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Going To The Sun Road in Glacier Park Montana
Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana.





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Top Ten Things To Do In Montana

Determining the Top 10 Things To Do In Montana was an extremely difficult task to say the least, as there are seemingly endless things to do in Montana, that in our opinion all qualify to be on the list of the top ten things to do in Montana.   And the other challenge is that fact that everyone has different tastes.  Some visitors are fascinated by Montana history, where others are not, for example.  So this really makes determining a list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana a near impossibility.  However, we felt it needed to be done, and of course there can only be 10, not 11, top things to do in Montana.  So after careful thought, and after making some very tough decisions, we finally came up with what we feel is the best representation of the "Top Ten Things To Do In Montana" for the typical Montana tourist, who likes a little Montana History as well as scenery, wildlife, etc. 

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

The first on the list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana, Glacier National Park, is located in the northwest corner of Montana, and is one of the most popular national parks in the world.  In fact, in 2017, Glacier Park was the first national park in the world to receive over 1 million visitors in one month... even beating Yellowstone National Park for this honor.  Even though the tourist season in Glacier National Park is less than 3 months due to its harsh climate, this amazing national park receives up to 3.5 million visitors a year.  Without question, Glacier National Park is among the very top of the Top 10 Things To Do In Montana.

Glacier National Park offers some of the most scenic landscape in North America, where nearly everywhere you look, it's as if you stepped inside a perfect post card.  One of the top things to do in Glacier National Park is drive along the 52 mile long Going To The Sun Road, which takes visitors up and over the Continental Divide as the road connects the east side of Glacier Park at St. Mary, to the west side of Glacier National Park at West Glacier.  The Going To The Sun Road is without question one of the most scenic roads in the world, and once you drive this amazing historic highway, you'll never, ever forget the experience.And with over 220 named peaks, countless permanent snow fields, deep, lush valleys, hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams, and 26 active alpine glaciers, Glacier National Park will completely take your breath away.

Glacier National Park is also home to some of the finest day hiking trails and overnight multi-day hiking trails in North America.  In a nutshell, Glacier Park is a backpacker's paradise. Glacier Park Hikes such as the Highline Trail, Iceberg Lake Trail, Swiftcurrent Pass Trail, Hidden Lake Trail, Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Siyeh Pass Trail, Piegan Pass Trail, Cracker Lake Trail, Sperry Glacier Trail, Grinnell Glacier Trail, Boulder Pass Trail, Stoney Indian Pass Trail, the Pitamakan Pass-Dawson Pass Trail Loop, and the countless other Glacier Park trails that take Glacier Park hikers into its pristine wilderness, are all world-class hiking trails that you'll love to explore and discover.  Bottom Line: Glacier Park hiking trails are remarkable.  With well over 734 miles of Glacier Park hiking trails, you'll have plenty of choices and opportunities to hike into Glacier Park's gorgeous backcountry.  CLICK HERE for details on all the Glacier Park Hiking Trails.

Glacier National Park has three historic lodges as well, which include the Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier Montana, the historic Lake McDonald Lodge along the shore of Lake McDonald on the west side of Glacier Park, and the historic Many Glacier Hotel in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park.  All three of these remarkable lodges are "must sees" while visiting Glacier National Park.

And of course Glacier National Park has many fantastic Glacier Park Campgrounds that are found throughout the park, as well as several outstanding boat tours of the major lakes in Glacier Park, such as the Two Medicine Boat Tour, the St. Mary Lake Boat Tour, the Lake McDonald Boat Tour and the Many Glacier Boat Tour of Swiftcurrent Lake and lake Josephine.

The wildlife in Glacier National Park is also beyond description... where mountain goats can b seen on nearly all of the towering peaks in Glacier Park.  Bighorn sheep, moose, deer, elk and black bear are also commonplace.  But the animal that stirs up the most emotions is the grizzly bear, where there are nearly 1,000 are found within the Glacier National Park boundaries.  Seeing a grizzly bear for the first time is a life changing experience and is always the top highlight of everyone's Glacier Park vacation.  So at the very top of our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana, is Glacier National Park.




Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Now of course Yellowstone National Park is also at the top of our list of Top Ten Things To Do In Montana. Being the World's first national park, and probably the most famous, Yellowstone National Park is and always will be one of the most fascinating places you will ever visit in your lifetime.  Over 50% of all the world's geothermal features are found in Yellowstone National Park, as well as the hundreds of other amazing attractions that make Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Park.

