Planning a trip to Montana can be downright confusing. As one of the biggest states in the country, everything is quite spread out, and most travelers don’t know what exists beyond Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and the epic skiing at Big Sky. If you’re looking for small town charm and northern hospitality, check out these four awesome cities in Montana.
Nestled in the northern Rocky Mountains, just 80 miles north of Yellowstone National Park and within an hour’s drive of three world-class ski areas, Bozeman, Montana, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Referred to as the “Fly fishing capital of the World,” with crystal clear trout streams and rivers such as the Gallatin, Madison, Jefferson and Missouri flowing down from high mountain peaks, it’s easy to see why. These rivers and mountain ranges, though, provide far more than just fly fishing opportunities. Bozeman is a mecca for outdoor adventures, including hiking, white-water rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding and rock climbing, just to name a few.
As the largest city in Montana, Billings is home to Montana’s only walkable brewery district, six microbreweries and two distilleries offer exceptional Made in Montana products throughout the historic downtown core. With more than 20 miles of paved trails, there’s plenty of recreational opportunities to explore, as well. Don’t miss Swords Rimrock Park with the grandeur of nature just five minutes from town.
In the late 19th century, as demand for copper exploded due to the electrification of America, Butte became internationally notorious for its mining riches — and for its Wild West, anything-goes culture. Surrounded by the natural wonders of the Continental Divide and Montana’s headwater streams, Butte serves as a springboard to almost four million acres of state and federal public land. The historic urban city contrasts with the spectacular outdoor opportunities available. There are many public fishing access sites managed by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and throughout the year, hunters take to valleys and mountains for big game, waterfowl and upland bird opportunities.
The Missouri River is at the heart of the city, but you’ll soon discover that the real heart of the city rests in the friendly people who call Great Falls home. Explore 57 miles of trails along the water’s edge with spectacular views of the river canyon, hydro-electric dams, reservoirs and waterfalls. Or, get cultured on cowboy life at the CM Russell Museum. Named for Charles Marion Russell, a unique and colorful artist and writer who recorded the old West in oils and verse, there are over 4,000 pieces of work at the museum.