Montana vs Colorado – Which State Is Better?

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: March 4th, 2023

The “American West” is defined by towering Rocky Mountains, diverse wildlife, old western communities, and plenty of adventure. Montana and Colorado are two states that are often compared for their lifestyle, adventure opportunities, and tourism.

To the north, Colorado touches the border with Wyoming, which in turn shares a border with Montana on the opposite side. Both states are noted for their mountainous landscapes, river networks, and wildlife.

Montana and Colorado are both ideal holiday locations for outdoor enthusiasts, with a diverse range of recreational opportunities. Hikers, anglers, and skiers all go to Montana and Colorado in search of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Colorado or Montana

In this blog, we’ll go straight into the Montana vs Colorado smackdown and see who will ultimately win.

1. Glacier National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park?

glacier national park

Glacier National Park, located in northern Montana, is a famous tourist destination for visitors headed to Western America. This national park is ideal for adventurous travels since it offers everything a thrill-seeker might want! Hiking paths, bicycling trails, fly-fishing options, bird-watching places, and more may all be found in Glacier National Park.

The park’s 13 campsites offer rooms, guided tours, horseback excursions, and even boat cruises for an unforgettable camping experience. Enjoy an unrivaled view of the Rocky Mountains by traveling along the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Since we’re debating over Montana versus Colorado, how can we not be fair to both sides and include the ultimate competitor of Glacier National Park, the Rocky Mountain National Park?

One of the most visited national parks in the United States, the Rocky Mountain National Park is a perfect family vacation destination featuring outdoor sports activities, vacation rentals, and a lively music scene.

Nature at its finest, you will find majestic mountain peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, woodlands, and plentiful animals. Longs Peak, the tallest peak in the area at 14,259 feet, is among the park’s more than 100 summits above 10,000 feet.

The major driving road here is Trail Ridge Road, which reaches an elevation of over 12,000 feet and provides easy access to this truly amazing environment.

2. Lifestyle


In Montana, land and houses are less costly, often significantly so in comparison to Colorado.

Not only this, but Montana also has lower net taxes, owing to the lack of a state sales tax, which affects everything you buy, including cars, houses, and food, but also because the general cost of living is 19 percent cheaper compared to Colorado and housing costs are 40 percent lower than Colorado.

Another point in favor of Montana is that it offers access to two well-funded and well-respected universities at a low cost. There is no medical school, however, there is in-state access to medical schools in neighboring states.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes crowded cities, keep in mind Montana has a population of one million people compared to Colorado’s 5.5 million.

In contrast, if you’re an avid traveler, you should know that flying into and out of Montana is more expensive than taking a flight to and from Colorado.

3. Politics

The political wing in Montana leans left or right depending on where you reside. You can have a decent debate with people who hold opposing views.

Even though conservatives don’t want a monoculture in government since they’ve had a Democrat governor for three terms in a row, from the social point of view, the political wing leans more to the left, but economically, it leans to the right. Seven cities are in charge of voting.

4. Climate and Weather

climate and weather

People who live in Colorado are well aware of how unpredictable the weather can be at any time of the year, regardless of where you live.

Across the Front Range and into the heart of the Rockies, you’ll discover a diverse range of microclimates, each with its own distinct weather patterns, and Colorado Springs is no exception. We’d suggest you do your research well in time so you can pack accordingly.

Montana, on the other hand, enjoys a more stable climate with short and warm summers and cold and snowy winters. When you are in town, you know exactly what to expect from Montana’s weather, so you can pack your clothes without worrying too much!

5. Skiing Options

skiing options

There are various skiing options in both Montana and Colorado, but we will focus on the most popular in the area.

Big Sky Resort, which boasts “Biggest Skiing in America,” is located about an hour south of Bozeman. Visiting Big Sky gives you the whole resort experience.

Big Sky offers the best of the best of Montana’s downhill adventures, from the heated eight-person lifts to the lively mountain base full of events, restaurants, and après-ski entertainment.

Big Sky Ski Resort, located on 5,800 acres of property in Montana, is one of the most well-known resorts in the region. The vertical drop is 4,350 feet long, making it the fourth-longest in North America. It averages 300 inches of snow every year, making it an excellent skiing destination.

When it comes to skiing options in Colorado, Vail is the most popular name. This is one of the largest resorts in the world, with some of Colorado’s greatest terrains.

The seven back bowls are large enough to keep skiers occupied for a whole season. This is assuming you can pull yourself away from the lengthy groomed routes that span down the front side of the mountain, overlooking Vail.

Montana vs Colorado – So Who’s the Winner?

If you haven’t guessed, this is a really tough debate, and we’re leaving the ball in your court.

Colorado is known as the “Garden of the Gods,” while Montana has the infamous Yellowstone National Park.

In Montana, there are Lewis and Clark Caves, which include some of the world’s biggest limestone caverns. They are home to enormous cave features, handrails, and resident bats. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado, on the other hand, is a national park and preserve.

Montana’s rivers are larger than those in Colorado, its valleys are broader, and its mountains are less dramatic in terms of elevation and terrain.

Both Montana and Colorado are certainly worth visiting; nevertheless, we choose Montana (of course!) due to its diverse opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities, milder climate, and breath-taking scenery.

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About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a travel blogger and editor for over 5 years, working with some of the biggest brands in industry. She’s taught English as a foreign language in 5 different countries, and her most fulfilling role was as a tour guide around some of Europe’s finest vineyards. She the one behind the social channels here at Discovering Montana, whilst also finding the time to perform an assistant editor role.

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