And even though a majority of Yellowstone National Park rests within the state of Wyoming, Montana "owns" three of the five entrances, which makes Montana essentially the "gate keeper" of this world famous national park.  If you talk with any Montanan, they will tell you that Yellowstone Park is definitely a Montana Attraction and very much takes ownership of the world's first national park.

Aside from the remarkable Yellowstone Park geysers and geyser basins found throughout Yellowstone National Park, there are also other major attractions such as Yellowstone Lake, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, the famous Lamar Valley and the scenic Mount Washburn Fire Lookout.  Being over 2 million acres in size, there is a lot of ground to cover, and the brilliant road system known as "The Grand Loop", takes visitors exactly where they need to be in a very orderly fashion.

The Old Faithful Area is what we call "The Heart of Yellowstone National Park", and is where the world famous geothermal feature by the name of Old Faithful Geyser erupts about every 90 minutes.  The historic Old Faithful Inn rests next to Old Faithful Geyser, and is equally as iconic as Old Faithful Geyser. This remarkable log inn is the largest log structure in the world, and the moment you step into its magnificent lobby, you'll fall in love with this charming, historical national treasure.  Another famous historic national park lodge is the Lake Yellowstone Hotel that is located at Lake Village along the northeast shore of the massive Yellowstone Lake.  This huge, wonderful hotel is a "must see and explore" while vacationing in Yellowstone National Park.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is equally as iconic as Old Faithful Geyser and Old Faithful Inn.  The image of the magnificent 308 foot high Lower Falls as it pours into the gigantic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is one of the most recognized landscapes on earth.

In addition to the geysers, lakes, canyons, rivers and lodges, the other Yellowstone Park attraction that brings visitors from all over the world to this special place, is the wildlife. Bison (American Buffalo), elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, black bear and moose are huge hits, but the two species that evokes the deepest emotion among most visitors are gray wolves and the grizzly bears.  These amazing animals roam Yellowstone Park at will and are always a thrill to see.




Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Another one of the obvious major top Montana attractions on our list of Top Ten Things To Do In Montana is the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  Located east of Billings Montana, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the Battle of the Little Bighorn where General George Armstrong Custer and 210 soldiers met their death.  Also known as "Custer's Last Stand", this famous battle is actually one of the best known battles in American History.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn happened on June 25, 1876 on the banks of the Little Bighorn Creek, where thousands of Indians camped along the river all but wiped out General George Armstrong Custer and his soldiers of the 7th Cavalry.  This was the largest alliance of Plains Indians ever assembled, with over 2,000 warriors waiting for them.  Sitting Bull was the leader of this great alliance, and would go down in history as the Indian Chief who took down Custer.  General George Armstrong Custer hadn't a clue as to what was waiting for him on that fateful June day in 1876.

Today, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument has a visitor center, and interpretive signs and walkways that take you to where the soldiers actually fell... where there white marble markers are placed where the soldiers fell, and red marble markers where the Indians fell.  As you guessed it, there are many more white marble markers than red ones.  There is also an Indian Memorial located here.  The entire experience is really amazing quite stirring.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is a world-renowned part of history, representing one of the most famous battles in U.S. Military history. Because of this, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is without question among our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.




Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Another major Montana attraction on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana is the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.  The Lewis and Clark Caverns are the largest limestone caverns in the entire Northwest United States. And if it were not for some "red tape" issues, the Lewis and Clark Caverns were slated to be another National Park.  Located 45 miles west of Bozeman Montana, the Lewis and Clark Caverns are a remarkable display of stalactite, stalagmites, and many more geologic features that make this cavern breath taking.  Interestingly, this is a "vertical" cavern, where visitors will actually drop 300 vertical feet as guides take them on this fascinating tour.  There are many grand rooms found throughout the Lewis and Clark Caverns, and what we find fascinating is each grand room you enter is more spectacular than the one before.  It couldn't have been designed better!  And even though the Lewis and Clark Expedition did not ever see the Lewis and Clark Caverns, they actually camped nearby, thus the name.

