Montana Trip Planner

Posted November 18, 2023 in Destination - Last updated December 13, 2023

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Montana is a beautiful state, with its ice-capped mountains, lush valleys, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and rich history. Often referred to as the “Treasure State,” Montana is famous not only for its rolling wilderness and too many cows but also for its warm hospitality. In this comprehensive guide, we will look into everything special about Montana, the things you can do there, and everything else to make you the perfect Montana trip planner.

Why travel to Montana?

Montana is a gorgeous place, there is no debating that. There are so many different reasons why travelers flock to this state including:

Beautiful landscapes

There aren’t many places in the US that can compete with Montana in terms of natural beauty. This gorgeous state has a number of attractions like winding rivers, picturesque lakes, waterfalls, rolling meadows, geysers, volcanoes, and wildlife. You can also explore some stunning National Parks like Glacier and Yellowstone Parks.

Outdoor adventures

Almost everyone who travels to Montana has some form of outdoor activity on their itinerary. The kind of activity you want to do will decide the places in your itinerary. The state has around 15 downhill ski facilities and an additional 14 groomed cross-country ski regions that you can visit during winter.

During the summer, you can go hiking, walking, river rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, bicycle, kayaking, canoeing, and more.

Rich history and culture

Montana has a very rich history, and travelers can explore the ruins of the Old West, Native American heritage sites, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s trail here. The state also has small towns that are known for their friendly locals, Western charm, and a strong sense of community. You can explore several eateries, breweries, food festivals, and music festivals when you visit here.

Ranches, people, and cowboys

The people from Montana are among the friendliest, most genuine individuals you will ever encounter. It is also one of the best places to explore the cowboy culture with rodeos, ranch stays, and western-themed events.

A brief history of Montana

Montana is a beautiful state with a rich and captivating history. Before European arrival, the area was home to numerous indigenous tribes and their deep connection to the land and diverse cultures has influenced Montana’s unique heritage. The region was first explored by European fur trappers and traders in the early 1800s the first one being the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805.

In the late 1800s, the discovery of gold and silver sparked a mining boom, and the infamous Virginia City and Bannack became bustling mining towns. Montana officially became a territory in 1864 and a state on Nov. 8, 1889.

Top destinations or things to do

There are several beautiful destinations you can visit in Montana. Some of them include:

Yellowstone National Park

You can explore geothermal wonders like the Old Faithful geyser and the colorful Grand Prismatic Spring here and relax in the Boiling River Hot Springs for a natural soak. Nature lovers will also have the chance to spot wolves, bison, and elk in the Lamar Valley.

Glacier National Park

This is a good spot for hiking with over 700 miles of trails awaiting adventure lovers. The major highlights here are the Highline Trail and Grinnell Glacier and a scenic drive through the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You should also keep an eye out for grizzly bears, mountain goats, and moose.

Missoula

Adventurers can enjoy kayaking, fly-fishing, and hiking along the Clark Fork River and art lovers can explore the vibrant galleries, live music, and festivals. There are also many breweries here where you can sip on craft beers.

Helena

You can explore the historic Capitol building and its beautiful dome in the city and then take a boat tour through the stunning limestone cliffs of the Missouri River. The city is also home to the Cathedral of St. Helena famous for its grand architecture.

Bozeman

This city is perfect for skiing or snowboarding in winter, and hiking or mountain biking in summer. You can also visit the Museum of the Rockies to understand Montana’s rich dinosaur history and see the largest T. rex skull ever found.

Fun facts about Montana

Montana is a state filled with tons of interesting facts. Here we have rounded up 5 we think are the best.

  1. Montana’s first capital, Bannack, is currently a ghost town.
  2. The antelope (155,279), deer (White-tailed Deer-206,653; Mule Deer-249,758), and elk (175,000) populations in the state almost outnumber the people (1,100,000).
  3. The state is home to the country’s longest undammed river (approximately 692 miles or 1,114 km), the Yellowstone River.
  4. Montana has more than 2 million cows whereas only 1.12 million people.
  5. Montana helped save the North American Moose from extinction in the lower 48 states.

