Otherwise known as Big Sky Country, the diverse and dazzling Western state really does live up to the hype. This is a seriously beautiful place home to a large and pristine wilderness preserve that crosses over into Canada. This is where bison, big grizzlies, elk and bighorn sheep roam and where lakes sparkle and glisten, and towering peaks are often dusted with delicate layers of snow. It’s a tough choice as pretty much all the scenery here is jaw-dropping, but here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Montana…
1. Glacier National Park – one of the most stunning places to visit in Montana
Aptly called the “Crown of the Continent”, the Glacier National Park carves Northwest Montana with more than one million acres of terrain. The scenic wilderness area encompasses spectacular lakes, glacier-carved peaks, pristine forests, alpine meadows, and much more. The world’s first international peace park, the Glacier National Park is for adventurous souls and solitude seekers.
Be a witness to the extensive glacier and mountain goats amid the gorgeous scenery in the Grinnell Glacier. Drive along the breath-taking scenic mountain road of the Sun Highway passing through 50-mile unique terrains or paddle across the pristine waters of Lake McDonald, time stops at the Glacier.
2. American Prairie Reserve – a huge and very beautiful nature reserve to explore in Montana
Bringing back the prairies in all its glory, the American Prairie Reserve is located on Montana’s Great Plains. Stretching over north and south of the Missouri River, the massive conservation area preserves the natural mixed-grass prairie ecosystem along with the native wildlife.
Dive into the history at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum or visit the restored Prairie Union Schoolhouse, reserve your space for a unique history of this landscape. Wake up to the free-roaming bison and chirping birds, this place makes you slow down and observe the beauty of the prairie ecosystem. Roam around freely or hike, bike, and ride your horse, this magical place is open to all walks of life.
3. Rocky Mountains – a beautiful place to explore outdoor fun and rugged nature
An abode to over 100 ranges in Central Montana, the Rocky Mountains run along the western part of the state of Montana. The rugged and rustic charm of the Rockies is the best place to seek solace and fun. Snuggled in the Madison Range of Montana, the Big Sky is enveloped with mountains in every direction.
A gateway to the biggest skiing in America, the Big Sky is a place to relax and rejuvenate. Another charming destination at the doorsteps of Glacier National Park is the Whitefish. Brimming with a shimmering lake, lofty peaks, stunning trails, and a quirky downtown, the quaint Whitefish is one of the top ski towns in the world.
4. Yellowstone National Park – one of the most loved national parks in the USA
One of North America’s most cherished national parks, Yellowstone Park sprawls over a huge 3,500-sq.-mile space. The beautiful landscapes sit atop a volcanic hot spot which makes it extra special with truly unique landscapes.
Home to many species of wildlife, dramatic canyons, rivers, hot springs, and gushing geysers, the park is mostly located in Wyoming but crosses over to Montana and Idaho too.
5. Bozeman – sparkling gem and beauty spot in the Big Sky country
Located in the Gallatin County of southwest Montana, the city of Bozeman is ranked amongst the most livable place in the US for many reasons. Experience the city’s dramatic mountains, impressive wildlife and cultural scenes, this capital city of Greater Yellowstone is full of outdoor sports and events.
Ski on the Bridger Bowl area, raft on the Gallatin River or witness the stunning fall colors of the nearby Yellowstone Park, Bozeman is Montana’s treasured place with deep cultural heritage.
6. Paradise Valley – one of the most beautiful places to visit in Montana
Close enough to the Yellowstone yet far away from the crowds, the Paradise Valley is dwarfed by the towering Absaroka Range on the east and Gallatin Range on the west. Located in southwest Montana, the Paradise Valley is Montana’s premier vacation destination.
With gushing waters of the Yellowstone River, snow-capped mountains, crisp blue sky, and beautiful ranch lands, the Paradise Valley is a truly beautiful place. Soak in the naturally warm waters at the Chico Hot Springs or La Duke Hot Springs or hike along the breath-taking trails, this natural wonder is something you cannot give a miss.
7. Beartooth Highway – one of the most breathtaking routes to Yellowstone
Savor the most beautiful American roads in the scenic drive of the Beartooth Highway. Located on the northeast entrance of the Yellowstone National Park, this highway is a spectacular wonderland. Get engulfed by the mesmerizing views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains with countless glacial lakes, pristine waterfalls, and high alpine plateaus of this picturesque highway.
Camp around the wide wilderness or hike across the broad plateaus, the Beartooth highway offers a rare opportunity to explore the untouched landscape of Montana’s alpine country. Every wilderness lover’s dream, this 68-mile panoramic drive is a journey of a lifetime
8. Montana State Capitol – one of the most beautiful buildings to visit in Montana
On a gentle slope surrounded by beautiful tamed lawns lies the state capital of Montana. Positioned in the capital city Helena, the majestic state capitol of Montana was completed in 1902. Composed of granite and exquisite sandstone, the Capitol houses the Montana state legislature.
