Visit Big Sky Country: 20 Interesting Things To Do In Montana, USA

Visit Big Sky Country: 20 Interesting Things To Do In Montana, USA

Scroll on down and find out about the top things to do in Montana, USA.

Aptly nicknamed Big Sky Country, Montana boasts wide-open spaces allowing people to appreciate the big blue skies from almost anywhere in the state. It is located in the western part of the United States, encompassing a diverse terrain including the Rocky Mountains region and the Great Plains.

The state is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, since it has a lot of options for hiking, watersports, and even winter sports.

Thinking of spending a few days in Montana? This list has got you covered! Here are the must-sees and must-dos in Big Sky Country:

1. See sandstone formations at Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user J.B. Chandler used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Medicine Rocks State Park is a state-owned park featuring sandstone pillars ranging from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters). Considered as a sacred place by Plains Indians, the whole area spans 330 acres (130 hectares). Even Theodore Roosevelt himself was wowed by this natural wonder, saying that Medicine Rocks was “as fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen”. The park also has a lake where you can swim, and a trail where you can go hiking. Trout fishing is another popular activity. If you wish to stay here overnight, there are several lodging houses in the area like Stardust Inn and Wichita Mountain Lodge.

2. Explore the Glacier National Park

visit big sky country: 20 interesting things to do in montana, usa | explore the glacier national park
Source: Pixabay

One of the most popular wide-open spaces in Montana is the Glacier National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by its ice-capped peaks and beautiful valleys. During the winter season, people flock here for skiing and snowshoeing. Meanwhile, for the rest of the year, you can go trout fishing, hiking, or horseback riding. You can also rent boats to explore some of the park’s lakes like Waterton Lake and Lake McDonald. Lodges are available for overnight stays, but you can also bring your camping gear and enjoy a night under the stars.

3. Enjoy the day at a waterpark

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For some water fun, Montana has several family-friendly water parks where you can spend a hot summer day. There’s Splash Montana in Missoula, which features three-storey water slides, an Olympic-sized pool, a lazy river, and floating play structures. Other amenities include cabana rentals, a cafe, and a grill. Another option is the Big Sky Waterpark in Columbia Falls. It has 10 water slides, a whirlpool, and even non-water activities like golf and bumper cars. Barbeque and picnic areas are also available for the use of guests.

4. Experience skiing in Montana

visit big sky country: 20 interesting things to do in montana, usa | experience skiing in montana
Source: Pixabay

Montana is a popular ski destination during wintertime. The state has some of the best ski areas, whether you want day skiing, a weekend ski getaway, or a longer ski vacation. For day areas where you can ski under a budget of 50 USD, there’s Bear Paw Ski Bowl in Central Montana and Great Divide in Southwest Montana. Meanwhile, for a weekend getaway, you can try hidden skiing gems like the Discovery Ski Area in Anaconda and Montana Snowbowl in Missoula. For those who have bigger budgets, stay longer in ski resorts. You have plenty of choices including the Big Sky Resort in Yellowstone and the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

5. See dinosaur skeletons at Museum of the Rockies

Oryctodromeus cubicularis - Museum of the Rockies
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tim Evanson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Interested in dinosaurs? The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman has the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States. In fact, it is where you will find the largest Tyrannosaurus skull and a Tyrannosaurus rex’s thigh bone. Other collections in the museum are mostly about the history of the Rocky Mountains, as well as its people and animals. This is only one of fourteen dinosaur themed museums on Montana’s Dinosaur Trail. If you wish to learn more about dinosaurs, you can also visit Blaine County Museum, Carter County Museum, Fort Peck Interpretive Center, and Garfield County Museum, among others.

6. Watch a performance at the Playmill Theater

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Take a break from the outdoor activities and spend the night watching popular musicals and plays at the Playmill Theater. It has been open every summer since 1963, an intimate live theater venue located in the area of Yellowstone. Some of the most popular acts that have been staged here in the past years are Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Don’t forget to try the homemade fudge they sell during show intermissions!