If you like fascinating, gorgeous limestone caves, then you'll love the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park near Bozeman Montana.  And once you take a tour with one of the outstanding tour guides, you'll be really glad you did, and you will understand why this is such a top Montana attraction.  So as one our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana, the Lewis and Clark Caverns will not disappoint you.  In fact, the Lewis and Clark Caverns will astound you!




Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Located just below Glacier National Park is the remarkable Flathead Lake. Aside from the Great Lakes, Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the United States, and is definitely on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.  Flathead Lake is 191 square miles in size with a maximum depth of 371 feet, and has a shoreline of over 185 miles.  Flathead Lake is 16 miles across and 30 miles in length, and is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges such as the Mission Range and Swan Range.  There are 6 State Parks along its shores, and there are several charming tourist towns such as Bigfork, Somers, Lakeside and Polson that make Flathead Lake a really, really fun place to visit.  And beyond all else, what is so impressive about Flathead Lake besides its immense size and beautiful surroundings, is the water of Flathead Lake is remarkably crystal clear.

Flathead Lake is only 7 miles south of Kalispell Montana, and U.S. Highway 93 takes visitors along the west shore of Flathead Lake, providing outstanding vantage points where you can see not only the lake but the towering Mission Mountain Range and Swan Range above it to the east.  State Route 35 takes visitors along the east shore, providing a completely different look and feel of Flathead Lake.  This is where the tourist town of Bigfork Montana is located, on a bay where the massive Swan River enters Flathead Lake.  Cherry Trees are abound along this scenic route, and there are several state parks along the way such as Woods Bay, Yellow Bay and more.

There are many opportunities for visitors to rent boats, canoes, kayaks, jet ski's and more so they can get on the water.  There are also several outstanding fishing guides that take visitors onto the water to catch Lake Trout, and there are sailboat tours as well as a large tour boat that provides dinner on a sunset cruise.  And Wildhorse Island, the largest island on Flathead Lake that is home to wild horses and bighorn sheep, is a fascinating place to visit, and there is a tour boat that will take you there!  Flathead Lake was an easy choice as one of the Top Things To Do In Montana... and when you arrive at its shore, you will completely agree with us.




Virginia City National Historic Landmark

Virginia City National Historic Landmark is on our list of Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Virginia City Montana is the largest intact gold rush ghost town in America, and is high on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.  If you’re a history buff, you’ll absolutely LOVE Virginia City.  The Virginia City National Historic Landmark and Historic District, which includes the entire town, is located between Ennis Montana and Alder Montana along Montana State Highway 287.  Founded in 1863 when gold was discovered in nearby Alder Gulch, people from around the country flocked to Virginia City Montana with the dream of striking it rich.  Less than a year earlier in 1862, gold was discovered at Bannack Montana on Grasshopper Creek.  This was the start of the Montana Gold Rush, and by the time gold was discovered at Virginia City a year later, the gold rush was in full swing.  Even most of the residents of the brand new mining town of Bannack fled to Virginia City.  When it was all said and done, Alder Gulch was the richest placer gold strike in the world.

Among the earliest residents of Bannack and Virginia City were David’s great great great grandparents William and Clara Dalton.  They came to Bannack on the First Fisk Wagon Expedition in 1862, and then followed the gold to Virginia City in 1863.  CLICK HERE to read their story.

Today, Virginia City Montana takes its visitors back to the gold rush days of 1863. Hundreds of original buildings are still standing, and with the help of the State of Montana and the Montana Historical Society, its preservation is remarkable.  You will be amazed at “the feel” of Virginia City.  And as you learn more and more about its illustrious history, you will become even more fascinated and enchanted with Virginia City Montana.

As far as things to do in Virginia City Montana, there is a playhouse that is home to the Virginia City Players, which is a very entertaining evening of Melodrama and entertainment consistent with the period, housed in an original Virginia City building on main street.  Just the “ambiance” of the theater is worth the ticket, let alone the amazingly talented actors.

Right next door to the Virginia City Playhouse is the Bale of Hay Saloon, where you can “belly up” to an original 1860’s saloon.  And as you walk the old boardwalk along the main street of Virginia City and as you look inside the original stores and businesses, you will be utterly amazed.  There are wonderful gift shops, ice cream parlors, saloons and restaurants and museums intermittently found throughout main street, all of course in original gold rush buildings.

