Great Falls Things to Do

  • View downriver from Rainbow Falls
    View downriver from Rainbow Falls
    by jasperdo
  • Belt Creek and Road
    Belt Creek and Road
    by fred98115
  • Belt Creek
    Belt Creek
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Most Recent Things to Do in Great Falls

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    Charles M. Russell Museum

    by jasperdo Updated Jul 20, 2006

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    Charles Russell was a cowboy artist. This is a dramatic oversimplification of his work. More than a simple cowboy artist, Charles Russell brought to life on canvas the end of an era in the American West. With a supurb mix of humor, pathos and excitement, Russell brought to life the cattle ranchers and Native Americans who occupied the Great Plains in the latter half of the 19th Century. His paintings all told stories, with color and depth that drew the viewer into the scene.

    The Charles Russell Museum, on a tree lined street in downtown Great Falls, tells his story and showcases much of his work in both paintings and sculptures. Directly outside the museum are the house Charlie and his wife lived in, as well as the log cabin studio where he did most of his work.

    Be aware, though, that while this is an excellent museum, well worth your time, only about 25 percent of the museum space is devoted to Charles Russell's work. This is because most of his paintings have found their way to various museums and collectors down through the years. As a consequence, while the Charles Russell Museum has the largest collection of his paintings under one roof, many of his more famous works are not at the museum. The rest of the museum is devoted of other western artists, notably O.C. Seltzer and E.E. Heikka. The lower level houses temporary exhibits. When we were there, they showcased the art commissioned by the Great Northern Railroad.

    So, as long as you are aware that the Charles Russell Museum is only part Charlie, I highly recommend you swing on by and immerse yourself in a western lifestyle that's long since gone.

    Charles Russell Museum Charles Russell Museum Charlie's Log Cabin Studio

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    Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

    by jasperdo Written Jul 20, 2006

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    Located a few miles east of the city of Great Falls, on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, this museum gives an excellent overview of the Lewis and Clark expedition. You begin by watching a short film by documentary director Ken Burns, which tells the story of the Corps of Discovery in typical Ken Burns fashion. (This film alternates with another that concentrates on the Great Falls portion of the expedition.) From there you begin a walk through journey, following Lewis and Clark from St. Louis, to their winter camp with the Mandan Indians in North Dakota, across the Great Plains, over the Mountains and onto the Pacific Ocean at Fort Clatsop, Oregon.

    The museum does a very good job of explaining each step of the expedition with panels, diary entries and artifacts from the region. The most dynamic portion of the museum is a life size, 2 story diarama showing the Corps struggling up the bluff while portaging their boats and supplies around the 5 waterfalls that plagued them in the Great Falls area.

    Outside the museum, there are good views up and down the Missouri River. You can also take a trail down to the river, where park interpretors sometimes have a river camp set up. Overall, this museum, operated by the National Forest Service, is a very good place to learn about Lewis and Clark, their expedition, and what it meant for the future of the Untied States.

    Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Portage diarama Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

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    See The Surrounding, Ever Changing Landscape

    by bdbrewer Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Hiking, driving, anyway you want, depending on the time you have. The landscape in and around Great Falls is varied and interesting. There are many photo opportunities and places just to relax and get away from it all.

    In And Around Great Falls
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Three Things To See In Great Falls

    by bdbrewer Written Sep 5, 2002

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    Each of these places are of interest and you should put them on your list of things to do while in Great Falls. Don't forget the Charles Russell Museum. It was too dark for a good photo by the time we arrived there. He is a western artist similar to Remington.

    Three Places Worth Going To

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    Biking the River's Edge Trail,...

    by LS451 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Biking the River's Edge Trail, photography, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and Charles Russel Museum.
    Easily a visit to Great Falls should include these activities. One can practically walk between the locations.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    The best thing I was able to...

    by falicia2000 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    The best thing I was able to do is alot of walking and biking, there is nothing around for miles, and the solitude was wonderful. Most of the area I was in was flat, with a few hills which made it a good place to explore.
    If you decide to do some exploring, be sure to take warm clothing and a bottle of water, it got very cold and windy.

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    Rainbow Falls, another the Expedition bypassed

    by fred98115 Written Feb 14, 2014

    Rainbow Falls is another of the falls that the Lewis and Clark Expedition portaged around. A scenic road provides access to viewpoints from which you can see the falls.

    Rainbow Falls and Dam Section of Rainbow Falls Detail of Rainbow Falls Spillway at Rainbow Falls Spillway at Rainbow Falls Dam
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

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    Black Eagle Falls and Dam

    by fred98115 Written Sep 14, 2012

    A popular trail goes past the Black Eagle Falls and Dam. They are named after an eagle that Lewis sighted in a cottonwood tree on a nearby island. It can be windy on the trail.

    Black Eagle Falls and Mill Ruins Black Eagle Dam Black Eagle Dam and Falls Black Eagle Falls Missouri River from Black Eagle Falls
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

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Great Falls Things to Do

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