There’s a reason why Montana is referred to as Big Sky Country. From big mountain peaks in Glacier National Park to the badlands on the other side of the state, every landscape in Montana features big, bountiful views and a feeling of magnitude beneath miles of open sky. Features like Flathead Lake and the Bitterroot Mountains give Montana even more big landscapes to explore, and cities like Helena and Missoula provide friendly communities backdropped by stunning mountain scenes.
1. Going-to-the-Sun Road
Spanning the entire width of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, Going-to-the-Sun Road lends access to many prominent stops, including Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, and the St. Mary Visitor Center. Operating in the summer and shoulder seasons, the national park service provides a free shuttle system along this 50-mile marvel of engineering, and bicyclists can tour the scenic byway certain times of the day and season.
2. Whitefish Mountain
In northern Montana near the Canadian border, the city of Whitefish is a popular destination throughout the year, particularly in the skiing months of winter. Home to Whitefish Mountain Resort, the city lures thousands of snow sports enthusiasts, who flock to the slopes of Whitefish Mountain, formerly Big Mountain, to celebrate the winter season. Come summer, the same chairlifts service downhill mountain biking and other alpine activities.
3. Lake McDonald
The largest lake within Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald is one of the first stunning features encountered when entering from the west side of the park. It’s a prominent stop on the Going-to-the-Sun road, surrounded by hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Tourists can catch all moments of the day at Lake McDonald by staying at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge.
4. Flathead Lake
En route to Whitefish and Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Missouri River and a year-round destination for scenic adventure. Boating, fishing, and visiting the unique Wild Horse Island State Park in the middle of the lake are often fun summer activities, as are enjoying the stark backdrops of the Swan and Mission Mountain ranges.
5. Gates of the Mountains
When the Corps of Discovery first encountered this sudden elevation lining the Missouri River, it was Meriwether Lewis who named the impressive landscape the Gates of the Mountains. Still today, this scenic uprising of Rocky Mountain terrain lures explorers, nature lovers, and photographers alike. One of the best ways to view the mountains and water is boarding a tour boat found in the marina nearby.
6. Logan Pass
The highest accessible point in Glacier National Park by vehicle, Logan Pass sits atop the Continental Divide with a vibrant landscape of wildflowers, wildlife, and wild scenery that always catches the eye. Stemming west from the Logan Pass Visitor Center, Hidden Lake is always a popular destination to hike to from Logan Pass, where wildlife like mountain goats often share the trail.
7. The Chinese Wall
Comprising the dramatic forest directly east of Flathead Lake, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex incorporates more than 1.5 million acres of undisturbed wild land. Within this vast landscape of rugged ridge tops and bountiful alpine meadows, the large formation known as The Chinese Wall attracts self-sufficient backpackers and those who like a view. Marking the Continental Divide, this 1,000-foot-tall rock curtain contrasts nicely with the alpine valleys often blooming below.
8. Saint Mary Lake
On the stunning east side of Glacier, Saint Mary Lake is the second largest body of water within the national park and provides perhaps the best reflective views. Jackson Glacier can be spotted towering above the lake, and Wild Goose Island is always a popular place to point the binoculars. Like the rest of the park, Saint Mary Lake provides completely different perspectives throughout all four seasons of the year.
9. Glacier National Park
◉ Tripple falls in Glacier National Park, which is located in the state of Montana, United States of America, along the border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. In this park you can find two mountain ranges, more than 130 lakes, more than a thousand species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. It is an area of practically virgin ecosystem that extends over 4,101 km². It borders the Lagos Waterton National Park and the two parks constitute the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first international park created in 1932. Both parks were designated biosphere reserves in 1976 and World Heritage in 1995.