I know that when a lot of people think about visiting Montana, their first thought is “what am I supposed to do in Montana?” One of the assumptions people make about Montana is that it’s a boring state and there’s nothing to do. That couldn’t be further from the truth! There are so many unique and exciting experiences to have in Montana and that’s exactly what this blog post is going to help you figure out!
Montana does tend to be more fun for the “outdoorsy” type of people, so keep in mind that most of these activities will take place outdoors. That said, even if you don’t consider yourself “outdoorsy,” I know you’ll be able to find something on this list that you’ll love.
Go Snowmobiling in the Mountains
If you visit Montana in the Winter, this will be my number one recommendation for you! West Yellowstone, specifically, is one of the most popular places to snowmobile in North America, and for good reason. The trails here are incredible.
I wrote an entire post about snowmobiling in West Yellowstone. It includes where to book a tour, where to rent snowmobiles if you want to go off on your own, and tips for your first ride. When we went, we rented snowmobiles from Big Boy Toys in Bozeman, MT. They give you a trailor to tow them wherever you need to. So, we drove about an hour over to West Yellowstone and took the sleds up Two Top Mountain trail.
These trails aren’t for the faint of heart. It’s difficult at times. You’ll probably get stuck and you’ll probably get frustrated trying to pull your snowmobile out. There are also a few scary parts where you’re on the edge of the mountain. But if you’re up for adventure, Two Top Mountain is the place to go.
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
This next unique experience isn’t necessarily unique to Montana, but it’s unique in itself. After living in Bozeman for almost a year now, I’ve seen countless hot air balloons floating near the mountains. It’s a goal of mine to have that experience before we leave. I suppose doing this activity in Montana is that you get to see and float over Mountains!
Because we see them so often, I had to add this to my 6+ Day Bozeman Itinerary. I suggest checking out Endeaver Ballooning if you’re interested. It looks like they do balloon rides in the summer as well as the winter. However, if you’re going in winter, just make sure to bundle up!
Rent ATVs for the Day
This is my go-to recommendation if you’re visiting Montana in summer! In my opinion, there’s no better way to see and explore the mountains in this area. A lot of the trails are far too narrow for a car and hiking only gets you so far, so ATVs are the perfect way to zip around Montana mountains.
If you have a vehicle that can tow a trailer, Big Boy Toys is a great place in Bozeman to rent ATVs and take them to wherever you want to ride. If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of towing, I’d recommend heading to Dillon, Montana and renting ATVs with Beaverhead Adventures. They have ATVs on site and will lead you to the trail, and then let you be on your way! They gave us a map and recommended a wonderful place to stop for lunch.
One important thing to remember is that you’ll be at a pretty high elevation all day which means you’ll be more likely to get a sunburn. We were hurting pretty bad after our ATV day, so I suggest wearing and bringing sunscreen.
One more option if you don’t feel totally comfortable with going off on your own is to do an ATV tour. I’d recommend checking out Montana ATV Adventures which offers a tour that takes you through a ghost town!
Visit an Abandoned Ghost Town
You don’t have to rent ATVs to get to a ghost town. You can just drive to any number of them in Southwest Montana! Since this part of the state is near the Rocky Mountains, it was a very popular place for mining towns to emerge. Once the gold or silver mines were about empty, the miners moved on to the next town. A lot of these towns are completely abandoned and are said to be preserved in history.
Virginia City is likely the most popular ghost towns in Montana because there’s quite a bit to do here for all ages. However, there are several other options that I cover in my post about Montana Ghost Towns!
Explore a National Park
I couldn’t write a “things to do in Montana” post without mentioning national parks! The two parks I would highly recommend visiting are Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. This is a very surface level comparison, but I’ll do my best to give you the high level differences.
Yellowstone National Park is mainly about the different sites to see. You’ll drive along a figure eight road that goes through the entire park. You’ll be stopping every so often in designated parking lots to see geysers, hot springs, and other natural features in the park. These are truely some of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen!
On the other hand, Glacier National Park does have some sites to drive to, but this park is more about hiking and getting into nature. There are some infamous hikes in this park such as the Highline Trail that will take you through the mountains and to see some glaciers. This park is said to have some of the best views in North America.
I know it will be hard to choose which one if you don’t have time for both. I’d probably recommend Glacier National Park if you want to see the best of Montana because while you can access Yellowstone from Montana, most of the park is actually in Wyoming.
Go Camping Under the Stars
Montana is an awesome place to go camping. You can rent an RV/converted van, use your truck bed to camp, or you can camp in a tent. There is a lot of land that is owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM Land) as well as National Forests. This is great news because you can camp for free on this land! If you want more information on camping for free, I wrote an entire post that will give you all the information you need!
If you’re visiting in the summer, just make sure you bring bear spray with you since Montana is in the heart of bear country.
Visit a Wolf or Grizzly Santuary
If you don’t want to risk seeing a bear in the wild (honestly terrifying), you can see one up close at a Grizzly Santuary. There are a few grizzly and wolf santuaries in Montana that were made to take in bears and wolves that need help. These places raise and/or care for these animals and they also serve as informational centers that you can visit.
What are you doing on your next trip to Montana?
Let me know in the comments which of these activities you’re most excited to try on your next trip to Montana!