The majestic Rocky Mountains, the wide-open prairies, and the clear winding rivers make Montana a vacation wonderland. The state’s colorful human and natural history, touching on everything from Lewis and Clark to paleontology to Old West mines and mining towns, is the subject of many attractions that appeal to visitors from around the world.
If you are planning on making Montana your next destination makes the most out of your trip by arranging your schedule to fit in all of the best tourist attractions.
Montana: Glacier National Park
Craving time outdoors? Need to get back in touch with nature? Looking for a stunning change of scenery? Consider a trip to Montana’s Glacier National Park. Located in Northwest Montana, just south of Canada, the park has plenty of things to do and places to see during your visit. There is over 700 miles of hiking trails and the wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears.
Places to Visit:
Going-to the-Sun Road:
If you are into scenic drives, few road trips will beat the views along Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 52 mile road crosses the entire width of the park. Vistas from the road include glacier lakes, cedar forests, and even alpine tundra. It crosses the continental divide at Logan Pass. There are abundant opportunities to photograph the landscape and a variety of wildlife along the road. By car, the trip takes about two hours. According to park officials, the road is a bear to plow, so check in advance for road closures before planning your trip. In the summer months this is an amazing ride by motorcycle. It is a gorgeous and beautiful ride.
Lake McDonald Valley:
Lake McDonald Valley is an ideal place to use as home base while at Glacier National Park. The view of Lake McDonald, which is surrounded by mountains on three sides, is stunning. From this valley, visitors to the park can access campgrounds, a visitor’s center, boat rentals, hiking trails, horseback riding, shuttles to other areas in the park, and tours and programs provided by park rangers. Lake McDonald Lodge, a rustic but picturesque hotel is also in the valley.
Hoping to see wildlife? The high elevation of Logan Pass will provide opportunities to see mountain goats, big horn sheep, marmots, pikas, and bears. At night, it is a great place to stargaze. It also has access to two popular trail heads. If you are planning to spend time there, be aware that parking is limited, so it’s a great idea to take the shuttle from Lake McDonald Valley.
It would be a shame to visit Glacier National Park and to not actually see a real glacier. Many glacier lives up to its name: visitors will be able to see more than one glacier. Other attractions at Many Glacier include mountains, beautiful lakes, and hiking trails. This is the heart of the park. A truly majestic place.
St. Mary Valley
On the eastern border of the park, the proximity to the Blackfeet Reservation of this part of the park make it home to the park’s educational programs about Native Americans. Actual members of Blackoot, Salish, and Kootenai help to deliver the curriculum. A great way to witness the beauty of this part of the park is taking a cruise on 10 mile St. Mary Lake. It is also home to two campsites.
If you’re seeking solitude, Two Medicine is a less frequently visited area in the park. It is a great destination if you plan to discover the park on foot instead of by car. Canoes and boats are available to rent to explore Two Medicine Lake. It is also the location of the double decker waterfall Running Eagle Falls, also known as Trick Falls.
If you have been a nature lover all your life and you are looking for your next great adventure then one of the best vacation destinations for you would be the beautiful state of Montana. Known as the “Land of the Shining Mountains”, Montana offers lots of great opportunities for outdoor adventurers of all ages.