Montana Discovery Guide

Montana is a land of magnificent mountain landscapes and enormous open skies—an unforgettable vacation destination. Every region of the “Treasure State” has something special to offer, and this is a wonderful place to vacation if you’re in the mood for an outdoors-oriented vacation that packs in visits to some fascinating historical sites and interesting activities.

North-eastern Montana is known as Missouri River Country. Like much of the state, this region is home to some prime hunting land, for both anglers and big and small game hunters. If you would prefer to learn about animals that walked the lands in ancient times, visit on of the museums in the area to learn about the fossil history of Missouri River Country. Some museums even allow visitors to view archeological digs where dinosaur fossils have been discovered, as well as seeing exhibits featuring these ancient animals. To learn more about the recent history of the area, the Pioneer Town and Museum in the town of Scobey is a fascinating place to visit, with 35 historic buildings located here.

The central north of Montana is named for Charlie Russell, a talented artist who lived in the area in the late nineteenth century. As well as some excellent hunting opportunities—antelope, elk, and whitetail deer, as well as waterfowl and trout, bass and pike for the angler—Russell Country is also home to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, one of the most fascinating and extensive museums dedicated to these famous explorers. Learn more about the area’s namesake, Charlie Russell, view a collection of his work, and visit the log cabin where he lived and worked, at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. Russell Country also has some extensive archeological dig sites, such as Ulm Pishkun, near Great Falls, and Egg Mountain, near Choteau, where a large collection of dinosaur nests and fossils where discovered in the 1970s.

In north-western Montana you’ll find Glacier Country, named for the awe-inspiring beauty of Glacier National Park. This is another wonderful place to visit for an outdoors-oriented vacation, with horse-back riding, rafting, hiking and boat tours available here, as well as cross-country skiing in the winter months. There are several museums located in this region, too. As well as the more traditional historical sites, there’s also the Miracle of America Museum and Historic Village. Located near Polson, this museum contains an astonishingly diverse variety of displays and exhibits, including antique toys and vintage vehicles.

The central southern region of Montana is Yellowstone Country—home to Yellowstone National Park. There is an amazing variety of outdoor activities to be had here, whether you visit in summer or in winter. In the summer, horseback riding, golf, white-water rafting, as well as hiking and biking, are just a few of the outdoor activities on offer. In the winter, snowboarding and skiing are the order of the day. Of course, this is also a great place for hunters, with deer and elk as well as a whole host of fishing in season. If watching the wildlife is more your thing, consider a Yellowstone Safari, with the opportunity to view wolves, bears and other animals in their natural habitats.

Yellowstone Country is also an ideal place to experience life in the Old West, with several working dude ranches located in this area. This is a fantastic way to see the stunning Montana countryside, at the same time as you get a feel for life on a real dude ranch! See calving and lambing in the Spring, go on a cattle drive, an overnight horse-back riding trip into the Montanan wilds, take a hiking trip, go fishing or bird-watching—the possibilities are endless. Whether you want to experience ranch life hands-on or simply relax in a gorgeous natural setting, this is a wonderful way to see central Montana.

Custer Country, in the south-eastern reaches of Montana, is famous as the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn. Visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument that commemorates the site of the battle itself, then view a series of exhibits and displays a the nearby museum for a more complete view of the era and the battle. Also in Custer Country, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation Pictograph State Park is another fascinating place to visit, with cave paintings more than 2,000 years old to be found here.

South-west Montana is known as Gold West Country. From ranches and rodeos to the relaxing Boulder Hot Springs, as well as some exceptionally fine trout fishing, there is much to do here. There are some interesting and fun activities on offer in Gold West Country, with several places, such as Crystal Park, offering visitors the opportunity to literally dig for treasure! Visit Butte to learn more about mining in this area of Montana, with the World Museum of Mining and the Mineral Museum, as well as the very interesting Dumas Brothel Museum that preserves the history of Butte’s once-famous Red Light District!

Also in Gold West Country, the Ghost Town of Garnet is a fascinating place to visit, located at the head of First Chance Creek. The town was build in the late nineteenth century, and since then the town has been inhabited and abandoned two or three times, making a somewhat unique example of its kinds. More than thirty buildings dating back over one hundred years have been preserved, and visitors can actually enter many of these. During the winter, this is a popular place for snowmobile and cross country ski trips, and there are even a small number of cabins available for rent, for people who want to sleep among the ghosts of the town!

Montana is the ideal vacation state for the hunter, angler, or anyone who loves to spend their vacation time in the outdoors. Combine your sporting activities with day trips to museums, archeological digs and other fantastic attractions, or spend your days living it up Western Style at a working ranch—Montana has it all!

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