And what is so remarkable about Virginia City Montana is that not only is its main street preserved, but the countless homes and buildings throughout the entire town are preserved as well.  And to help you learn the fascinating history of Virginia City Montana, a fascinating and informative tour is provided on an old fire engine that will take you to all the famous spots, including Boot Hill where the murderers and thieves of the day (who were secretly led by the sheriff of Virginia City, Henry Plummer) were buried after being hung on the main street of Virginia City in 1864 by the town’s Vigilante Committee.  On this terrific tour you’ll also hear all the famous stories and legends surrounding the early years of Virginia City. There is also a fun stagecoach ride and a steam engine train ride that takes visitor between Virginia City and nearby historic Nevada City, which is also a fantastic ghost town to explore and enjoy.

An integral part of the history of Virginia City is the history of Bannack Montana, where gold was first discovered in Grasshopper Creek one year earlier in June of 1862.  This was the start of the Montana Gold Rush and when gold was discovered in Alder Gulch at Virginia City one year later, most of the Bannack residents raced to Virginia City, 80 miles to the east.  There is a strong connection between these two Old West gold rush towns, and we highly recommend that you visit Bannack State Park in addition to Virginia City if you’re a Montana history buff... Bannack State Park is the original town of Bannack, and is not inhabited by anyone.  The gates are open each day, and there is a visitor center that provides tours of these historic old buildings and the stories behind them. CLICK HERE for more information on Bannack State Park.

Again, if you are even remotely interested in Old West gold rush history, Virginia City Montana is your kind of ghost town, and is definitely a “must see” while vacationing in Montana.  Sitting very high on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana, Virginia City National Historic Landmark and Historic District is an experience that you will completely enjoy and never forget.



Butte National Historic Landmark

The Butte National Historic Landmark is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Butte Montana, and more specifically the Butte National Historic Landmark and Butte National Historic District has some of the richest, colorful and fascinating history in the entire West, and is without question an important part of our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.  Once known around the world as “The Richest Hill On Earth”, Butte Montana is a mining town through and through, beginning in the 1800’s up until the famous Berkeley Pit stopped operations in the 1970s, In Butte Montana, copper has always been, and always will be, King.

When you arrive at Butte Montana, you will be greeted by a wonderful Butte Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, where you can actually hop onto a tour bus that takes visitors into the Butte National Historic District, where literally every building that you look at is on the National Register of Historic Places... from the buildings along the mainstream of Uptown Butte, including the grand hotels and banks, to the mansions of the “Copper Kings”, to the countless streets lined with original late 1800’s mining day homes.  You can’t go anywhere without seeing the familiar shiny silver-colored plates adorning the front of each of these buildings stating they are on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as their story.   And the history... it’s so remarkable and so fascinating that it’s truly stranger than fiction.  Just the era of “The War of the Copper Kings” will astound you!  Butte Montana has a history like no other town in America, and you can learn all about it during your visit here.

Today, there are still more than 10,000 miles of mine shafts UNDERNEATH the city of Butte Montana, most of which are now filled with ground water.  Above the ground, you can still see the towering black metal mining head frames spread out throughout the city of Butte, that serve as constant reminders of the illustrious history of Butte Montana's fantastic mining eras. Once underground copper mining became less profitable, the massive open pit mine known as Berkeley Pit, represented the new era of copper mining after World War II.  This huge "hole" in the ground defined the landscape of Butte for the years to come, and even though it’s no longer in operation and partially filled with water, Berkeley Pit still remains a standing memorial to the great mining days of Butte Montana.  

There is so much to see and so much history to enjoy, that we didn’t even scratch the surface in this section.  Butte National Historic Landmark and Butte National Historic District is one of the most interesting places in America, making Butte Montana an important attraction on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.




Beartooth Highway (Beartooth Scenic Byway)

The Beartooth Highway is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

The Beartooth Highway (Beartooth Scenic Byway) is one of the most scenic roads in North America, and is definitely on our list of Top Things To Do In Montana.  Located between Red Lodge Montana and Cooke City Montana along U.S. Route 212, the Beartooth Highway takes visitors up and over the gigantic Beartooth Range, reaching an elevation just under 11,000 feet above sea level.  When on top of the massive Beartooth Plateau, visitors can see “forever” in all directions.

