With all of the snow long gone and the sun making its appearance for long, luxurious days, Montana truly comes to life in August. This time of year is by far the warmest, perfect for those who love boating and wild swimming. Montana’s unofficial mascot, its iconic big skies, will be on full display, often cloudlessly.
The biggest downside to visiting Montana in August is the crowds. Parks and other sites popular with tourists are generally packed with folks enjoying the weather that were just recently blanketed in snow. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider visiting this time of year at all – quite the opposite – this is the best time to be in Montana, and as long as you plan your route, accommodations, and activities in advance, you can still have an excellent trip.
Anything outdoors is fair game in August, so take advantage and try something new. It’s easy to schedule a lesson or tour to learn whitewater rafting, llama trekking, or fly fishing, or you can just don a swimsuit and jump into one of the state’s many lakes. Just remember, the water is generally a bit chill year-round but presents a welcome respite on a 90º+ day.
What’s The Weather In Montana Like In August?
By August, any snow that’s going to melt already has, all the roads and trails are 100% open, and the days are bright, sunny, and long. There will likely only be a few days of rain the entire month, and while you may still need a jacket at night, shorts, t-shirts, and swimsuits all part of the uniform in Montana this time of the year.
Travel To Montana in August
August is the height of tourist season, and flights can be tricky to book at a reasonable price. But outlier Southwest often has sub-$200 r/t flights from Phoenix or Denver that you can find if you check frequently, and book in advance. And if you’re coming from Anchorage, this is one of the cheapest times of year to fly into Billings.
Since trains, flights, and RV rentals can be exorbitantly priced this time of year, it’s a great month to plan a road trip to Montana. With all the roads across the state experiencing optimal conditions, you can simply pack your camping gear into your car and head out. While you’re likely to find room to camp on BLM land at any time, you’ll want to make reservations for more established campsites.
Events in Montana in August
In the same vein as other events around the United States, the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering is the yearly celebration of the literary achievements of ranchers. Held annually in Lewiston in mid-August, performers include a mix of outsider and mainstream writers though they are all united by their roots in the American West.
The next weekend in Kalispell is the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo. Combining a pro rodeo with all the trappings of a classic county fair, this weekend-long event has a little something for everyone. Perusing the fairgrounds you’ll find live performances, a livestock show and sale, and hundreds of vendors selling handicrafts.
But if you didn’t find the perfect souvenir at the fair in Kalispell, you can check out an entire handcraft event in Missoula, the annual Made Fair. Featuring vendors from across the state, everyone here will be selling handmade art, accessories, and home goods. Held in Caras park toward the end of every August, this lively open-air festival is hosted by HandMADE Montana, an organization that supports artists in Montana with educational programs and events.
Things To Do In Montana In August
In addition to the incredible weather making all manner of outdoor activities possible, it also brings about huckleberry season. These elusive berries are famously impossible to cultivate, so they must be harvested from the wild, usually from the mountains. They grow all over the Pacific Northwest, and here in Montana, their arrival is met with much fanfare.
In Trout Creek, they go all-out with their annual Huckleberry Festival which falls every year on the second weekend in August. The festival includes performances, vendors, and even a huckleberry pancake breakfast.
The Whitefish Distillery pays homage to the seasonal fruit as well with their signature Huckleberry Liquor, a fresh huckleberry-infused rum made in ultra-small batches, though savored and enjoyed year-round. In their taproom’s restaurant they also serve the I’m Your Huckleberry Burger, which is a hand-ground patty topped with havarti, caramelized onions, artichoke cream, and huckleberry compote.
But not to be outdone, Eureka’s Front Porch Grillhouse prepares what might be Montana’s culinary pièce de résistance: their famous Huck Burger. This decadent dish combines a meticulously prepared all-beef patty with cheddar cheese, bacon, and jalapeños, all topped with a scoop of huckleberry ice cream. Really.
You can also go huckleberry picking yourself. You’re most likely to find them in Glacier National Park between 2000 and 11,000 feet, though huckleberry picking is much more dangerous than it sounds. Not only do you have to ensure that you can properly identify legitimate huckleberries (lest you confuse them with a poisonous variety that also grows near here,) you need to also take precautions to avoid bears. Grizzlies and black bears all call Glacier home, and huckleberries are one of their favorite foods. Be sure to pack bear spray and avoid picking in the early morning and at dusk when they’re most likely to be out.
Planning Your Trip To Montana In August
- The hottest month of the year, this is a great time to do anything outdoors or in the water.
- August is the busiest month of the entire year for tourism. Yellowstone is known to host nearly a million people this month alone.
- The huge amount of tourists can make traveling in August a bit difficult in Montana, but planning your trip well in advance should alleviate any worries that could arise.
- Be sure to arrange for all the permits, passes, and reservations you might want to visit Glacier National Park and Yellowstone well in advance, some of them are only issued in limited quantities.
- You’ll find some of the best deals of the year on flights from Phoenix, Denver, and Anchorage.
- The huckleberry harvest is in August when thousands of amateur and professional huckleberry pickers comb the mountains for them.