Headed West: Things to See in Montana

Montana Mountains Sunrise

When you have been away from home for a long time, it’s easy to forget and appreciate where you have originally come from. (Or you remember it all too well and the bouts of homesickness are stronger than ever!) I recently arrived back in my home state of Montana, where I will be for the next few weeks before I head back to Europe in the fall. After growing up there for the entirety of my life, I tend to find that I forget how beautiful it is a location and what all home has in store for me. If you are thinking about visiting Montana, here are some things you must see when you reach Big Sky country.

Glacier National Park

I live about thirty minutes from this “crown of the continent” and some of my fondest childhood memories are hiking the Trail of the Cedars or dipping my toes into the chilly Lake MacDonald. If you are thinking about visiting, you might want to consider coming a little later in the season—the park is packed in July and August and it’s hard to find parking. September can be the best time to come since the weather is still nice and flights are easier to come by. Make sure you bring a can of bear spray and hike with some people you know—the grizzly bears will be out and about and already preparing for winter.

Skiing in Bozeman

If you are a snowbunny and you are thinking about heading to the Montana mountains, Bozeman can be a great place to enjoy the slopes and the surrounding area. It’s also a great place to hole up when you are planning on having a winter where there will be plenty of snow. It’s a quaint town with an awesome downtown area where the bars are open late—there is one right after the other on the main street. Even if you just want to ski and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate, Bozeman is a great place to do it.

Yellowstone National Park

Our second national park to the south is not only the first national park in the world, but it also holds some of the most iconic sites of the American West. Like Glacier, going earlier in the year or a little later can help you when you don’t want to deal with tourists. You’ll see all sorts of wildlife that might be harder to find in any other location. Don’t forget to attend the eruption of Old Faithful. Though it doesn’t operate on the clock as much as it used to (plate tectonics—the world is always changing), it’s worth the short wait in order to see one of the most photographed images of the Western United States. Also, watch out for bison! They can be moody and temperamental and you don’t want to make one angry.

Have you ever been to these places before? Anyone into camping?

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