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 Charles M Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Experience Montana’s Fall Colors by Train with Amtrak’s Empire Builder Route


Spanning from Chicago to Seattle, Amtrak’s Empire Builder is the ultimate fall train trip to watch Montana’s landscape transition from rolling prairies to scenic mountain ranges as they turn to gold when the cooler weather arrives in late September and early October.

Trade the heat and humidity in the Midwest and explore Montana’s small towns and incredible views found in the northern part of the state. No ride through Montana is complete without a stop in one of the small towns along the way.


Small Town Chefs Making a Big Name

Ever heard of Livingston or Fishtail, Montana, before? With populations of 8,790 and 478 people respectively, these small towns in South-Central Montana aren’t on many people's radar. But if you're a food enthusiast, you'll want to make a trip to taste the unique, local flavors being prepared by Montana chefs gaining national attention at Campione in Livingston and MontAsia in Fishtail. Campione chef Joshua Adams and MontAsia chef Lee Johnson were named semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard awards for Best Chef from the Mountain region earlier this year. And in 2023, the James Beard award committee included the Backporch– a barbecue spot located in the small, historic town of Roundup (population: 1,916)– on its list of nominees for best new restaurant. 

Discover Dinosaur Bones in Montana


Did you know that the first skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex was discovered in Montana in 1902? Since then, many other dinosaur bones have been discovered, including Peck's Rex, which is one of the most complete dinosaur fossils ever discovered, and Leonardo, which is in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the Best Preserved Dinosaur. Earlier this summer, paleontologists identified a new dinosaur species in Northern Montana, Lokiceratopsrangiformis, which is named after Norse god Loki.You can see the first T. rex skeleton on display at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center and Leonardo at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum. Both stops are part of the Montana Dinosaur Trail that features 14 different interpretive sites across the state.

85 Years of Montana State Parks: 55 Options to Choose From

Montana State Parks is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, making it a perfect time tovisit. Here are some of our favorites:

Makoshika State Park. Makoshika is the largest state parkin Montana (11,538 acres)and home to balands and dinosaur fossils. Starting this summer, visitors can stay in yurts on the property for a glamping experience under some of the darkest skies in theworld.

Sluice Boxes State Park. Hike along limestone cliffs, follow trails that historically served as mining routes for gold prospectors and explore old cabin remains where mining families used to live and work.

Missouri Headwaters State Park. Camp where Lewis and Clark stayed in 1805 during their cross-country trek and soak in the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers—where the Missouri River begins.

Tower Rock State Park. View the breathtaking 424-foot-high rock formation used as a landmark by many Native American tribes and noted in the journal of Capt. Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Celebrating the Spaces In Between (Montana’s National Parks)

Look, we also love Glacier and Yellowstone, but what travelers often overlook are the hundreds of miles of untouched wilderness and outdoor recreation in between these more oft-visited parks, especially during the shoulder season in the fall.

Start at the less crowded East Glacier entrance (book an interpretive tour with Sun Tours, led byresidents of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation) and then head south to explore the Bob Marshall Wilderness (the third-largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states). 

Make a pit stop in Craig (only 39 permanent residents but home to five fly shops, a new breweryand coffee shop) for world-class fly fishing on the Missouri River, and then head south to Dillon for more adventure and a world-class steak dinner at local favorite the Den.

King Salmon and Bugling Elk: Fall in Montana’s Missouri River Country

When the leaves start to turn in Montana’s Missouri River Country, anglers, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts flock to the wilderness areas in and around Fort Peck Lake to marvel at elk and test their luck catching Chinook salmon, both of which become most prevalent this time of the year. Start your wildlife excursion in the small towns of Zortman, Fort Peck or Glasgow and book a guided wilderness tour with an outfitter like Redbone. Be sure to plan a stop to Slippery Ann Wildlife Viewing Area for the best chance to see bugling elk.

Celebrating Songwriters: Inaugural Livingston Songwriter Festival Set for Oct. 4 - 5

Serving as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and the celebrated Yellowstone River, Livingston, Montana, has won the hearts of many famous celebrities and made a name for itself with award-winning restaurants like Campione, historic fly fishing outfitters like Dan Bailey’s and spectacular views of Paradise Valley. The town’s outdoor vibes are met with a vibrant music and arts scene that will expand this Oct.4-5 when songwriters from Nashville and Montana take over the city’s music venues, coffeeshops and bars for the first-ever Livingston Songwriter Festival.

Where the Bison Roam: Bison Range

If connecting with nature and some of our country’s most iconic wildlife is a focal point of your travel, then exploring the 18,500 acres of wildlife conservation land found in the Bison Range is your ticket. Managed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the range is home to 350 bison in addition to elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bears and more than 200 species of birds. Visitors can navigate the range by foot on a series of nature trails or by two different wildlife drives:

1.Prairie Drive (open year-round)

2.Red Sleep Mountain Drive (open mid-May to Mid-October, weather permitting).

