These landmarks in Montana will have you itching for a road trip!
Looking for some beautiful landmarks in Montana to take your breath away? The state of Montana is decorated by vastly different landscapes on each side. To the east, the Great Plains and the outer edge of Yellowstone, and to the west, the Rocky Mountains that are home to one of the nation’s most breathtaking national parks.
Cowboys are alive and well in Montana, whose seemingly infinite plains have earned it the nickname “Big Sky Country” because of the miles and miles of unobstructed views. On the other hand, its mountainous terrain in Glacier National Park is home to 26 of its namesake ice behemoths. While most of our list revolves around the stunning sights in Glacier, you’ll find a few other can’t-miss stops that showcase Montana’s variety as well.
Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is known as the “Crown of the Continent” for its endless options of beautiful views along the Montana-Canada border. You’ve likely seen a photo of the cloudy aqua-colored lake that sits nearby the park’s most notable glacier. To see this view for yourself, take the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead near the Many Glacier Hotel. To cut 3.5 miles off the trail, you can pay a fee to take a shuttle boat across Lake Swiftcurrent and Lake Josephine and pick the trail up after that.
The hike climbs upwards for about 3.5 miles until you reach the Grinnell Glacier Overlook, where you’ll be able to see the 152-acre glacier, the turquoise lake, and the stunning mountains that include the Garden Wall of the continental divide. The glacier was named for the man who discovered it in 1885, George Bird Grinnell. He was so impressed with the scene here he fought to have the area declared a national park in 1910.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park
Of course on a list of places for RVers to discover, we’d include a truly epic road trip. Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the park’s main attractions, and for good reason. It’s a winding 50 mile road atop Glacier National Park’s mountains with stunning vistas around every turn. But if you’re thinking of taking the RV out for a spin here, you may want to think twice: there are size restrictions that say vehicles must be no more than 21 feet long, 8 feet wide and 10 feet tall. Not to mention, the road’s precarious position on the edges of cliffs makes it dangerous to drive, so drivers will need to pay more attention to the path ahead than the scenery it provides.
To truly take in all Going-to-the-Sun Road has to offer, you can take a free shuttle or pay for a day on the classic red buses that give you a little more flexibility with making stops at scenic overlooks. These old-fashioned buses with retractable roofs have been whisking tourists around the park since the 1930s and are often the preferred method of travel on this road, so make sure you book your tour far in advance.
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
Along Going-to-the-Sun road is it’s highest point, Logan Pass. The Continental Divide that separates the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds slices through this scenic area. The Blackfoot Indians call this divide the “Backbone of the World”. Enjoy the views of the glacial lakes and alpine meadows in Logan Pass. Start your hike at the the Logan Pass Visitor Center. You can take the Hidden Lake Nature Trail about 1.5 miles to a breathtaking overlook of Hidden Lake and the mountains that surround it. When the weather warms up, the view is dotted with colorful wildflowers. For a longer hike, take the switchbacks down to the shores of the lake. Which is a popular spot for avid anglers.
Trail of the Cedars, Glacier National Park
Trail of the Cedars is the perfect trail if you’re looking for a hike for beginners or one that’s wheelchair accessible. This boardwalk loop takes you through dense forest of red cedars and western hemlocks and over a lush forest floor of moss and fern, which is thanks to its location on the eastern edge of the Pacific Northwest’s maritime climate. The highlight though is the footbridge that crosses over Avalanche Creek where you can see the best view of the Avalanche Gorge. Take the Avalanche Lake Trail offshoot near here for a longer and more challenging hike.
Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone National Park
While the majority of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, about three percent of the park is in Montana. This part of the park also boasts its most photogenic entrance, the Roosevelt Arch. Visitors entering Yellowstone in Gardiner, Montana can drive under this majestic arch whose cornerstone was laid in 1903 by – you guessed it – Theodore Roosevelt. Its inscription reads “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” To read more about what you can enjoy inside Yellowstone, visit our blog on Beautiful Natural Landmarks in Wyoming.
Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park is an 8 hour drive from the park that holds most of the highlights on this list, but it feels like worlds away. In Montana’s largest state park, you’ll find 11,000 acres of badlands, fossils and rock formations. “Makoshika” in fact is a phrase used by the Lakota Indians to mean “bad spirits.” The area’s most notable geological feature is the abundance of “cap rocks”. Which almost look like giant mushrooms made of towering sandstone. Over 10 species of dinosaur fossils have been found inside the park. Including tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops. This park will make you feel like you are stepping back into prehistoric times as you discover its amazing geology and history.
Beautiful Landmarks in Montana
Whether you prefer the chilly, mountainous hikes past glaciers and alpine forests, or you prefer the wide open spaces of the plains, Montana has something for everyone. Has this list of the best landmarks in Montana gotten you planning an RV trip to Big Sky Country? Get inspired with our other favorite RV destinations on our blog!