Explore Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is the center of a vast collection of wilderness and natural wonders known as the Crown of the Continent. No matter how long your visit to Glacier, you’ll wish you could extend it. Check out some of the best moments captured by people who have gone before you.
Head to Yellowstone National Park
Montana is the gateway to the world’s first national park. Yellowstone is one of the planet’s most unique collections of geography, geothermal activity, and wildlife. It’s at the top of most people’s bucket lists for a reason. Get a feel for what’s available and explore the area through the eyes of fellow travelers.
Get Off the Beaten Path
Travelers who have explored Montana know that while Glacier and Yellowstone get the glory, the less-traveled areas are where the untold stories of this state begin. Take a look at what others have found beyond the boundaries of our two national parks.
Step Out of Bounds in Montana Partners
"Montana's largest city is a beautiful starting point, thanks to excellent airline service from major hubs. Here, you are within close range of the Little Bighorn Battledield National Maonument, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped and literally left their mark. From Billings, it's 60 miles to the charming mountain town of Red Lodge and the northern end of the Beartooth Highway-a steep, spectacular National Scenic Byway to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park that rises to elevations more than 10,000 feet. Or head north and east into Missouri River Country and the spectacular interior of Montana. Learn more at VISITBILLINGS.COM.
A couple of interesting lines can be followed through this rugged country. First, there's the Montana Dinosaur Trail, which weaves through some of the world's most significant paleontological sites, with a number of dinosaur museums and public opportunities to dig for bones along the way. Second, the Wild and Scenic Missouri River once traced by Lewis and Clark can be explored today by kayak or canoe. Just as the expedition changed the course of history, the river itself changed the very landscape here, winding and eroding rock outcrops into the surreal shapes of the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument. Learn more at MISSOURIRIVER.VISITMT.COM.
Continuing west along the Missouri leads into Central Montana, gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness-more than a million acres of untrammeled lands sprawling on both sides of the Continental Divide. Hardy local hikers, hunters, and anglers call it "The Bob," a chummy name for a wild and impressive place. For a more urban but no less naturally beautiful hike, there's the River's Edge in Great Falls, a 40-mile-long trail you can pick up anywhere to view the Missouri River and its many waterfalls. Learn more at CENTRALMONTANA.COM.
Once you've made it this far, the lure of Glacier is quite irresistible. And again, a winding route through the surrounding region known as Glacier Country offers even more to see and do. The Hiawatha Trail, built on the most scenic rail route in the country, has been transformed into a 15-mile bike trail across the Bitterroot Mountains, through ten old railroad tunnels and over seven high trestles. The region has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, from interurban to wilderness, and quick destination hikes like the trail to Holland Falls in the incomparable Swan Valley. Learn more at GLACIERMT.COM/NGT.
Just 25 miles from Glacier National Park's West Entrance, the charming ski town of Whitefish transforms into a pedestrian-friendly paradise in the summer months. Just outside town, Whitefish Lake is perfect for water sports, and Whitefish Mountain Resort's 40 miles of mountain-bike trails are just up the road. To top it off, the new Whitefish Trail conservation project boasts 26 miles of recreational trails accessed by seven trailheads in the area. And after your outdoor adventures, a vibrant downtown is waiting-filled with inviting shops, great cuisine, performing arts, and personality-filled bars. Learn more at EXPLOREWHITEFISH.COM.
About halfway between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, you can wind through Helena's Last Chance Gulch, a downtown street lined with historic buildings from the gold rush days. Aside from being Montana's capital city, Helena gets national attention for its network of hiking and mountain-biking trails in and around the city. Just outside Helena, there's another fascinating way to get to Point B-through the Gates of the Mountains. Here on the Missouri River, 1,200-foot-tall limestone cliffs seem to block passage, only to shift and open with each turn, like gates revealing the next curve in the river and the mountain landscapes beyond. Learn more at HELENAMT.com.