Montana is one of the last places in the U.S. that’s filled with wilderness, making it a haven for outdoor lovers. The state is big, gorgeous, and those who have never been there are often captivated once they finally make a visit. You’ll find sweeping prairies, mountains capped with snow, and a landscape that seems to perfectly meld with the sky above.
Those who have a thing for exploring nature will find tons of things to do there. If you’re into fishing and boating you’ll have a wonderful time, and the same is true if you prefer hiking, backpacking, or even horseback riding. Montana also provides the opportunity to experience some thrilling and more off-beat activities that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are five outdoor adventures in Montana that are a must-try.
Bike along the river in Great Falls
The draw to River’s Edge Trail in Great Falls, Montana is the awe-inspiring view that surrounds it. River’s Edge Trail covers almost 60 miles and contains paved and single track sections right along the Missouri River. Not only is mountain biking a favorite activity of those who visit the area in Montana, but jogging, hiking, and skating as well. As you enjoy your trip along the river stunning mountains, canyons, waterfalls, and prairie landscapes will be well within view.
One of the most memorable aspects of cycling along River’s Edge Trail is the historic community surrounding it. There are plenty of cozy eateries along the way as well as parks, places to go fishing, and Warden Park Gazebo. The latter has a telescope installed that’s free to the public, and looking through it will give you a much closer view of the area’s natural splendor. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Giant Springs State Park are also along the way, as well as an assortment of 18 different public art installations.
Head to Ennis for an epic fly fishing trip
Those who are keen on fishing with be enchanted once they try it in Montana. If you’re familiar with the area or are an expert fisher, simply get your gear and head out to to the Madison River in Ennis, which is abundant with Mountain Whitefish, Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout. The fishing is great year round, and you’ll find the best catches tend to come from mid-morning to the evening time.
If you want a guided tour of the Madison River or you’d like to brush up on your fly fishing skills, Madison River Fishing Company has you covered. Their float trips are some of the best rated in Montana and drinks, snacks, and time with seasoned instructors is included on each outing. The company also offers a fly fishing school for those who want even more personalized instruction, and they sell all of the rods, reels, outdoor clothing, and other equipment that you’ll need on the water.
Zipline at Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is one of the premiere luxury properties in Montana, and the condo style hotel sits on a majestic mountainside. The resort offers a wealth of fun activities for all tastes, preferences, and ages, and the amenities there are world class. In addition to upscale suites with designer touches, a large outdoor pool, attentive concierge service, and great dining options, guests can have a thrilling ziplining adventure right on the property. The zipline tours at Big Sky Resort range from those built for speed and others that emphasize the natural scenery in the area.
The Adventure Zip Tour will send you racing past the Spanish Peaks and Lone Mountain, while the Nature Zip Tour includes a 20 minute hike up Lone Mountain and contains a total of three ziplines of different lengths and heights. Rates are quite reasonable and range from $62 to $82 per person as of 2016. This is an ideal outdoor activity for groups of all sizes, and Big Sky Resort allows groups of up to 12 guests to take zipline tours at a time. As far as family friendly things to do in Montana go, this outing is tough to beat.
Go Geocaching in Helena
Geocaching has rapidly grown in popularity over the last several years, and once you try it you’ll instantly understand why. In a nutshell, geocaching is a real life treasure hunt outdoors where you go on a mission to find hidden objects using only GPS coordinates. Once you find the hidden container, called a geocache, your mission is complete and you can go on another one. Singles, couples, and families in Montana enjoy this outdoor adventure, and one of the top geocaching tours is right in Helena.
Well over a century ago people used to come down to Montana to search for treasure in the form of gold, but today geocachers have a blast searching historic spots around the city for treasure of a different sort. To get started, all you need to do is register for a geocaching account at the link below, download the app, and head off on your trip. Each time you’re successful at finding a geocache you’ll earn points and cred, but the real prize is getting to see the incredible formations and features in Montana’s wilderness.
Go Hunting in Granite County
If you like to hunt big game but you’ve never been to Montana, you’re in for a real surprise. It’s one of the best places to go trophy hunting, and you’ll find big horn sheep, bears, moose, elk, mountain goats, and more. Each year more than 200,000 hunters hit the mountains, plains, and foothills of the state looking for game, and you’ll likely do well on your own if you have ample experience.
For those who are newer to hunting, taking a tour or working with a guide is the best route to take. You can also try visiting a hunting ranch in the area. Grouse hunting is also popular in Granite County, Montana and is especially suitable for families with kids, hunting novices, and those who like to hunt but don’t want to take on big game.