7. Practice your shooting skills in Yellowstone

visit big sky country: 20 interesting things to do in montana, usa | practice your shooting skills in yellowstone
Source: Pixabay

Adults can definitely have fun in Montana even when the weather outside is not too favorable. There are indoor activities you can try, like target shooting at Yellowstone Big Gun Fun. Located near Yellowstone National Park, they offer gun rentals including rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and handguns. Safety gear and instructions are provided by the management to ensure the maximum safety of guests. They also have packages for big groups and families.

8. Meet live grizzlies and wolves

Wolf in Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dennis Matheson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Since 1993, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center has been serving both as a wildlife park and an educational facility in West Yellowstone. It is home to grizzlies and wolves who couldn’t survive life in the wild. Open the whole year round, an admission ticket is good for two consecutive days. They also have various programs for kids, including the Birds of Prey Presentation, Bear Pepper Spray Demonstration, and Keeper Crew. Meanwhile, at the center’s museum, there are interactive exhibits relating to the life and natural history of bears.

9. Visit the Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake Glacier National Park Montana
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Photographer: Lis... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Hidden Lake, located inside Glacier National Park, is a popular destination for anglers because of the 20-inch (50.8-centimeter) fish thriving in its waters. One of the most popular personalities who tried fishing here was George Bush in 1983. Aside from fishing opportunities, you will also enjoy views around the lake. It is surrounded by snow-capped peaks like the Bearhat Mountain, Clements Mountain, and Reynolds Mountain. The only way to reach the lake is by hiking along the nature trail surrounded by alpine meadows, so don’t forget to bring some good hiking shoes. If you’re lucky, you might even see grizzlies along the way.

10. Trek to Yellowstone National Park

visit big sky country: 20 interesting things to do in montana, usa | trek to yellowstone national park
Source: Pixabay

Did you know that the world’s first national park is located in Montana? It is Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 with the aim of preserving its natural beauty and wildlife diversity. Spanning 3,472 square miles (8,987 square kilometers), it features geysers and hot springs, as well as fishing areas and waterfalls. Over 67 mammals find refuge here, including bears and wolves. There are also 330 species of birds and 1,350 species of vascular plants.

In 2015, approximately 3,000,000 people visited the area.

11. See the Cathedral of St. Helena

Cathedral Helena2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris06 used under CC0

The Cathedral of St. Helena in Southwestern Montana is an excellent example of geometric Gothic architecture. Boasting stained glass windows and marble altars, it is modeled after the Votive Church of the Sacred Heart In Vienna, Austria. It also contains statues carved from Carrara marble, as well as gold-leaf decorations. Meanwhile, its pews are hand carved using oak. Its most striking external features are its twin spires which are 230 feet (70 meters) above the ground. It is open all year. If you wish to take a guided tour, contact the parish office beforehand.

12. View C.M. Russell’s paintings

Great Falls - C. M. Russell Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roger Wollstadt used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Charles Marion Russell, also known as C.M. Russell, was a famous artist who made over 2,000 paintings with the Old American West as the theme. He was labeled the “cowboy artist,” and had other artistic endeavors too, like being an author and storyteller. He died in 1962, but his original studio and the home where he lived remain intact up to this day. These properties were converted into a museum, now known as the C.M. Russell Museum. It has five permanent galleries containing the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and drawings, as well as illustrated letters.

13. Catch a glimpse of a lake created by an earthquake

Quake Lake
Source: Photo by Flickr user H Dragon used under CC BY 2.0

An earthquake, despite the destruction it brings, can also create something beautiful. One good example is the Earthquake Lake, or Quake Lake, in Southwestern Montana, which was formed after an earthquake struck the area in 1959. At present, the five-mile (eight-kilometer) lake has become a prominent natural attraction and a fishing destination. Here, you can either go fishing aboard a boat or simply bring your fishing equipment to the shores to catch cutthroat and brown trout. To learn more about the events surrounding the 1959 earthquake, you may go to the lake’s Visitor Center.

