Fun things to do in Montana

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    (c) 2009 Maria Olson
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Montana

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    Ski & Board Montana

    by Dymphna1 Updated Jun 13, 2015

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    Oh we have the greatest slopes at a lower cost than most and little to no lines. Check out the video for this movie that was made here in Montana on how nuts we are about it here. There are a few hidden places here that are not only world class slopes, but they are low cost and no lines to get on the lifts.

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    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Dec 5, 2014

    Most of Yellowstone National Park lies within Wyoming, but small fringes exist in Idaho and Montana, as well. Just outside of Montana’s fringes lie three little towns from which you can establish a home base while exploring the vast Park from. They are conveniently situated on the west, north and northeast edges of the Park. The Park is very large, so it depends upon where you want to go and see – West Yellowstone is a good base for the geyser basins; Cooke City for the animal-rich Lamar Valley; and Gardiner for the Mammoth Terraces.

    Of course, you can stay within the Park, but you need to be thinking about a year in advance. Don’t think you can show up at Old Faithful Lodge on a whim and get a room overlooking the famous geyser. It is far easier – and cheaper – to stay in one of the Montanan home bases and journey in each day.

    For more, see my Yellowstone pages.

    Bison make a comeback in Yellowstone Lower Yellowstone Falls roaring Old Faithful - every couple hours for the crowds Norris Geyser Basin Steaming terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs
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    BEARTOOTH HIGHWAY

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    There are many beautiful highways in Montana, but you would be hard-pressed to beat the Beartooth Highway for pure magnificence. The road was built in 1937. It never was a primary travel route before it was built. The primary reason it was developed was to bring in tourists. The road goes for 68 miles running from the town of Red Lodge in the east to Cooke City in the west. Most of the road is in Wyoming, but the Beartooths that you are constantly gazing at are in Montana. The road reaches almost 11,000 feet in elevation - it is the highest road in both Wyoming and Montana. In the east, the road switchbacks up canyon walls towering above the South Fork of Rock Creek topping out atop the Beartooth Range. The road the traverses the range at high elevation across tundra plains and travels past two beautiful alpine lakes - Beartooth and Island. In the west, the road meets up with the Chief Joseph Highway coming up the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone - this is another magnificent road to travel if you have the time - just before you reach Cooke City and Yellowstone Park beyond.

    View north across Island Lake into the Beartooths West across the high tundra crossed by the highway Pilot Peak on Park border near Cooke City Looking towards the Bear's Tooth - look on right Down into upper reaches of Rock Creek
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    GREYCLIFF PRAIRIE DOG STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Nov 25, 2014

    Prairie dogs are one of those emblematic animals of the Great Plains along with buffalo. Unlike the buffalo, the prairie dog was not hunted to almost extinction though their numbers have been greatly reduced with the sprawl of urbanity and the encroachment of agriculture. Farmers are not fond of the prairie dog because of the foraging ability of a community which can strip the area around their burrows of vegetation and damage crops.

    What makes prairie dogs interesting is their sense of sociality. The prairie dogs live in colonies that can span vast acreages. Within the colonies, many family groups occur with physical barriers coinciding with group territories. The prairie dogs live in burrows that they have dug six to ten feet underground. The burrows can have multiple entrances, some flat and others with mounded dirt around them on top of which the animals post themselves on watch for potential predators. Within the burrows are multiple chambers serving different functions – nursery chambers, night and winter chambers, listening posts.

    Prairie dogs are always looking out for danger since they are on the menu for so many different predators – badgers, hawks, eagles, owls, foxes, coyotes, ferrets. Scientists say prairie dogs have different calls for different predators as well as calls for non-predator things.

    There are five different species of prairie dog and it is the black-tailed prairie dog - cynomys ludovicianus – you find here at Greycliff. This prairie dog was described in the journals of Lewis & Clark in 1805. French trappers gave the animal its name for its habitat and its warning call which they found similar to the bark of a dog.

    Greycliff Prairie Dog State Park consists of 98 acres along the edge of I-90. A local of nearby Livingston, Edward Boehm, helped to preserve this colony when the neighboring freeway was built. The park is run by Montana State Parks and there is a $6 entrance fee for non-Montana cars which helps maintain the area. A couple of picnic tables help you extend your visit while explanatory tablets let you learn more about the prairie dogs.

    No one is home here in this dog's hole Looking for visitors Watchdog spies for trouble Dog poses with the freeway beyond Neighbors keeping a eye out for strangers
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    PICTOGRAPH CAVE STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    Located a few miles south of Billings, the Pictograph Cave has been the site of human comings and goings for thousands of years. First excavated in 1937, the cave was the first such excavated work done on the Northern Plains. Items as old as 9,000 years old were uncovered – over 30,000 separate pieces have been recovered in all.

    The pictographs have been dated between 250 BC all the way up to 1650 AD with a few more recent. The red pigment comes from concentrated iron ore – hematite. The cliffs are marine sandstone and erosion is a constant process here.

    The park is run by Montana State Parks and there is a $6 entrance fee for non-Montana cars which helps maintain the area. A couple of picnic tables help you extend your visit while explanatory tablets let you learn more about the cave as you wind along the couple of short paths.

    Pictograph Cave Drawing of rifles from about 200 years ago Erosion is origin of the caves in sandstone cliffs Some of the pictographs on cave walls Tablet explains the pictographs on the walls
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    RIVER OF GOLD

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    For $15, you get a pan to use, a pail full of dirt taken from the miles of mine trailings along Alder Creek and a vial to store all of the gold and garnets you find within that pail. The River of Gold experience is located on the south side of Montana Highway 297 just east of Nevada City. There are several exhibits from mining history including a gold dredge brought over from Idaho in 1985. Right next to the area is also the narrow-gauge Alder Creek railway which runs between Nevada City and Virginia City. There used to be five dredges working along Alder Creek and they removed between 150-200 million dollars in gold during the late 19th century.