What do you need to do before traveling to Montana?

If you are planning a trip to Montana, there are certain things you should do before you begin the trip.

Research the place

Montana has several sensitive attractions like Sun River WMA, Glacier National Park, Gallatin National Forests, CMR National Wildlife Refuge, etc. So it is important to know more about the regulations and reservation requirements of the places you are trying to visit.

Pack appropriately

Montana’s weather can be unpredictable sometimes, so it is better to be prepared for all seasons. So, pack layers, some jackets, waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and reusable water bottles.

Wildlife safety in Montana

This state is abundant in wildlife, and you may often find them on roads or near human settlements. Always be prepared to handle such situations, especially if you venture into western Montana, famous for its abundant grizzly bears. Learn about bear safety practices when drawing up your Montana trip planner and make it a practice to carry bear spray.

The best time to visit

The perfect time to visit Montana mainly depends on your trip priorities and your planned activities. The fall and spring are notably quieter in Montana. So, if you want a crowd-free vacation, fall and early spring can be the best times. Similarly, travelers searching for good deals should also plan their vacations for fall and early spring. For those who love traveling in good weather, December to March is a good time.

Late July to mid-October is the best time for hiking here, and if you want to ski, then late November to April is the best bet.

Famous local dishes to try in Montana

No trip to Montana is complete without trying out a few of its delectable dishes. Some must-try foods on a vacation to this gorgeous state includes:

  • Rocky Mountain Oysters
  • Huckleberry pie
  • Flathead cherries
  • Bison steaks, stews, and burgers
  • Pork chop sandwich
  • Elk burgers

What to expect from the culture of Montana?

Montana is a state with a rich history and a unique culture. Several major Native American tribes like the Flathead, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, and Crow had been residing here for around 3,000 years. The state also has a great and long history of mining.

The people of Montana are one of the friendliest. They readily welcome everyone and greet even strangers with a wave. The people here are highly sensitive about their animals, so try not to hit any while you drive. According to a World Population Review ranking of states based on how friendly they are to tourists, Montana came in at number 36.

Is it safe to solo travel Montana?

Montana is safe for solo travel. It has a safety index of 88 and has low crime rates. The things that are typically considered dangerous here are encounters with wildlife and accidents while hiking or camping in remote areas. Some travelers may also get lost in the wilderness. A Montana travel guide and map can help you to be aware of the location you are in.

How many days do you need to see Montana?

You can easily see almost everything incredible and important in Montana on a five to seven-day trip. If you wish to explore the state at a leisurely pace, a 10-day trip is even better.

Best ways to get around Montana

Montana has ten commercial airlines and 13 airports, so most people can fly to the state. Four airports namely Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, and Missoula handle around 85% of the total air traffic. So, if you’re traveling to Montana by air, you’ll probably need to make a connection to a nearby city like Minneapolis, Seattle, or Denver. You will also typically need a car to get around Montana and explore the bigger cities.

Budget range for traveling to Montana per day

Montana can cater to a range of budgets from budget to luxury travelers. A single person can expect to spend around 133 USD per day on a trip here. If you are trying to be a budget Montana trip planner, try camping, cooking your meals, and exploring free or low-cost attractions. This may keep your per-day cost between $50 and $100. For high-end lodging, fine dining, and personalized experiences, the cost can go as high as $300+ per day.

Conclusion

Montana isn’t just a destination for travelers; it’s a whole experience. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of its national parks, the cowboy culture, or its unique culture, this state will leave a lasting impression. So, if you are looking for a free Montana travel guide to help plan your next trip fast, keep it organized, book it, journal along the way, and share it with others, TravelWise is the best bet for you. You can create the perfect itinerary with our Montana trip planner. You can also find other amazing itineraries here.

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