14. Take a dip in a hot spring in Fairmont

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Native Americans believe that the water from hot springs has healing benefits. There are several hot spring resorts throughout Montana that you can easily visit during your stay. One of them is the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, which has two Olympic-sized swimming pools and two mineral pools. It is also equipped with a fitness center and a steam room. Another option is Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort located in Paradise, featuring six pools filled with hot spring water. They have luxury cabins for those who wish to stay overnight.

15. Trek to reach St. Mary Peak

St Mary View
Source: Photo by Flickr user Steve Cyr used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you’re looking for an easy climb, then St. Mary Peak is perfect for you. It is one of the most accessible peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains, at an elevation of 1,168 meters (3832 feet). Other mountains you may see from the peak include Mission, Swan, and Rattlesnake. For unobstructed views, the best time to visit is during summer. However, spring is also a nice time to come, especially for those who are interested in skiing. Camping is also allowed in the area, except at the lookout tower or at the trailhead.

16. Experience beer tasting in Philipsburg

experience beer tasting in philipsburg
Source: Pixabay

Beer-lovers would surely love a trip to the town of Philipsburg. It has a brewing company that has been operating since 2012, which produces quality handcrafted beers from the finest Montana malt. Some of the available concoctions at the Philipsburg Brewing Company are the Razzu Raspberry Wheat, Otter Water Summer Pale Ale, Rope Swing Saison, and Flint Creek California Common. You can check out how the brewery works and you can also bring in your own food since they don’t offer other things on their menu aside from the beers.

17. Try caving and spelunking in Three Forks

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user AllAroundTheWest used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in Three Forks, the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park features one of the most stunning limestone caverns in Montana. Here, the stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, and columns are illuminated by artificial lighting. There’s also a 10-mile (16-kilometer) hiking trail you can explore, as well as a 40-space campground. Other facilities you can use include picnic sites, firewood, and showers. You can even bring your pets here, as long as they are on a leash. Take note that the park is open all year round, but the cave is only open from May to September.

18. Explore a ranch in Libby

explore a ranch in libby
Source: Pixabay

Experience the cowboy life when you visit the McGinnis Meadows, a working cattle ranch located in Northwest Montana. Featured in Horse and Rider Magazine in 2011 as “One of the 50 Great Escapes”, they have excellent horseback riding lessons and cattle work programs suitable even for beginners. April, May and June would be a good time to go and ride the horses. You can bring kids, but there is no specific program for children yet.

19. Visit an aerial adventure park in Coram

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Glacier Highline is a family-owned aerial adventure park situated in Coram. It is the perfect playground for any adrenaline junkie as it offers a total of 47 treetop activities. Take note, activities are between 10 and 30 feet (3 to 9 meters) in the air! Safety gear will be provided, as well as training from an experienced member of staff. Guests can spend as long as two hours in the rope course. Other amenities include a zipline and a wall-climbing facility.

20. Take a peek into the lives of Montana’s miners

take a peek into the lives of montana’s miners
Source: Pixabay

From April to October, the World Museum of Mining opens its doors to visitors who want to take a peek into the mining industry of Montana. It is located on a real mine yard spanning 44 acres (18 hectares) and contains exhibits regarding the history of mining. Mine tours can take you as low as 65 feet (20 meters) underground. However, space is limited so it is recommended to reserve a slot before coming here.

Visiting Montana

Montana, the fourth largest state in the United States by land mass, has dramatic scenery that anyone would love. Add wide open spaces and snow-capped peaks to the mix and you already have the perfect vacation spot!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rica is a young freelance worker from the Philippines. She writes for a living, but more importantly, she lives to write. Travel is one of her favorite writing topics, alongside love and...Read more

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