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Best Time to Visit Havre, Montana

The county seat of Hill County, Montana, and supposedly named after the city of Le Havre in France, Havre is a small town gem offering an exciting rural retreat near the outdoors to visitors.

Once serving as one of the main railroad stops in Montana, today many visitors stumble across the town after a stop on U.S. Highway 2. Although a smaller area with a population of 9,362, Havre still has much to offer to tourists and is often overlooked.

With a rich history, plenty of nearby trails, and an affordable skiing mountain nearby, Havre is an excellent place to visit.

Being less well known, you can also expect smaller crowds in the town and more affordable hotel prices. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to visit a small town with charm and experience the beautiful nature Montana has to offer.

With a variety of activities that can be enjoyed in all seasons, it can be hard to decide when is the best time to visit Havre, Montana.

However, the best experiences are arguably in the winter and summer. If you’re not afraid of the cold and looking to ski or simply enjoy the snow, Havre offers fun winter activities at affordable prices.

On the other hand, if you’d prefer your outdoor activities on the warmer side, or simply prefer to stay more in the town itself and enjoy its history, Havre is excellent in the summer with plenty to see and do.

A Trip During the Summer Season

trip during the summer season

Havre has plenty to offer visitors in the summer, including beautiful weather and a variety of outdoor activities.

Whether you’d prefer to simply enjoy the town itself or go outside and enjoy nature, Havre has something for everyone in the summer. Any summer month is sure to be enjoyable, but we suggest June or August.

Tourism and Prices

One benefit of Havre being less well known and smaller than bigger towns and cities like Bozeman and Missoula is that it’s less packed with tourists!

You don’t have to worry as much about the town being overcrowded or everything already being booked.

With that being said, you should still expect prices to be a bit higher in the summer as Montana itself is still considered a tourist destination.

Weather and What to Pack

Havre can get quite warm in the summer months with an average high of 76ºF and average low of 49ºF in June and around 85ºF and 52ºF in July and August.

The good thing is this means that you likely won’t get cold well visiting the town or enjoying the surrounding outdoors. The bad news is you are more likely to get sunburned if you aren’t careful.

We’d recommend packing light, comfortable clothes you won’t get too hot in and of course a reliable sunscreen.

If you plan on taking a couple of short hikes, we’d also recommend bringing hiking boots, a water flask, a couple of snacks, and bug spray too.

What To Do in the Summer

There’s plenty to do in the summer months at Havre, Montana. You can enjoy the food and culture of the town itself for one as the city offers a plethora of businesses and restaurants to explore.

The city also has a rich history as it was once a major railroad service center for the Great Northern Railway, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the city’s past.

For those more inclined to the outdoors and less interested in exploring the town, Havre is situated near many beautiful trails. It’s a great place to explore the outdoors.

Whether you’d prefer to focus on the town itself and enjoy learning about the town’s history and exploring the area or go outdoors, you are sure to enjoy what Havre has to offer.

Explore the Buffalo Jump Archaeological Site

Learn about buffalo and prehistoric people that once lived in Havre at the Wahkpa Chu’gn buffalo jump site.

Peoples of the Besant, Avonlea, and Old Women’s/Saddle Butte used to hunt buffalo here and utilized the steep river valley walls to give them an advantage.

Discovered in the 1950s, this is one of the most well preserved Buffalo Jump archaeological sites and also one of the few open to the public.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day tour, one-hour guided walking tours are available. During the tour, visitors have a chance to see bison kill and campsite deposits as well as the remains of a wooden bison corral structure.

Visitors also get a chance to learn how to throw the “atlatl”, a weapon utilized by the Besant people that were there. There is also an interpretive center where tourists can view artifacts from the Buffalo Jump site.

The tours run from 9 am to 4 pm and tickets are $15 for adults. The site is overall a great place to visit for those interested in learning more about the history of Montana.

Visit Havre’s Historic Underground City

havre’s historic underground city
Image: Pattys-photos

With Havre’s Beneath the Streets tour, you can learn about the underground city Havre once had.

Because it was once a stop for the Great Northern Railway, Havre once had people visiting from all over. Unfortunately in 1904, there was a fire that burned most of the town.

Many businesses moved underground, creating a sort of underground mall in Havre.

Beneath the Streets allows you to tour this underground area and learn about the history of the businesses that once occupied this area.

With actors and props, the guided tours recreate history and allow visitors to tour a variety of underground businesses including the Sporting Eagle Saloon, an ethnic restaurant, and a bordello.

An immersive and fun experience, this tour is great for visitors looking to learn more about the history of the town.

Hike the Upper Rotary Canyon Loop

Offering great views of the mountains and Bearpaw Lake nearby, this trail is close to Havre and an excellent short hiking trail. A more secluded trail, you can find many gorgeous sights along the way including wildflowers and birds.

The hike is about 2.5 miles long and considered not too difficult, however, there are a few parts where you have to scramble.

The trail generally takes around an hour to complete. Plan on bringing water and some snacks to keep you energized during the trip.

A short but beautiful hike, this is a great trail for those visiting Havre.

What To Do in the Winter

Havre might seem like a destination you’d want to visit in the summer, but it can also be enjoyed in the winter as well. There are plenty of fun activities to do in the winter too, especially for those who enjoy the outdoors!

Tourism and Prices

Havre is much less crowded in the winter, and you can expect the town to feel quieter. Additionally, with less demand for tourism in the winter at Havre, prices are generally cheaper.

Weather and What to Pack

It can get quite cold in Havre during the winter. Average highs are 30ºF and lows of 8ºF in December and January and 34ºF and 11ºF for February.

In March, things start to warm up a bit with highs around 45ºF and lows about 21ºF, but it’s still relatively chilly. Definitely plan on packing a good jacket and warm clothes if you come in the winter!

What To Do in the Winter

Winter is a great time in Havre to explore the outdoors that the town has to offer. You can enjoy a variety of fun winter activities here, including both downhill skiing and cross country skiing.

Generally, the best time to visit is from January through March.

Bear Paw Ski Bowl

ski bowl

Bear Paw Ski Bowl or “The Last Best Ski Hill” is a ski hill near Havre that is affordable and fun. Offering downhill skiing trails, this hill offers an old-fashioned skiing experience from January to March.

The hill has 24 trails and one lift as well as a handle tow that takes you up the bunny hill for beginners. With a variety of terrain, it is a fun way to hit the slopes without the stress or crowds of larger mountains.

Beaver Creek Park

Beaver Creek Park is near Havre and a great place to visit in the winter for those interested in cross country skiing or snowshoeing.

You can get great views of the park and enjoy trekking through the snow in a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes. There are also other winter activities you can do at the park such as ice fishing and snowmobiling depending on the conditions.

Best Time to Visit Havre – Final Thoughts

Overall, there are a lot of fun things to do both in the winter and summer at Havre. And even if you can’t visit during those seasons, we believe you can still enjoy the town during the fall and spring as well!

If you are looking to stay in Havre, make sure you also check out a list of the available accommodations to ensure you are well prepared for your visit.

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