    You won’t make that much from your pail, but it is fun to try. Gold is denser than most of the rest of the sand, so you put water and a small amount of the tailings in the pan and swish away the lighter stuff. With luck, you might find some gold flecks at the bottom after awhile. If no gold, you will find, at least, some garnets resting on the pan bottom. With time and patience, you will fill that vial up with garnet even if the gold is a bit more elusive. All in all, a good education into the whole mining adventure.

    Old gold mining dredge at River of Gold People panning for the yellow It is all in the sand!
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    MISSOURI HEADWATERS STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    Three rivers come together at this State Park to form the 2,300 mile-long Missouri River. The official beginning is where the two Presidential rivers come together – the Jefferson and the Madison (who was actually the Secretary of State at the time Lewis & Clark named the river). The Gallatin – named for Swiss-born Albert Gallatin - joins the mix about a half mile further along. Lewis & Clark stayed here in 1805 on their way west. Sacagawea was captured as a child here, returning to the scene with the expedition. There is a campground here with trails and prime fly fishing. The park is easily accessed just north of I-90. There is a $6 entrance fee for non-Montanan cars.

    Rivers come together forming the Missouri Tablet explaining the naming of the river
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    MADISON BUFFALO JUMP STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    Bison have jumped to their deaths here for over 2000 years. Native Americans chased herds of bison to the rim rock precipice up until about two hundred years ago when horses came onto the scene allowing bison hunting to take place in an easier fashion.

    Young men dressed in animal skins known as runners used to try and lure the bison to the cliff where after the ensuing fall; people below would finish off the behemoths. The bison provided food, clothing and shelter for the Native Americans.

    A trail winds its way to the top after about a mile. A steeper way moves up to the base of the cliff.

    This is just one of many such sites found out in the West. The State Park costs $5 for non-Montana cars. It is found about seven miles south of I-90 reached by a good gravel road.

    View to the Buffalo Jump - trail winds up to left Atop the Jump where the buffalo were driven Looking north from the Jump One way down from the Jump - easy does it Buffalo ran thru here not knowing what was ahead
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    GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    Nestled up along the Canadian border is Glacier National Park, a magnificent piece of Montana’s Rocky Mountains preserved. Most people limit their exploration to a journey up and over Logan Pass on the Going-To-The-Sun Highway. While that is a good place to start from, realize that there are over 730 miles of trails to further your discoveries along.

    See my Glacier National Park pages for more.

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    LITTLE BIGHORN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD

    by mtncorg Written Nov 25, 2014

    Little Bighorn is one of the most famous battles in American history. It was a somewhat small-scale affair compared to other battles – Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Yorktown, New Orleans, Meuse-Argonne, D-Day – but the totality of the defeat, its unexpectedness and the colorful nature of the Federal commander involved – one George Armstrong Custer – seems to have caught the imagination of generations.

    It is on these barren grass-covered hills just off I-25 near the Wyoming border that Custer led five companies of his US 9th Cavalry to their deaths on 25 June 1876. See my Little Bighorn pages for more.

    Markers note where men fell on Last Stand Hill One of many depictions of the End Monument and individual markers on the Hill Other markers show not all died on the Hill Custer's marker noted in black
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    Glaciers

    by emw.weaver Written Dec 22, 2011

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    Glacier National Park is a must-see when in Montana. When I went the main road wasn't completely open yet, but it was still a breathtaking experience. We hiked down the closed road to a small waterfall off the path. The shops right in beginning of the park have some amazing local artwork and crafts. There is also an information center with incredibly helpful park rangers. They taught us all about the first international peace park. I would suggest going after April. The large amount of snowfall that Montana gets can keep the main road closed until May.

    Entering Glacier National Park Glacier National Park
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    Power Maker

    by emw.weaver Written Dec 22, 2011

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    Visit Kerr Dam in Polson, Montana. The guys that work there are fantastic and so informative. If you call ahead, you can schedule a tour of the inside of the power station that runs the dam. It is amazing inside. You can tour the huge machinery before taking a walk down to see the dam. It was great to learn how the dams work and what an impact they make on the community we were living in. Also the water around the dam is an almost impossible aqua blue. It is gorgeous and a great site to see.

    Kerr Dam Entrance to the dam
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    Bison, Bison, and More Bison

    by emw.weaver Written Dec 18, 2011

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    The National Bison Range is quite possibly my favorite thing about Montana. Our group went there to volunteer, but got to tour the property as well. The bison are amazing and massive animals. They roamed about without a care in the world. There were some other wildlife as well including one mother badger that kept popping up.

    Bison
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    • National/State Park
    • Safari

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    Symes hot springs

    by EllenH Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is an old hotel restored to the original 30's look and feel. The bedrooms are all art deco furniture and it has a very comfortable lobby where everyone hangs out. I did not want this under hotels because going to the Symes is not about a place to stay, it is an adventure in itself. The mineral water is the best I have ever been in and I try to find hot springs wherever I go. They have good music on Saturday nights and it is very inexpensive.

    Soaking it up
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    Visit Glacier National Park

    by KazigluBey Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Park has some of the most breath taking natural beauty I have seen anywhere.

    It is very inexpensive and only cost us a few dollars to enter.

    The road we took was called the "Going to the Sun Highway."

    I can't recommend driving this road enough.

    We had to stop every little ways to take in the views and hike and explore!

    Be sure and check ahead before going there, as it is up in the Glaciers and the road is only open a couple months a year in the middle of the summer! :)

    Somewhere On the Way to the Sun Highway
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Montana Things to Do

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