Great Falls Travel Guide

  • Charting a dino dig along the Rocky Mountain Front
    Charting a dino dig along the Rocky...
    by MontanaNative1
  • Missouri at sunset
    Missouri at sunset
    by Deborahtnc
  • View downriver from Rainbow Falls
    View downriver from Rainbow Falls
    by jasperdo

Great Falls Things to Do

  • Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

    For the person retracing the Lewis and Clark trail, this is arguably the best of the many interpretive centers between St. Louis and Astoria, Oregon. The exhibits are complete and dramatic. The bookstore has extremely useful items to aid in understanding the Expedition and its sites. And, there is access to the Missouri River trail so you can walk...

  • Roe River: Shortest in World?

    Giant Springs flows into the Missouri directly and also via the Roe River. For a long time, the "D" River on the Oregon coast claimed to be the shortest river in the world and was recognized as such by the Guiness Book of Records. Then a new claimant arrived: proponents said that the Roe was shorter and controversy reared. Oregon fought back by...

  • See the Giant Springs that the...

    When Lewis and Clark scouted for a portage route around the great falls, they first did so across the river and missed this unusual and beautiful natural springs. It is enormous and flows into two rivers: the Missouri and the Roe. Photographers: this park offers opportunities that will use all ranges of a zoom lens. A tripod might be useful to get...

  • Rainbow Falls, another the Expedition...

    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.

  • Crooked Falls, one of the five Lewis &...

    Lewis and Clark expected to find two falls according to information they had from natives. They found five. Four exist today in this heavily dammed section of the Missouri River. One is flooded by a dam lake. A river road provides access to viewpoints from which you can see the falls. This one is Crooked Falls. Photographers: a zoom lens works...

  • Great Falls Revisited When Island is...

    Last year we were disappointed when the island was closed to access. Not so this time. Long grassy slopes framed by cottonwoods led to a trail and a rocky promontory with the falls before us. True, Ryan Dam sat behind them and the water flow is metered by the engineers, but looking at them still gives a sense of what Lewis must have felt when he...

  • Upper Portage Where Expedition Rejoins...

    Lewis and Clark thought that an iron frame boat would be useful once they had portaged the five falls. It was an experiment that failed. The original was buried and has never been found. Two replicas have been built, one of which is based at the Upper Portage. Photographers: the actual camp of the portage is in the distance near the river and is...

  • Lower Portage of the Expedition

    The Lewis and Clark Expedition had to portage around the falls, and, tracing the route, we began at Belt Creek. We stood at the Belt Creek Bridge and visualized thirty men stuggling to move five dugout canoes and ten tons of gear up the gully in late June. It boggles the mind. They did it in stages: up the gully to a staging area, transport a...

  • Walk trail past middle three of the...

    There is a trail along the Missouri River from which you can see and photograph the middle three Great Falls. It's a long haul so most people either bike it or drive from location to location and stroll on the trail to viewpoints. The middle three are Rainbow Falls, Crooked Falls and Coulter's Falls. Coulter's is now a lake behind one of the...

  • Great Falls and Ryan Dam

    If you visit Great Falls, be sure to see the Great Falls and Ryan Dam. Important proviso: the best views are from an island at the foot of the falls, but the power company, which owns the island, closes the island, the park and the viewpoint between Labor Day and Mother's Day. Lewis first viewed the falls on 13 June 1805 and called them the...

  • Black Eagle Falls and Dam

    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.

  • Go to Giant Springs

    When I was a child we used to be able to drive to Giant Springs along an old road that runs down by the river. They have closed that road to cars now, but you can bicycle there. The steep cliff wall houses many birds. If you choose to drive, there is a nice park for picnics and a fish hatchery. Giant springs is one of the the largest fresh water...

  • Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway...

    In the "Golden Age' of railroads, the train station was often considered the gateway to a city, and most towns and rail lines tried to outdo each other in creating the most impressive building in town. This depot in Great Falls is a perfect example of that. Rising high above the prairie, the 135 foot tower still dominates the skyline. While no...

  • Black Eagle Falls

    Black Eagle Falls is probably the least impressive of the 3 major waterfalls in the Great Falls area. But it's still worth a look, and it is the most accessible. It's located right in town along the riverside trail, plus it can be accessed from the north end of the Missouri River as well. There is an island park on the north side that gives a...

  • Rainbow Falls

    While not quite as dramatic as the Great Falls of the Missouri, Rainbow Falls might actually be a prettier, more scenic waterfall. The red rocks add to the beauty,and sheer dropoff makes Rainbow Falls resemble a smaller version of Niagra Falls. Plus it's a little easier to get to from town. It's located just east of the Lewis and Clark Interprative...

  • The Great Falls of the Missouri River

    One of the few things that Merriweather Lewis knew for sure about the uncharted lands he was set to explore with his Corps of Discovery was that there existed a "great falls" on the Missouri River. What he didn't anticipate was that just beyond the Great Falls, there were a series of 4 other waterfalls. His predicted half day bypass of the falls,...

  • Ulm Pishkun State Park

    For hundreds of years, before the arrival of Europeans and the introduction of the horse, the most effective way for the Plains Indians to kill buffalo was through a Buffalo Jump. Simply put, the wild buffalo were herded up a plateau where they were induced to stampede off a cliff. The tribe then had easy pickings of the buffalo meat and hides to...

  • Charles M. Russell Museum

    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...


Great Falls Hotels

Great Falls Restaurants

  • Best Coffee & Scones in Great Falls!

