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping. Hyalite Canyon has several excellent trails that range in length and intensity for your hike or bike ride. Hyalite also provides incredible stargazing opportunities.
Missoula, Montana is the second-largest city in the state and is home to the University of Montana. While beer lovers will appreciate Missoula’s renowned craft breweries, there are also things to do for history buffs and outdoor lovers. In addition to ghost towns, gold mining tours, and museums, Missoula has a visit-worthy shopping district featuring a variety of local boutiques and galleries.
10. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is a historical site in southeastern Montana. The monument commemorates the US Army’s 7th Cavalry and the Lakotas and Cheyennes in one of the last armed attempts by the Indian’s to maintain their way of life – Battle of Greasy Grass, also known as The Battle of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand. Visitors can go on guided tours, view cultural exhibits at the on-site museum, or walk various trails.
Montana is a beautiful and amazing place to visit, especially for people who appreciate great outdoor beauty. Whether you are visiting for the first time or resident here, there are a number of unique places to visit and explore in Montana beyond Yellowstone National Park. We hope this list of best places you could visit in Montana has inspired you to visit Big Sky Country and enjoy all that Montana has to offer.