Each season brings different wildlife encounters. In late summer, plan to get out early to beat the heat and spot deer and elk calves, bighorn sheep and rams or bears hunting for berries. When the temperatures drop in the fall, you can encounter bugling and sparring elk with a backdrop of golden aspens. Stop by the visitor’s center for your day-use access pass. Just remember to bring bear spray and keep a safe distance when viewing wildlife.

14 Ski Areas, 15,000 Acres of Terrain and the Country’s Best Snow

While much of the West is home to great skiing, there’s only one place that has more acres per skier than anywhere else in the continental United States—Montana. With 14 ski resorts, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy affordable lift tickets, short lift lines, over 300 inches of annual snowfall and world-famous cold smoke powder. Anchored by two world-class ski destinations, Big Sky Resort and Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana’s well-rounded ski scene, charming mountain communities and cozy amenities make it one of the best locations for a winter ski trip.

Discover Montana’s Secret Winter Paradise

Winter in Glacier National Park is unreal. From still mountain lakes to towering peaks, Glacier is Montana’s northern jewel and the Crown of the Continent. Over 1,600 square miles of unspoiled, pristine landscapes create the perfect setting for snow-inspired adventure. Make your way to the snow-covered Going-to-the-Sun Road, most of which is closed to vehicular travel, as snowfall creates a sanctuary for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. As you soak in the quiet, ethereal beauty of the mountains and pine forests, you’ll feel as though you’re walking among nature’s gentle giants—perfectly covered in powder.

Drink Up, Montana Style

It’s no secret that Montana loves a good brew. Few landscapes make the traveler as thirsty as the mountainous peaks and legendary downhill skiing of Montana. Boasting over 75 breweries, creating award- wining craft beer, the local breweries are the perfect place to refuel. Beer isn’t your style? No problem. The Big Sky state has some amazing distilleries, wineries and cideries. Sip on spirits that find inspiration from the wildlife and serene landscape.

Cold Smoke in the Rockies

Montana’s Rocky Mountains welcome hundreds of inches of snow per year. Known for its light, airy quality as it follows skiers and snowboarders during a fresh powder run, Montana’s signature cold smoke powder is a favorite among downhill lovers. Local favorites like Lookout Pass, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Bridger Bowl and Turner Mountain are known for deep and dry stores of this type of snow.

Plan the Perfect Family Getaway to Big Sky Country’s World-Class Ski Resorts and More

While many people gravitate toward warm destinations and beaches for spring break, here in Montana, we tend to think that spring break is best spent playing in a snow-covered winter wonderland, enjoying adventures from downhill skiing and snowboarding, to exploring our two national parks and charming towns. Springtime is when the landscape itself comes alive with rushing rivers from mountain runoff, meadows and hillsides awash with wildflowers, fertile green hues and emerging wildlife. The days get longer, and the temperatures begin to warm up. We ski well into the spring here—surfing the soft snow and celebrating a winter well-played. 

Hop on a Snowmobile

Experience the rush of snowmobiling through Montana’s spectacular terrain. Guided day trips or multi-day adventures travel deep into the lesser-explored areas of Yellowstone National Park, encountering wildlife and snowy landscapes that will excite snowmobilers of all skill levels. Whip past snow-covered trees and frozen lakes and witness the many geologic and geothermal marvels in Yellowstone. Take a guided tour to Old Faithful, it’s the only way to see this thermal wonder in the winter. Note, snowmobiling is not permitted within Glacier National Park boundaries.

Soak Under the Big Sky: Discover Montana's Natural Hot Springs

While Montana's seemingly endless supply of fresh powder tends to garner most of the attention during the winter, there's another natural wonder that's a close second: hot springs. With 14 hot spring resorts and day-use pools located throughout the state, there are plenty of places to take a relaxing dip or a morning plunge. Montana's hot springs have been in use for thousands of years, first by American Indian tribes who discovered the springs as they traveled throughout the state's vast landscapes, followed by early miners and pioneers. Today, the natural pools welcome visitors from around the world to relax in their healing waters.

Find Your Perfect Romantic Weekend Getaway in Montana

There are a few destinations that conjure up feelings of coziness and romance, and if it’s not already, Montana should be at the top of the list. From snow-covered landscapes to horse-drawn sleigh rides and quaint mountain cabins, to guest ranches and candlelit dinners, the opportunities for romance are endless. During the winter season, several of Montana’s guest ranches, resorts and lodges are transformed into intimate winter retreats that are ideal for couples looking to travel for a Valentine’s Day getaway, long weekend away and more.