    Small coffeehouse and bakery on 2nd Ave N. A favorite of locals, either picking up coffee and baked goods, or staying awhile to visit with friends. One table had a group of ladies drinking coffee, knitting, and chatting about the week's events.Scones are excellent and rival anything I have tasted in cities around the world. On Saturday mornings...

  • OK food

    After a few stops and starts at other area restaurants that weren't what I was after, I settled on B&E. I would liken this place to a nicer Fridays or Applebees. They had a bar area, and a good sized menu with sandwiches and entrees. They also had live music the night I was there, and the singer was decent. After debating a little, I went with a...

  • Please no more Tacos and Burgers

    Well here is the food choice of Great Falls, well there is a few good resturaunts but nothing to rave about, so this is the land of Tacos and fast food. The moment you see a new resturaunt being built up, dont hold your breath, the same restuant is already there but on the other side of town. How many KFC's and TAco treats do you need? Nothing is...


Great Falls Nightlife

  • LS451's Profile Photo

    by LS451 Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Dress Code: Casual everywhere, western attire is commonly worn. Dress Western acceptable in nicer places, casual or working western is also acceptable even in nicer places but common on the street. Leave the tux at home, jewelery is commonly and safely worn daily in the area.

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Great Falls Transportation

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    by jasperdo Written Jul 27, 2006

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    Most local bus systems in the United States have a transit hub downtown where many lines converge and make for an easy transfer. These are usually located in a former parking lot, open to the elements, with just a glass canopy and possibly a wind break. The Great Falls Transit District has come up with a novel idea. And it's a good one. They converted a closed down Greyhound station into their Transfer Center. Passengers can wait indoors, out of the elements for their connecting city bus. And the building itself is a neat "Art Moderne" style structure from 1947. More cities can follow this simple, yet perfect idea.

    Great Falls Transfer Center

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Great Falls Warnings and Dangers

  • LS451's Profile Photo

    by LS451 Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Weather can be unpredictable in winter. Special considerations such as road closures, wind chills to seventy below, actual temps to 35 below are possible though the winter is often generally and deceptively mild.

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Great Falls Off The Beaten Path

  • by MontanaNative1 Written Jul 23, 2008

    Once you've discovered what Great Falls has to offer, check out these unique destinations just a short drive from the big town. The scenery alone is worth the drive!

    1. Dinosaur History and Digs - begin in the town of Choteau (it’s pronounced Show-Toe). Its history reaches back to the time of the dinosaurs. The area was a breeding ground for dinosaurs millions of years ago. Egg Mountain, 12 miles west of Choteau, is the first site in North America where dinosaur egg shell fragments, nests, and babies were discovered. This one site has provided more information about dinosaur biology than any other dig in the world. Just 15 minutes north of Choteau are Bynum and Two Medicine Dinosaur Center. Two Medicine offers paleontology displays and programs, including dinosaur digs, for adults and children. In addition to Choteau and Bynum, museums in Rudyard, Havre, Chinook and Harlowton offer displays about significant dinosaur discoveries in their area. For more information visit These are a true find for any dino lover.

    2. Fort Benton - the birth place of Montana. Travelers can walk along the mighty Missouri River and imagine a time when steamboats were the fastest way to get to the West. As the last stop on the Missouri River before the great falls, Fort Benton was a transfer station for all goods as they came in by steamboat and were sent west on freight wagons pulled by teams of oxen. The town is home to three museums where visitors can get a closer look at artifacts from the glory days of steamboats, as well as, the Grand Union Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in Montana. Spend the night in a historic room with modern living conveniences or stop by the restaurant for a decadent dinner that won’t soon be forgotten. Fort Benton is a gateway to the scenic and geographically unique Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River.

    3. Belt - the first coal mine in Montana. This charming town is set in the rolling hills of Montana. Plan a stop at the Belt Museum, housed in the original city jail dating back to 1895. The museum’s exhibits include a historic jail cell, a coal mine replica, records and photos, and works of local artists. Belt is also home to Harvest Moon Brewery, famous for two award-winning beers and six other varieties. This one-of-a-kind brewery offers tours and samples, as well as a gift shop.

    4. King’s Hill Scenic Byway. This is a journey, not a destination. Take a two-hour drive that will lead you along 71 miles of highway that pass right through one of Montana’s most majestic mountain ranges. The byway winds along pristine mountain springs and creeks and is home to abundant wildlife. At the end of this scenic treat, you’ll find yourself in White Sulphur Springs. The town is named for the white deposits caused by hot water bubbling in the city’s public park. Spa Hot Springs Motel taps the water for visitors to enjoy a soak in the naturally occurring warm springs. This is a can't miss treat you have to try!

    Belt Creek runs along the Kings Hill Scenic Byway Charting a dino dig along the Rocky Mountain Front Belt Museum housed in Former City Jail Fort Benton's Grand Union Hotel Cast of Gorgosaurus Skull at Blaine County Museum
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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Great Falls Favorites

  • My Reason For Living In Great Falls

    The United States Air Force. Specifically, the Minuteman Missile. These complexes were located in a 500 mile range of Great Falls (furtherest Eastern site to the furtherest Western site). A launch control facility controlled 10 missile complexes. I had the responsibility for visiting all of these on a periodic basis. My favorite memory is the soup...

  • City Park

    This city part alongside the Missouri River is serene and peaceful. However, the memory it has best for me is in the winter. The shallow duck pond would freeze over and it was transformed into a magical, winterland ice skating rink. Watching my daughter play in this park. A great place to bring your family, summer or winter, and decompress.

  • Meadowlark School

    This is the school my daughter attended when we lived there. It was approximately one mile from our home. Watching my daughter build snow forts


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