Take Your Pick
Bigfork, MT
A Day at the Lake
Flathead Lake - Northwestern Montana's 200 square mile and 300 foot deep Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Rockies. It is also one of the cleanest. Fed by the Flathead and Swan Rivers which supply fresh water from the melting snows of the mountains, the water is almost drinkable. Boating and fishing are popular past-times, and for anglers it isn't uncommon to hook a 50 lb Mackinaw Trout, so come prepared. The south end of the lake is home to Flathead Indian Reservation which in summer celebrates their culture with numerous pow-wows.
Billings, MT
The Big YAM
Yellowstone Art Museum - Located in the old county jail, the Yellowstone Art Museum (the YAM for short) is a great place to get in touch with your inner cowboy or cowgirl. The permanent collection includes paintings, illustrations and memorabilia by cowboy artist Will James, along with works by other Montana artists. The museum also hosts a great collection of temporary exhibits throughout the year. After spending a little time indoors at the museum, head out to the 400 foot sandstone Rimrocks on the edge of town for some great hiking and views.
Bozeman, MT
Dinosaurs Everywhere
Museum of the Rockies - The Museum of the Rockies tells the story of Earth's 4 billion year history. With a collection of over 300,000 objects, some dating back over 500 million years, my monkey brain went on prehistoric overload. On display in the Hall of Horns and Teeth is the largest T-Rex skull ever found in the world, along with dozens of other Jurassic monsters. The museum also includes artifacts from recent history with exhibits on Native American culture, cowboys, gold seekers and fur traders. A planetarium with a laser light show, and a living history museum (the Tinsley House) are included in the adventure.
Browning, MT
Sculptures Outside the Museum
Museum of the Plains Indians - Founded in 1941, the Museum of the Plains Indians features traditional costumes, life-sized displays, wood carvings, and authentic weapons of the Northern Plains people. Native to this region are the Arapaho, Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Cheyenne, Cree, Crow, Flathead, Nez Perce, Northern Sioux, and Shoshone tribes. The museum contains a permenant collection as well as a temporary exhibit area for Native American artists.
Butte, MT
Nation's Worst Mining Disaster
Granite Mountain Mine Memorial - The nation's worst hard-rock mining disaster occurred on June 8, 1917 when 168 men perished. An electrical cable, which had fallen in the mine, became frayed and exposed the paper insulation. During an inspection of the cable the paper was ignited by a hand-held carbide lamp and the fire quickly spread to the support timbers. The smoke from the blaze traveled throughout the passageways and into the connecting Speculator Mine where it took the men's lives. Many of the men lived long enough to write notes to their loved ones. The Granite Mountain Mine Memorial (or Speculator Mine Memorial) is a tribute to the miners who lost their lives.
Clinton, MT
Montana Tendergroin
Testicle Festival - Call them what you want, "Montana Tendergroin", "Rocky Mountain Oysters", "Calf Fries" or "Swinging Beef", you'll find them at the Testicle Festival. The annual festival attracts over 15,000 party goers who flock to Clinton's Rock Creek Lodge to "have a ball". The testicles are beer battered and deep fried and are usually washed down with large quantities of Bull Snort Brew (brewed just for the festival by Big Sky Brewing). Be warned, this isn't a family event. You must be 21 years old to enter because there are wet t-shirt contests, oil wrestling, and occasional random nudity.
Crow Agency, MT
Custer's Last Stand
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument - On July 25th and 26th 1876 while the rest of the United States was celebrating the nation's centennial, General George Armstrong Custer was fighting the Black Hills War. Custer, a West Point graduate and proven fighter during the Civil War, led his soldiers from the 7th Calvary against Sitting Bull's Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors. Out-numbered nearly 10-1 Custer and 267 of his soldiers were quickly wiped out. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of Custer's Last Stand with a large white sandstone marker atop a mass grave, the Custer Battlefield, the Reno-Benteen Battlefield, and an Indian Memorial.
Cut Bank, MT
Are There Penguins in Montana?
Penguin - On the east end of Cut Bank is a 27 foot tall Penguin proclaiming this town to be "the coldest spot in the nation". I've never verified that claim, but who is a 20 inch sock monkey to argue with a 3 story penguin. The statue was built in 1989, weighs roughly 5 tons and holds the record for being the world's largest penguin. As an added bonus, he talks. Cut Bank is right on the way to Glacier National Park, so drop in and say "hi" to the penguin. He needs a name though....I'll call him "Waddles".
Deer Lodge, MT
Turkey Pete's Old Haunt
Old Prison Museum - Located at the same location in Deer Lodge are two great attractions, the Old Prison Museum and the Montana Auto Museum. The "Old Prison" was constructed in 1871, when Montana was just a territory, and remained the state's primary institution until 1979. Visit Cell No. 1 occupied by Paul "Turkey Pete" Eitner, the resident turkey rancher, see solitary confinement and walk the grounds where the 1959 riot took place. Next to the prison is a nice collection of about 150 antique and collector cars in the Montana Auto Museum.
Everywhere, MT
Fall Harvest
Big Sky and Open Fields - For nearly as long as Montana has been a state its nickname has been the "Treasure State" because of its vast mineral deposits. That changed in the 1960s when the Montana State Highway Department promoted the state as "Big Sky Country", from a book entitled "Big Sky" by Alfred Bertram Guthrie Jr. It is easy to see why they chose that nickname. The low rolling hills of eastern Montana seem to show more sky than ground and the mountains of western Montana turn the heavens a deep dark blue. When viewing at night, the bands of the Milky Way can be seen clearly hugging the infinitesimally small Earth.
