Montana is otherwise known as Big Sky Country and with good reason. It has a landscape that is as diverse as it is rugged, encompassing everything from vast mountain ranges to dense and pristine evergreen forests. Along with that, there are wide-open plains and roads – all underneath a seemingly endless sky. Whether you’re heading to one of the national parks or a small town, the unparalleled beauty of this state will leave its mark on you.
In Montana, you’ll encounter more than your fair share of big, bountiful views with a feeling of magnitude that is a photographer’s dream. From the big mountain peaks to the badlands and rolling hills, not forgetting the part the region’s amazing water features play in the scenery. This comes by way of the many lakes, rivers, and waterfalls that help to provide some of the best views in Montana.
In fact, to say that Montana is a beautiful place is something of an understatement. This home to a vast and pristine wilderness preserve is undoubtedly home to some of the best views in the world.
The clear lakes sparkle and shimmer, the towering peaks usually have at least a dusting of snow, and it’s actually a tall order deciding on which are the best views in Montana. Pretty much all of the scenery here is impressive, if not jaw-dropping. You could easily lose a few months exploring Big Sky Country without even touching on some of the best views it has to offer. Nevertheless, here is an attempt at giving some insights into some amazing views and beauty in Montana.
Ten Montana Views
- Grinnell Lake
- Mary Falls
- Bighorn Canyon
- Grand Prismatic Spring
- Lake McDonald
- Logan Pass
- Flathead Lake
- The Rocky Mountains
- Gates of the Mountains
- Lone Mountain
1. Grinnell Lake
Grinnell Lake and its surrounding glaciers are one of the most scenic hikes in Glacier National Park. Around the region of the emerald-looking lake is alpine scenery, wildflowers, and waterfalls.
It is an area of outstanding natural beauty typical of Montana’s national parks and is rife with wildlife. There is a 10-mile trailhead around the lake that gives ample opportunity to take in the views.
You can get to the lake via Many Glacier Road, and there are clearly marked signs for the Grinnell Glacier Trail. When the trail starts to gain some proper elevation you will be able to bear witness to some amazing views of Grinnell Lake, as well as Grinnell Falls and the Continental Divide.
2. St. Mary Falls (and St. Mary Lake)
Sunset at these double-tiered, 50ft Montana waterfalls is a sight to behold. The falls are located in Glacier National Park on a trail that also includes a few other less well-known falls on Virginia Creek. You’ll encounter scenic mountains surrounding the trail, which allows distant views of another one of the best views in Montana – St. Mary Lake.
You can reach the sign-posted trailhead from Going-to-the-Sun Road. The trail takes you across the bridge over St. Mary River, from which you will get some top views of the falls. If you wish you can then continue along and up to Virginia Creek where there are more waterfalls leading up to Virginia Falls.
3. Bighorn Canyon
In southern Montana and Reaching all the way into Wyoming from southern Montana, the Bighorn Canyon is a sight to behold from various aspects. The canyon came about when the Bighorn River was dammed, creating a dramatic surrounding area. The National Recreation Area covers 70,000 acres and has much to offer by way of exploring, fishing, camping, and of course, photography.
This is a vast, wild landscape that is visually stunning and offers opportunities to be inspired by nature.
4. Grand Prismatic Spring
In Montana’s Yellowstone National Park there are many hot springs, but non-as other-worldly as the largest in the country – the Grand Prismatic. The spring is 370-ft across and looks more like something from a Star Trek scenario. It is nevertheless truly striking with its multitude of striking and bright, natural colors.
The center of the spring is a mesmerizing and intense azure blue, and as the hot water produces algae, this results in a spectrum of colors somewhere between orange and green.
5. Lake McDonald
Lakes are a big part of the stunning scenery in Montana, and the 10-mile long Lake McDonald is the largest one within Glacier National Park. The huge body of water is one of the first of the park’s stunning features that anyone can see when they first go in.
It is accessible from the main Going-to-the-Sun road running through the park and is surrounded by various trails and viewing points. This is a Montana lake typical of the glacial regions, with its fjord-like appearance surrounded by mountains. The mild and damp climate that results from trapped precipitation in the area is apparent from the abundance of western red cedar and hemlock that add to the picturesque scenario of the lake area.
6. Logan Pass
Another vast and majestic Montana landscape that provides magnificent views is Logan Pass. This is Glacier National Park’s highest point that is actually accessible by vehicle, and the pass sits high up on the tops of the Continental Divide. The views are all bright, rugged, and vibrant, amid wildflowers, and other eye-catching natural scenery wildlife.
The surrounding regions of Logan Pass are abundant in wildlife and provide some popular hiking destinations stretching in a westerly direction from the Visitor Center.
7. Flathead Lake
Another of the main lake attractions in Montana, as well as one of the most scenic, comes by way of Flathead Lake. This 200-mile body of water is the largest freshwater lake west of the Missouri River. The waters are clean and clear, and the unique Wild Horse Island State Park right in the middle of the lake provides further impressive natural scenery.
Flathead Lake is a popular spot for all kinds of adventure, year-round. This is the place where locals from surrounding towns head in summer, along with plenty of visitors. Anyone who is looking for outdoor, water-based activities in a picturesque setting surrounded by the Swan Mountain ranges will be far from disappointed here.
8. The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountain Range runs along the western part of the state of Montana, and is home to over a hundred ranges in the Central Montana region. The vast, rugged, and majestic rustic charm of the Rockies is one of the best places in the world to find scenery, adventure, skiing, and solace if required.
A few popular scenic, mountainous spots along the Rockies that are big on skiers’ maps include the Big Sky Resort along the Madison Range of Montana, and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. We are talking mountains in every direction here and this area is a must-visit if you are a fan of winter sports.
9. The Gates of the Mountains
The ‘Gates of the Mountains’ are a well-known Montana beauty spot and are well-entrenched upon the region’s tourist trail. This is where the huge Missouri River carves its way through sandstone cliffs that got its name from the famous explorers Clark & Lewis.
The awe-inspiring scenario is managed by Helena National Forest and comprises a wide area recognizable by its prominent grey cliffs, narrow gorges, wide-open forests, and lakes populated by bighorn sheep.
Boat trips are one of the best and most popular ways to witness the breath-taking natural beauty of the gates, although hiking along the Refrigerator Canyon is an option that some choose in order to take in the pristine natural beauty of the area.
10. Lone Mountain
The Lone Mountain sometimes referred to as the Lone Peak, stands as something of a symbol of the Big Sky Mountain resort and a grand indicator of the terrain of the region. The 11,000-ft, majestic-looking, snow-capped peak cuts a prominent feature across the landscape and skyline. It stands in the middle of the Madison Mountain Range not too far from both Yellowstone and Bozeman.
This peak is just a short distance from Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance and is most definitely the focal point of one of the biggest and most renowned ski resorts in the entire country. In many ways, this mountain and its corresponding views are the classic, winter ski-slope scenario on a grand scale.
Not surprisingly, the area is rife with wildlife and other natural wonders, and the prominent mountain is easily visible for anyone heading up to Big Sky Resort from US 191.