Attractions in Montana
According to travelationary, the city of almost 70,000 inhabitants at the foot of the Rocky Mountains is the largest in the western part of the state and the second largest in Montana. The economy still depends on the traditional timber and transport industry. The lively metropolis is also the home of the University of Montana. The picturesque place became famous as the setting for the 1992 drama film “A River Runs Through It”, directed by Robert Redford. www.destinationmissoula.org
Historic Fort Missoula with a small exhibit about fort life. www.fortmissoulamuseum.org
Smokejumpers Base Aerial Fire Depot
The facility dedicated to fighting wildfires in the Rockies offers visitors a glimpse of what firefighters do. Exhibitions show firefighting techniques. Depending on the time of year – especially in the summer when there is a great risk of forest fires – guests can even fly with the planes.
Smokejumpers Base Visitor Center, west of Missoula International Airport, Hwy 93; open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. www.visitmt.com/smokejumper-visitor-center
Museum Of Mountain Flying
Two of the famous forest firefighting aircraft can be seen here, along with other historical aircraft and aviation artifacts: a Northstar Aviation C-45 Twin Beech and the DC-3 that was used in a deadly forest fire in 1949, in the 13 people had lost their lives was used.
The museum is located directly at Missoula International Airport; open daily from Memorial Day through mid-September. www.museumofmountainflying.org
South of the Bitterroot Valley lie farms and small towns surrounded by towering mountains.
Flathead Valley and Flathead Lake
Most of the valley that stretches between 40 miles long and 15 miles wide Flathead Lake and the city of Missoula is part of the Flathead Reservation. Descendants of the Salish, Kootenai and Pent d’Oreille tribes have lived here since 1855. During the summer months there are numerous traditional Pow Wows celebrating ancestral customs. These take place in communities like Elmo or Arlee. www.bigfork.org
The People’s Center in Pablo documents history from the perspective of the indigenous people. In 1908, an area of around 7500 hectares of farmland in the west was declared the National Bison Range. Not only bison lived here, but also red deer, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelopes. www.peoplescenter.org
Stunning Flathead Lake (510 km² and averaging 50 m deep) is the largest natural lake in the US west of the Mississippi. It impresses with its deep blue color and forms an idyllic picture with the groves and the small towns at the foot of the Rockies. Highway 35 runs along the east shore of the lake, and Highway 93 runs around 60 km along the lake on the west shore of the lake. Bike and kayak rentals are available for guests – boat tours are also offered. www.visitmt.com/flathead-lake
Montana’s largest city was founded in 1882 by the Northern Pacific Railroad and named after its president. Within a very short time, the place grew into a settlement with more than 2,000 inhabitants. www.visitbillings.com
The Yellowstone Art Museum provides very good information about the proud cowboy traditions and lifestyle here in the north of the USA. Here you will find paintings with motifs from this period – right up to the present day. www.artmuseum.org , 401 N 27th St.
Those looking for a mansion with a living history will enjoy the Moss Mansion, built in 1903 by New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (he was also the architect of the Waldorf Astoria Plaza Hotel). www.mossmansion.com , 914 Division St, Billings, MT 59101-1921
The rock paintings in Pictogram Cave State Park testify that the region around Billings was settled in prehistoric times www.stateparks.mt.gov/pictograph-cave , 3401 Coburn Road, Billings, MT 59101
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
A sandstone block on the Crow Indian Reservation commemorates a memorable historical event, the fall of Colonel George Armstrong Custer as a US lieutenant in the 7th Cavalry with his 210 soldiers in June 1876. The attack that Custer led against a large Indian camp on the Little Bighorn River ended fatally for the soldiers: they were surrounded and defeated by more than 2,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors under Chief Sitting Bull. www.nps.gov/libi , Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, exit 510 near I-90. Hwy 212, Crow Agency, MT 59022-0039.
Outdoor fans should visit the 122 m high sandstone wall Rimrock – high above the Yellowstone River – on the outskirts of the city. (Rimrock Road, Billings, MT 59303)
The landscape is even more spectacular along the Beartooth Highway, which leads to Yellowstone National Park in the southwest . The 70-mile stretch from Red Lodge to the Wyoming border is known for its breathtaking scenery.
Glacier National Park
The approximately 4,100 km² national park in the northern Rockies – on the border with Canada – is without a doubt one of the highlights of Montana. The landscape – even beyond the state border – is so unique that the part further north was placed under protection in 1932 as part of the cross-border Waterton-Glacier National Peace Park. In 1995 this park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.