Great Falls, MT
A Tough Month for Lewis and Clark
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center - During their 1803-1806 expedition, Lewis and Clark spent a month portaging around the five waterfalls (Black Eagle, Colter, Rainbow, Crooked, and Great Falls) of the Missouri River near Great Falls. The 5,500 square foot Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center located on the Missouri River details the arduous task that the Corps of Discovery faced in this area. Start the tour with the informative 30 minute film, then traverse the hands-on exhibits and interactive displays of the center.
Haugan, MT
Every Day Hoping Silver Goes Up
Lincoln's 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar - Billboards hundreds of miles in every direction guide travelers to the doorsteps of Lincoln's 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar. The bar, which was opened in 1952 by Gerry and Marie Lincoln, lives up to its name and does indeed boast well over 50,000 silver dollars which are embedded in the bar and affixed to the walls. All of which were donated by patrons from the four corners of the world. The silver dollars are certainly impressive, but even more so is the enormous gift shop filled travel trinkets and doo-dads. The property also contains a restaurant, casino, hotel and gas station.
Helena, MT
Mighty Big Buffalo in Montana
Montana Historical Society - For a detailed look at Montana's storied history, stop by the Montana Historical Society near the capitol building. Established in 1865, the museum contains sculptures and paintings by Charles M Russell (1864-1926), a mock frontier town and "Big Medicine" a sacred white buffalo. In front of the museum catch the train to the Last Chance Gulch. The creek where four men on July 14th, 1864, decided to take one last chance at finding gold - as luck would have it, they did. The wealth from this gold find built many of the Victorian mansions (now B&Bs) located in the city.
Helena, MT
Montana's Capitol Building
State Capitol Building - Designed in the Greek neoclassical style, the Montana State Capitol Building was completed in 1902, with its east and west wings added in 1912. The copper covered dome rises 165 feet above the carefully manicured grounds and is adorned with a bronze statue of Lady Liberty. The exterior was constructed with granite and sandstone from Montana and is very impressive, but the interior is more so. The wide-open rotunda features color combinations of gold, red and black mixed with stained glass and detailed murals that are stunning.
Miles City, MT
One Fancy Horn Chair
Range Riders Museum - The Range Riders Museum was founded in 1939 to preserve the heritage and history of Eastern Montana. The 13 structures contain over 38,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with 400 rifles, 1,200 arrowheads, dinosaur bones, cowboy-stockman photos, saddles, carriages, tools and much more. It is a very impressive collection, with all of the items and buildings donated to the museum. The 13 acres museum is located on the 1876 Fort Keogh cantonment which was used as a secure area after the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Missoula, MT
Ride a Painted Pony...Spinnng Wheels
Carousel of Missoula - On the banks of the Clark Fork River in Caras Park are the brightly painted ponies on the Carousel of Missoula. Part of the downtown revitalization project, the carousel with its hand carved ponies was built by Chuck Kaparich and completed on May 27, 1995. Over 100,000 volunteer hours were recorded on the project. If instead of going round-and-round you'd rather go way up, head to the Smokejumper Visitor Center. Here you'll learn the history and profession of smokejumping (jumping out of airplanes to put out fires). They are always looking for recruits.
Pompeys Pillar, MT
Lewis and Clark Graffiti
Pompey Pillar - Long before Socko was here, Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) passed this way on the return trip of their two year Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806). In Clark's journal he wrote this was a "remarkable rock" and named the formation Pompey Pillar after their fellow traveler's, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau and Sacagawea's, son whose nicknamed was Pompy. The sandstone outcropping rises dramatically against the plains and bears the name, W Clark July 25, 1806 which is now encased behind glass.
West Glacier, MT
Going into the Sun
Glacier National Park - Over one million acres of glacier carved mountains have been set aside since the opening of Glacier National Park in 1910. The park contains four glaciers; wildlife including grizzly bears, moose, wolves, deer, and mountain goats; turquoise lakes; and mountains reaching over 10,000 feet. The most popular route through the park is the 50 mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road. Hop aboard a historic Red Bus for a fully narrated tour through some of the prettiest land in the nation. Other activities include fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking and of course sight-seeing.
West Yellowstone, MT
Quake Lake
1959 Earthquake Area - On August 17, 1959 a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, with its epicenter roughly 15 miles north of West Yellowstone, killed 28 people and became Montana's most intense and deadliest quake. Most of those killed were camping near the Madison River and were victims of the enormous landslide of the south canyon wall. The landslide moved so much rock that it blocked the river and created what is now known as "Quake Lake". At the 1959 Earthquake Area is a visitor center and monument to those who perished in the natural disaster.
Wisdom, MT
I Will Fight No More Forever
Big Hole National Battlefield - Part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park, the Big Hole National Battlefield is the site where the largest battle between the US Army and Nez Perce took place. On August 9, 1877 the US Cavalry attacked 750 Nez Perce Indians (primarily women and children) as they attempted to head north to Canada to avoid being sent to a reservation. The result was nearly 90 Native Americans killed. After the battle the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph continued north, but surrendered just 30 miles short of the Canadian border. It is here where Chief Joseph said, "I will fight no more forever".
Wise River, MT
Cool Waters and Cold Beer
Fly Fishing - The Wise River Valley offers, if not the best Fly Fishing in the country, at least one of the most idyllic settings for Fly Fishing. Two twisting rivers of cool clear water writhe through the valley, the Wise River and the Big Hole River. Both have their share of brook, rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. Although popular, the rivers like the rest of Montana are rarely crowded and offer a welcome getaway to quietly reflect while casting a line. If you find you need a little social interaction at the end of the day, head down to Wise River Club and have a cold one with your fellow fishermen.