Breathtaking views, majestic wildlife and memorable surprises await visitors in Montana’s famed Glacier Country.
The year-round outdoor recreation that can be found here ranges from skiing at a world-class ski resort to casting a line into a blue-ribbon trout stream. In Montana’s Glacier Country, recreation is experienced against a backdrop of spectacular views that include crystal-clear lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks and rushing waterfalls. While scenery and outdoor recreation take center stage in Montana, Glacier Country offers plenty of Western charm in the form of small towns, a lively arts and culture scene, working ranches and a hearty craft beer industry.
Glacier National Park
With more than 1 million acres, the park is stunning, dramatic and breathtaking with terrain that includes rolling foothills, wildflower-filled meadows and more than 200 waterfalls. While Glacier National Park is one of the largest national parks in the contiguous 48 states, it’s easy for visitors to explore by road, trail or boat. The 80-kilometer Going-to-the-Sun Road, an engineering marvel and National Historic Landmark, is one of the most scenic drives in the country. The park is also home to historic lodges, backcountry chalets, abundant outdoor recreation and more than 1,127 kilometers of hiking trails. Due to the excellent experiences in this park, registering your vehicle through the park's website is required for entry during the busy summer months. Visit in spring or fall for fewer crowds.
Serene day kayaking and exploring Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park
Blackfeet Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Outside Glacier’s eastern boundary sits one of the largest Indigenous American reservation in Montana, the Blackfeet Nation, which is home to more than 8,000 members of the Blackfeet Tribe. For an authentic peek into the history of the Blackfeet Nation, the Museum of the Plains Indian in nearby Browning, Montana, houses a collection of art and relics created by the local tribes, and Sun Tours offers interpretive tours of Glacier National Park from the perspective of the Blackfeet Nation.
In northwest Montana between Missoula and Kalispell is the Flathead Indian Reservation, home of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. This reservation includes the southern portion of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, in addition to the Bison Range and the Mission Mountains Wilderness Complex. At Three Chiefs Cultural Center in St. Ignatius, Montana, travelers can explore the reservation’s rich history. View tribal artifacts, participate in cultural activities and see traditional arts and crafts.
Dancers from the Blackfeet Tribe near East Glacier Park Village
Uniquely Western Montana Experiences
Visitors to Glacier Country will be surprised by the history and culture developed in this beautiful area over the past 200 years. St. Mary’s Mission in Stevensville became the first permanent settlement by non-Indigenous people in Montana. Founded in 1841, the complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses a museum and visitor center open for tours. Travelers' Rest State Park in Lolo commemorates a resting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The group stopped here in 1805 on their way to the Pacific Ocean and again on their return trip in 1806. It is the only site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail that has been archaeologically verified, yielding physical proof of the explorers’ presence. In 1888, Fort Missoula became the home of the famous Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infinity; the history of this group is celebrated in the Historical Museum of Fort Missoula with 13 historic structures and 24,000 artifacts to view. At the Smokejumper Visitor Center in Missoula, smokejumpers are honored for their bravery in fighting fires in remote, roadless areas. The campus houses the largest working smokejumper base in the country.
The wildlife of the region is cherished. The diverse habitat of the area is one of the most intact ecosystems in the contiguous 48 states. You’ll likely see wildlife such as American bison, bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bears, white-tailed and mule deer, elk, moose and mountain goats. Notable birds that can be spotted here include bald eagles, sandhill cranes, ospreys, Lewis’s woodpeckers and great blue herons. Grab your binoculars to catch a glimpse at of these majestic animals in Glacier National Park, the Bison Range, Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, and in Glacier Country's national forests and state parks.
Mountain goat grazing amid gorgeous landscapes around Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park
To get to Glacier Country, catch a connecting flight into Missoula Montana Airport (MSO) or Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) and rent a car. Bus and train services are also available when traveling to Western Montana's Glacier Country.
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