Near the small tourist town of Cooke City, Montana, at the end (beginning) of the Beartooth Highway, is the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park just a few miles down the road.  This makes the Beartooth Scenic Highway a very popular way of leaving or entering Yellowstone National Park, where visitors eventually either end up at or leave from Billings Montana.

The Beartooth Highway (Beartooth Scenic Byway) is an engineering marvel, where many switchbacks are used to make the tremendous elevation gain and loss between Red Lodge and Cooke City Montana.  Due to the Beartooth Highway’s high elevation, this scenic byway typically opens on Memorial Day, and is closed typically soon after Labor Day as this area is covered with snow a majority of the year.  Even in the middle of summer, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a snow storm during your journey along the Beartooth Scenic Byway.

The bottom line is that the Beartooth Scenic Highway takes you on top of a tremendous mountain range, where the road then takes you over a massive high plateau covered in alpine tundra and wildflowers.  The view from every inch of this amazing road is nothing short of spectacular, and is a definite “must see” during your Montana vacation.  Once you make the drive on the Beartooth Scenic Highway, you’ll be thrilled that you took the time to make the journey... and you’ll understand why the Beartooth Scenic Byway is on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.




Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is located northeast of Billings Montana along U.S. Interstate 90, and is the ONLY physical evidence remaining along the entire Lewis and Clark Expedition Trail.  Because of its historical significance, and because of it’s fascinating story, Pompeys Pillar National Monument (Pompeys Pillar National Historic Landmark) is proudly on our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana.  

Pompeys Pillar is a sandstone pillar that stands about 150 feet high, and has a base that is about an acre in size.  When returning back from the west coast along the Yellowstone River in 1806 after their harrowing adventure through Montana the year before, Meriwether Lewis took part of the team known as "The Corps" northward back along the Missouri River where they came from, and Captain William Clark took the rest of "The Corps" down the Yellowstone River to explore and map this new area.  It is there he carved his name and date on one of the smooth sandstone walls of a tall pillar along the banks of the Yellowstone River northeast of Billings Montana.  Thankfully his signature remained intact through the many years, and is now the only remaining physical evidence of their epic journey into the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.  The name “Pompey” came from the nickname Captain William Clark gave Sacajawea’s baby boy, who she carried in her arms the entire journey.

The new Pompeys Pillar Visitor Center was built in 2006, and is very well done.  You’ll enjoy your time in this impressive structure, learning about the history of Pompeys Pillar.  There are also rangers on site that provide a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition is one of the most famous events during the entire history of the United States.... right up there with the Battle of the Little Bighorn, i.e. Custer’s Last Stand, with occurred 71 years later just down the road.  And because Pompeys Pillar is such an important part of our history and such a rare treasure, with flying colors Pompeys Pillar National Monument belongs on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana. 




Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park is on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana.

Choosing the final attraction on our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Montana was a painstaking task, as there are so many Montana Attractions that completely deserve to be on the list of Top Things To Do In Montana.  But after days of trying to decide which attraction to choose, we decided to go with the amazing Makoshika State Park in Eastern Montana.  Montana’s largest state park, Makoshika State Park is an astounding representative of the Eastern Montana Badlands.  Erosion through the years, that is still ongoing by the way, carved out some absolutely beautiful and fascinating geologic structures and shapes... and the colors of the different geologic layers make Makoshika State Park a wonderful place to visit and explore.  The name “Makoshika” is a Lakota Indian name given to this special place that means “Bad Lands” or “Bad Spirit.”

Makoshika State Park is really a national treasure that we feel is worth exploring.  Located just beyond the city limits of Glendive Montana, not only is Makoshika State Park of Montana a geological wonder, but is also a haven for dinosaur bones and fossils.  There is a very nice visitor center at the entrance to Makoshika State Park in Montana that has some of the Makoshika State Park dinosaur discoveries displayed, as well as an excellent staff happy to answer any questions you might have.

In addition to the fascinating geology, gorgeous badland landscape and dinosaur history, there are some really nice campgrounds within Makoshika State Park that are a real treat to stay in.  So for our final choice for our list of the Top Things To Do In Montana,  Makoshika State Park is definitely worthy of this spot.  Again, there are many Montana Attractions that deserve to be on our list of Top Ten Things To Do In Montana, but a choice had to be made. However, we are also going to build a page on the many runners-up that deserved to be on our Montana top ten list but didn't get the chance to be listed.





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