Adventure state: Montana’s best outdoor activities
The state of Montana is famous for its great outdoors – whether it’s skiing in winter, fly fishing in spring or hiking in the summer. It’s a playground for adventurers, so if you’re a traveller who enjoys taking in natural beauty by getting sweaty or drenched, be sure to check out some of these highlights Montana has to offer.
Surf Brennan’s Wave
The state of Montana is land locked, but in the town of Missoula locals grab their kayaks, surfboards, skimboards, foamies (anything they can stand up on!), don a 7mm wetsuit and head downtown to the Clark Fork River to ride Brennan’s Wave. The wave forms from the flow of water running over the man made shelf and was built in memory of a local Missoula Kayaker who passed away while paddling in Chile.
Kayak/Raft the Clark Fork River
The Clark Fork cuts through a deep canyon with dramatic rose-coloured cliffs and is full of roller coaster waves and fun Class II-III whitewater thrills for kayaks and rafts. Warm water in the summer and quiet pools between the rapids make the Clark Fork a perfect rafting day trip that finishes downtown. Don’t be surprised if you see the locals on inflatables with floating Eskies, enjoying a can or two of local ale.
Ski/Snowboard Big Sky or Whitefish Mountain Resorts
Big Sky Resort is well known for giving skiers and riders access to more skiing than anywhere else in the United States. Located in south central Montana, about fifty miles south of Bozeman, the resort offers some of the best expert and advanced terrain in the country and provides daily shuttles to Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance. Whitefish Mountain Resort offers spectacular views of Glacier National Park from its 3000 acres of terrain and is located a short drive away from the town of Whitefish highly regarded for its thriving nightlife scene.
Ride Going-to-the-Sun Road
In spring cyclists head to West Glacier and into Glacier National Park to hike and cycle the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road which wraps around Lake McDonald and up through the Rocky Mountains. Come summer when the snow has been cleared, motorcyclists join the action taking in the epic scenery along the 50 mile road finishing 6646ft above sea level at Logan Pass and offering some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Montana has earned a reputation as perhaps the best trout fishing spot in North America. Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or experienced angler, Montana has enough knowledgeable guides and picturesque rivers to ensure you’re always having fun. Conservation is essential for keeping the industry thriving so anglers must adhere to a strict catch and release policy. West Yellowstone is a great town to base yourself in with the famous Firehole and Gibbon Rivers inside the park and also the nearby Gallatin (where A River Runs Through It was filmed).
Drive/Ride through Yellowstone National Park
The 3,500 square mile Yellowstone National Park crosses three states, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Entering the Park for a one or two day trip is probably most convenient from West Yellowstone heading to Norris or further to West Thumb at Yellowstone Lake before wrapping back up to Mammoth Hot Springs and along a beautiful road before exiting at Gardiner. There are countless waterfalls and hot springs to take in as well as wild Bison, bears, elk, moose and the rare pack of wolves. A truly incredible experience. Travel on a motorcycle to avoid the crowds and soak in the scenery.
Horse Ride at a Dude Ranch
Big Sky country is famous for its authentic Dude Ranches. The word Dude once referred to rich easterners visiting the area but evolved to describe anyone that hired a guide or paid money to stay on a ranch. People typically visit these types of ranches for holidays, to getaway and enjoy the outdoors or to participate in a variety of ranching activities from lassoing to horseback riding. Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge on shores of Flathead Lake is a great introduction to dude ranch life – the accommodation is as authentic as the cowboys but all very family friendly.
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