Welcome to Montana
Montana represents the untamed, the wild and the natural. Glacier and Yellowstone national parks are only starting points. Explore the parks and the places in between to get the most of the Big Sky.
Make South West Montana your starting point. Guarding Butte's northwest corner is the prominent conical hill, Big Butte, from which the city took its name. Miners first arrived in 1864. By 1900, Butte Hill and its huge copper deposits were known as "the richest hill on earth." Butte's colorful history can also be seen in its preserved Victorian uptown business district and stately mansions. The Berkeley Pit has a viewing stand allowing visitors to fully appreciate the size of this former truck-operated open-pit copper mine that still yields ore today.
Helena became the "Queen City of the Rockies" with the boom brought on by the 1864 gold strike in what is now Helena's main street. The claim was staked and named "Last Chance Gulch." By 1888, an estimated 50 millionaires made Helena their home.
Virginia City and Nevada City were born with the discovery of gold in Alder Gulch in 1863. A boom town, Virginia City served as the Montana Territorial Capital for 10 years, until the gold ran out.
Western Montana is home to numerous lakes, some of the most notable being Flathead, Whitefish, McDonald, Como, Seeley and Koocanusa. This region also features high alpine glacier-fed lakes, quiet pools and waterfalls with numerous scenic and recreational opportunities, from hiking to fishing to historical self-guided tours.
With glacier-carved terrain, Glacier National Park encompasses alpine meadows, pristine rivers, stunning 400-foot waterfalls and dramatic mountain peaks. The Going-to-the-Sun Road—an engineering marvel and National Historic Landmark—takes visitors through the heart of the park over Logan Pass and is one of the most scenic drives you'll ever take.
Missoula is home to nine historic districts, funky boutiques and live theater and music.
Marvel in the 58 hand-painted murals adorning the walls and ceiling of the St. Ignatius Mission.
Central Montana bridges the gap between mountains and rolling prairies—with big sky in-between. You'll find wide-open spaces and experience Montana's plains and mountains, recreational and cultural opportunities and pioneer and Indian life. The way of life depicted in Russell's art is now gone, but the landscape remains unchanged. The mountains and rivers of his paintings are waiting to be explored and enjoyed. And, don't miss the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. Great Falls is located on the Missouri River among five falls. On the bluffs above the Missouri, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center provides a view of terrain the explorers encountered. Exhibits, live programs and a video of the area's history are available at the Center.
Havre Beneath the Streets is a re-creation of Havre's history. Step back in time 100 years into the Sporting Eagle Saloon, an opium den, a Chinese laundry and a bordello.
Missouri River Country
Visitors to Missouri River Country can enjoy the unchanged landscape of rolling, short grass prairies that greeted Lewis and Clark as they made their way up the Missouri River. Members of the Sioux nation also call this corner of Montana home. Their cultural heritage is celebrated through pow wows and dancing ceremonies. The Assiniboine and Sioux Cultural Center and Museum in Poplar provide examples of the arts and crafts of these native people.
The Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center and Museum features unique paleontology displays and exhibits showcasing the wildlife, history and recreational resources of Northeastern Montana.
A sandstone rock outcropping that rises 200 feet above the Yellowstone River, Pompeys Pillar reads like a who's who of western frontier history. Search the rock face for animal drawings created by people who used the area for rendezvous and hunting. In 1806 Captain William Clark carved his signature and the date in this rock.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument memorializes the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which took place June 25-26, 1876 between the United States Seventh Cavalry Regiment led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the Sioux and Cheyenne under the leadership of Sitting Bull. A visitor center and museum contains exhibits relating to the battle.
Billings is a major shipping center for cattle and other agricultural products. The 1903 Moss Mansion Historic House Museum captures early turn-of-the-century life of the Preston Boyd Moss family.
The vast prairies meet the stunning Rockies in Yellowstone Country. Travel the scenic route to Bozeman through Clyde Park and Wilsall, which takes you through Shields Valley, between the Crazy and Bridger Mountain ranges along Montana Highway 86. The Yellowstone River offers an abundance of exceptional fishing and rafting. Camp spots for tents and RVs line the corridor. The town of Big Sky marks the halfway point between Bozeman and West Yellowstone and the drive along the Gallatin River is nothing short of spectacular.