Montana is a state located in the western United States, and is known for its majestic landscape of mountains, forests, rivers and lakes.
Currently, the state is featured on the popular show Yellowstone and its popularity is growing. Home to a variety of beautiful and historic landmarks, Montana has something for everyone from outdoor adventurers to history buffs.
Here are some of the most famous landmarks in Montana.
Famous Landmarks in Montana
1. Glacier National Park
Located in northwest Montana near the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is renowned for its stunning mountain vistas, glaciers, alpine meadows, and wildlife.
There are over 700 miles of trails including the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road which runs east to west across the park’s mountainous terrain. It boasts over 1,000 species of plants, making it one of the most biologically diverse places in America.
The park also contains two mountain ranges – the Rocky Mountains and the Lewis Range. The once over 150 active glaciers were reduced to 25 by 2010 drawing thousands of visitors each year.
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If you haven’t visited yet, get there soon as scientists predict that climate change may melt the remaining glaciers by 2030.
Animal life includes grizzlies, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and over 70 species of birds. It was established in 1910 with a total of 350 hotels and chalets.
Many of these accommodations are listed as National Historic Landmarks. Over 3 million people visit the park every year.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Just south of Montana is Yellowstone National Park, which straddles the borders of Wyoming and Idaho in addition to Montana.
It was the first national park ever formed in the United States and is home to magnificent geysers, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls, and canyons. The Grand Prismatic Spring is one of its most popular attractions, along with Old Faithful Geyser and Mammoth Hot Springs.
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The park was established in 1872 and is known for its wildlife, including bison, elk, wolves, grizzly bears, and the recently reintroduced gray wolf.
It spans an area of over 3,000 square miles and is home to a variety of ecosystems, including grasslands, forests, alpine tundra, and the volcanic region known as the Yellowstone Caldera.
Today, it is visited by over 4 million people every year and offers a wide range of activities.
3. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Situated south of Billings, Montana in the Bighorn Mountains lies Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
Created by a combination of natural forces such as erosion and glacial activity, this area covers nearly 120,000 acres of rugged wilderness. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and bald eagles, as well as over 600 known archaeological sites.
This area is known for its incredible vistas, and visitors can take in views of the canyon walls, islands, and colorful rock formations from the overlooks along the north and south rim drives.
One of the most popular spots is Afterbay Lake, where visitors can fish and canoe. Each year, the area sees over 2 million visitors who come to hike, picnic, and enjoy the scenic beauty.
4. Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park, located near Glendive, Montana, is the largest state park in Montana. It encompasses over 11,000 acres of rugged badlands and is known for its unique geological features, including hoodoos and canyons.
Visitors to the park can explore miles of hiking trails, see dinosaur fossils, and observe wildlife such as turkeys, eagles, falcons, bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer.
The park also contains an active paleontology dig site and visitors can observe the work of paleontologists as they uncover ancient fossils from the area. In 1991, a 600-pound dinosaur femur was discovered, the largest of its kind ever found.
The Glendive Chamber of Commerce proposed the site as a national park in 1938.
5. Pictograph Cave State Park
Located near Billings, Montana, Pictograph Cave State Park is home to a number of well-preserved rock art images of bison, birds, and other animals on the Pictograph Cave.
The images were created by the Plains Indians over 2,000 years ago, and are believed to be the oldest in North America.
The area also contains a variety of archaeological sites, including an ancient village and petroglyphs. Visitors to the park can explore the many trails and take in views of the Yellowstone River Valley.
There are 3 caves in the park called Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost Cave. The Pictograph Cave is the most famous for its images of bison and other animals, and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can explore them on a self-guided tour. The park also has picnic areas, camping facilities, and a visitor center.
Each year over 20,000 visitors come to the park to view the ancient artwork and explore its rich history.
6. Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is a ski resort located near Bozeman, Montana. It was the first ski resort in the country to offer an 8-passenger gondola and is known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding.
The resort also offers miles of hiking trails, a mountain coaster, an adventure park, and an Alpine Slide. Visitors can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges from the scenic overlooks.
7. Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is located near Deer Lodge, Montana. It was once a working cattle ranch owned by Conrad Kohrs, and is now preserved as a living history museum.
Visitors can take guided tours of the historic ranch buildings, explore miles of trails, and observe wildlife such as bison, elk, and bald eagles. The ranch also offers a variety of educational programs, as well as horseback riding and wagon tours.
It was established in 1972 as a National Historic Site, and is now part of the National Park Service.
8. Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is located near West Yellowstone, Montana. It is a wildlife park and educational center dedicated to preserving grizzly bears, wolves, and other animals of the Northern Rocky Mountains.
Visitors can observe the animals in their natural habitat, take part in interactive exhibits and educational programs, and meet with park staff to learn more about the animals and their conservation.
There are as many as 40 grizzly bears, gray wolves, and other species living in the park. Every year, the park hosts several special events, such as Wolf Howl Night and Wild Winter Days.
9. Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a scenic highway that runs through Glacier National Park in Montana. It was built in the early 1930s and is known for its iconic views of forests, alpine meadows, and glacier-carved valleys.
It’s the only road that traverses the length of the park and is a popular destination for hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Take in stunning views of the surrounding mountains from the numerous overlooks along the highway. Going-to-the-Sun Road is also popular among cyclists and hikers, as the road provides access to some of the park’s most popular trails.
Construction on the iconic road started in 1921 and ended in 1932. It has the honor of being a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, National Historic Place, and National Historic Landmark.
10. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is located near Williston, Montana. It was once the most important fur trading post on the Upper Missouri River and is now preserved as a national historic site.
Visitors to the site can explore the fort, which contains several interpretive exhibits and artifacts from the fur trading era. The site offers a variety of educational programs and activities, as well as guided tours of the fort.
Annually, the park hosts a rendezvous celebration to commemorate the fur trading era. Come observe traditional blacksmithing and other activities of everyday life during the fur trade.
The fort was established in 1828, and is now part of the National Park Service. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
These are some of the most famous landmarks in Montana. From majestic mountain ranges to working cattle ranches, these sites provide breathtaking views and a glimpse into Montana’s rich history. Get away from urban life and explore the beauty of this untouched land. There’s plenty of room to move around, and lots to explore. So, what are you waiting for? Pack up and head out to Montana! It’s a beautiful state that’s worthy of a visit.