Montana boasts some of the most incredible landscapes that remain just as they were centuries ago, unfettered by the alterations of development. This pristine paradise is home to untouched wilderness ranging from high mountain meadows to sculpted saw-toothed peaks. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should keep your wagon wheels rolling through the Treasure State; there are many outdoor activities to be enjoyed under Montana’s seemingly endless skies. Here are some of the best adventures that Montana has to offer the outdoorsman.
Hit the Trail
Montana is home to 44 state parks, all of them crowded with spectacular scenery and mountain or lowland trails. Highline Trail in Glacier National Park is a moderately difficult 11-mile loop through Logan Pass. Several cascading waterfalls, a view of McDonald Lake and abundant wildlife including deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goats are some of the attractions along this scenic mountain trail.
Relax, enjoy the view, and drop a line for trout on a float trip down the Smith River Corridor, a tributary of the Missouri in Central Montana. With 59 miles of scenic river views between Camp Baker and Fort Logan and overnight boat camping along the way, a float down the Smith is an unforgettable family getaway. Experienced kayakers or whitewater enthusiasts may prefer to hit the rapids at Alberton Gorge.
Travel back in time with a stay at one of Montana’s many dude or guest ranches. From the Rockies to the prairies to the unparalleled views of Yellowstone National Park, guest ranches are scattered throughout the state to cater to visitors of varying skill levels. Spend the day outdoors on horseback and recreate the Old West with trail rides, overnight pack trips and cattle drives. Additional activities include campfires, cookouts and some of the best fly-fishing in the state.
Dig for Dinosaurs
Amateur paleontologists and anyone with an interest in dinosaurs will get a kick out of a working vacation volunteering outdoors at the Judith River Dinosaur Institute. Dedicated to preserving Montana’s rich natural history, the Institute hosts three six-day digs each summer that appeal to students, professionals and people from all walks of life. Though the work can be hot, it is always rewarding, and many volunteers return year after year.
An undiscovered paradise in the heart of Big Sky Country, Wild Horse Island National Park is a refuge for true wilderness lovers. Home to a preserved palouse prairie environment and spectacular wildlife, Wild Horse is the largest island in Flathead Lake. The wild horses that populate the island are thought to be descendants of horses pastured there by Salish-Kootenai Indians to prevent other tribes from stealing them.