The prominent feature of the Capitol includes a sublime rotunda with four circular paintings depicting the people of Montana’s early history. Sitting atop the copper-based Capitol dome is the Lady Liberty or the Montana statue. Enjoy viewing the beautiful murals, stained glass, and marble preserving the early history of the treasure state.
9. City Beach – a lovely sandy beach located in a ski town
Amid the white sandy beaches and waves, there’s a place in Montana that gives you a feeling of the ocean. Sitting south of the Whitefish Lake is the City Beach with seven miles of sandy shorelines.
The spacious park with a public dock, designated swimming area, and gazebos is a perfect place to simply sit down and look at the water or wet your feet in the inviting water. Swim along or float on the beach, the amazing backdrop of the Big Mountains on the crystal clear water is a moment to savor.
10. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – a gorgeous natural paradise to explore in Montana
A true epitome of the long-standing friendship between the US and Canada, the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is a World Heritage Site. A union of the Glacier National Park and the Waterton National Park of Canada, it is the first-ever global peace park.
The exceptional mountain scenery, glacial landforms, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife, and distinctive climate make both the national parks a sight to behold. A little slice of paradise, the park is a home to travelers seeking both solitude & adventure. Besides, the park also features dark night skies given the rugged terrain and vast wilderness area.
11. Conrad Mansion – a historical Victorian-era shingle-style Norman mansion to explore
A beautifully preserved mansion in Kalispell, the Conrad Mansion reflects the luxurious Norman style architecture & the lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest. Built-in 1895, the Conrad Mansion was the home of renowned businessman Charles E. Conrad.
A dreamy mansion in the backdrop of Montana wilderness, the Conrad Mansion overlooks the flathead valley and Swan mountain range. Tour the 26 rooms with diamond-paned, tiffany stained glass windows with the original family furnishings along with the landscaped gardens and original drystone fence. A visit to Kalispell is incomplete without visiting this architectural marvel.
12. Helena National Forest – a classic Montana beauty surrounding the capital city of Montana
A lovely designated area in west-central Montana, the Helena National Forest covers a vast expanse of 984,558 acres. Broken into several separate sections, the Big Belt Mountains dominate the eastern region while the Scapegoat wilderness and the Elkhorn Mountains form the west and south border of the National Forest.
A mix of grass, sagebrush lowlands & shaded groves, the park offers access points to water along with primitive camping. Covering the Gates of the Mountain Wilderness Area and a portion of the Scapegoat Wilderness Area, the National Forest is a little paradise for naturalists and photographers.
13. Wild Horse Island State Park – a Montana treasure that outdoor lovers will love to visit and explore
The largest primitive island on Flathead Lake, the Wild Horse Island State Park is only accessible by water. For centuries this beautiful island was used as pasture land by the Salish-Kootenai Indians to keep the horses from getting stolen.
Full of pine forests, incredible trails, and wildlife watching, catch a glimpse of the wild horses that still inhabit this park. A designated state park since 1987, Horse Island’s 2,200-acre state park offers swimming, hiking, boating, kayaking, and much more along its scenic shorelines.
14. Gates of the Mountains Wilderness – a stunning natural beauty spot to explore in Montana
Out there in the lofty hills, the legendary Missouri river carves a path through towering sandstone cliffs were named the Gates of the Mountains by Meriwether Lewis. Encompassing a wide area of 28,465 acres, the wilderness is managed by the Helena National Forest.
Known for its prominent grey cliffs, the ancient lake, high meadows, narrow gorges, and open forests, the Gates offer an excellent opportunity to watch bighorn sheep and mountain goats up close. Hike along the Refrigerator Canyon or camp on the Bear Prairie, the scenic gates is the gateway to pristine natural beauty.
15. Blodgett Canyon – a hiker’s paradise surrounded by magnificent wilderness scenery
Nestled in southwestern Montana, the Blodgett Canyon sits in the middle of the Bitterroot Mountain Range. Featuring more than two dozen scenic canyons, steeply carved granite mountains, meandering valleys, and moraines, the Blodgett Canyon was carved out by ice age glaciers.
Known for its wall climbing spots and excellent hiking trails, the Blodgett Canyon provides one of the best scenic hikes in Montana with spectacular settings.
16. Moss Mansion – a historic home that is one of the best places to visit in Montana
At the center of Billings is the majestic red stoned Moss Mansion Museum. Home to the Moss family, the exemplary mansion was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in 1905. The high-end interiors, walls with gold threading, marble fireplace, and beautiful paintings reflect the early American residential architecture.
Still intact with the original items of the home, the mansion is a doorway to the unique architecture of the past. Listed as a National Historic Place, the mansion has also graced the silver screen for many period films. . Managed by the Billings Preservation Society, the museum hosts a variety of cultural events year-round.