Often referred to as Big Sky Country, Montana is the most northerly of the US states. Its beautiful, rugged scenery with plentiful wildlife makes it a popular destination for scenic drives and outdoor activities. The area is actually well-known for its numerous outdoor activities in Montana, including winter sports, water sports, hiking and biking.

While it is an extremely large state (the fourth largest, in fact), it’s also one of the least populated. Meaning it’s the perfect destination to practice social distancing, with plenty of wide-open spaces to explore outside of the larger cities.

Highlights of the area include Glacier National Park, the North and Northeast entrances of Yellowstone National Park and the Rocky Mountains.

Best outdoor activities in Montana

For those looking to explore the outdoors, get their adrenaline pumping and experience the incredible nature in the area, we’ve got a list of the best outdoor activities in Montana.

Most of the bigger Montana Resorts will include most of the below outdoor activities, along with a few other fun activities to keep you busy during your stay.

1. Hiking

Hiking in Montana is a great way to explore the area while getting to experience the beautiful nature and wildlife. There are various hiking trails throughout the state, including both day hikes and multi-day routes. Some of the best hikes in Montana can be found in Glacier National Park, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier Country, and Bitterroot National Forest.

From mountains to lakes, glaciers, caves, waterfalls, and canyons – there is a hiking route for all levels of hikers in Montana.

Outdoor activities in Montana, USA
Hiking in Montana

2. Horseback riding

Experience the spirit of the American West on the back of a horse. Horseback riding is one of the most traditional ways to experience Montana. You can choose to go for the full experience by visiting a working ranch, or just do a relaxing afternoon of trail riding.

3. Bicycling

Whether it’s hopping on a bicycle to explore the cities and towns in Montana or climbing onto a mountain bike and heading onto the trails. Montana is an ideal bicycling destination – which is why you’ll find bike shops all over the state and many other keen bikers to interact with.

Montana has mountain biking trails pretty much everywhere, from family and beginner-friendly trails through to expert-level tracks. And if you’re there in the winter months, why not give fat biking through the snow a try? It offers the opportunity to explore new terrain and experience winter in Montana on two wheels.

4. Water sports

For the water lovers, there’s plenty of opportunity to experience the vast water landscapes in Montana. For thrill-seekers, you can navigate the rapids while whitewater rafting or try out flyboarding. Avid surfers can take their surfboards out to the many scenic rivers in Montana to ride the waves. Or, for a more relaxing water experience, try stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking.

If you prefer to be on the water, rather than in it, join in on a boating adventure. You can go sailing across Flathead Lake, waterskiing at Canyon Ferry, or charter a fishing boat on Fort Peck Lake.

White water rafting in Montana, USA
White water rafting in Montana, USA

5. Rock climbing

With so many mountains and cliffs, there’s bound to be a bunch of great rock-climbing spots for all skill levels. Grab your climbing gear and check out some of the best climbing spots in Montana. Bozeman is one of the most popular climbing areas in the state, popularly known as the climbing capital of the Northern Rockies. Popular spots in Bozeman include Gallatin Canyon, Sagebrush Point, Cascade Creek, and Paradise Valley.

You’re unlikely to run out of mountains to climb in Montana!

6. Winter sports

Montana turns into the land of snowy adventure during the winter months! The vast and dramatic landscape means that you can enjoy pretty much any winter sport that you can dream of here. From skiing and snowboarding through to cross-country skiing, snow tubing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, skijoring, ice climbing and ice fishing!

Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most popular winter activities in the area, with a long list of slopes to try out – without the long lift lines! For the perfect winter ski trip, base yourself at one of the Montana ski resorts.

7. ATV riding

Many of the resorts in Montana will include a range or outdoor activities, one being ATV riding (also known as quad biking). It’s a fun way to see the mountain scenery while slicing through streams and powering over bushes. You’ll also get your adrenaline pumping and be eager to come back for more!

8. Fishing

Fishing in Montana is another great way to enjoy the scenery. From the crystal-clear lakes to pebble-filled trout streams, you’ll find a few great spots to cast your line. Some of the popular fishing spots in Montana include the Paradise Valley, Clark Fork River, Big Hole River, Missouri River and Flathead Lake. Not bad spots to sit back and enjoy the mountain views around you while you wait to reel in your catch.

9. Golfing

Another more relaxing outdoor activity, there are a few great golf courses in Montana to check out.  Some of the best golf courses in the area include Rock Creek Cattle Co. (Deer Lodge), The Reserve At Moonlight Basin (Big Sky), Wilderness Club (Eureka), The Stock Farm Club (Hamilton), Iron Horse G.C. (Whitefish), Old Works G. Cse. (Anaconda), Yellowstone C.C. (Billings), Northern Pines G.C. (Kalispell), Black Bull G.C. (Bozeman) and Eagle Bend G.C. (Big Fork).

10. Shooting

Shooting sports are quite popular in Montana. You can head to a rifle range or try out your shot at target shooting or archery. You can also simulate an actual field hunting experience by doing a clay shooting experience. Or, if you’re traveling in a group, perhaps get competitive with a game of paintball?

Outdoor activities in Montana, USA
Landscape in Montana, USA

Go get some fresh air in Montana

No matter what month of the year it is, it’s the perfect time to visit Montana and breathe in some fresh mountain air while taking in the truly breathtaking scenery!

It’s an ideal destination to dust off your cobwebs after spending so much time inside over the last few months.  With so many things to do, including so many outdoor activities in Montana you definitely won’t get bored.

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  • Bridget Langer

    South African writer and blogger looking for the awesome in travel, food and delicious wine. Collector of passport stamps.

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