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The 8 Prettiest Places in Montana

If you’re a seasoned visitor to Montana you already know this state is chock-full full of more scenic gems than you’ll ever be able to get to. There are definitely some pretty and picturesque spots in this part of the world that should be seen at least once.

Big Sky Country is, in simple terms, a seriously photogenic place. From the huge and expansive untouched wilderness regions to the impossibly scenic, carved glacial landscapes of the national parks—you won’t be too pushed when it comes to finding amazing scenery in the Treasure State.

The main difficulty for most visitors is deciding which aspects of the landscape are more striking, considering the sheer beauty and diversity of the landscape.

Bison, bears, elk, and bighorn sheep roam freely in some regions. In other spots, you’ll find magical-looking alpine lakes glistening at high altitudes.

Add to that the huge towering peaks dusted and layered with snow come wintertime. You are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to where to point your camera.

So let’s try to narrow things down a little by looking at eight of the prettiest places in Montana.

st. mary lake

Eight of the Prettiest Places in Montana

  1. Paradise Valley
  2. Whitefish Mountain Resort
  3. Mission Valley
  4. Libby
  5. American Prairie Reserve
  6. Mary Lake
  7. Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Beehive Basin
  8. Choteau

1. Paradise Valley

paradise valley

Not too far away from another naturally rugged and geologically scenic area by way of Yellowstone National Park, the vast expanse of Paradise Alley manages to thin out the crowds.

This southwestern region of Montana is an area of land flanked by both the Absaroka Range and the Gallatin Range on its eastern and western sides respectively.

The Yellowstone River courses through the area and the mountain ranges take on the familiar, iconic, snow-capped appearance that comes with the winter months.

Vast blue skies and scenic, rolling prairie and ranch land are the order of the day in Paradise Valley. Rather unsurprisingly this entire region is a prime Montana vacation destination—not to mention the backdrop to many a ‘best vacation ever’ snapshot.

Attractions within the valley include the naturally warm and therapeutic waters of the Chico Hot Springs. There is also plenty of hiking and outdoor action in this vast region, which is certainly one of the prettiest places in Montana.

2. Whitefish Mountain Resort

whitefish mountain resort

Talking of iconic Montana views and pretty places—if there’s one spot that in so many ways encapsulates the very best of the state’s scenery it is more than likely Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Just north of the scenic Flathead Lake sits the yet more picturesque mountain resort town of Whitefish. Here we are talking snow-capped peak heaven alongside pristine lakes.

On top of this, you have the well-maintained friendliness and small-town charm of a remote mountain village.

In Whitefish you’ll encounter picture-postcard views featuring rolling green meadows in the summer and snow-covered vertical drops in the winter.

But in actual fact, the time of year really makes little difference to the pretty scenery and impressive landscape in this entire region. 

Once you’ve been to Whitefish in the flesh it’s not hard to see why many visitors keep coming back again and again. Undoubtedly, this is one of Montana’s prettiest destinations.

The resort town is a popular destination year-round, although the skiing months of winter are the prime time for many.

The town is located in the very scenic Flathead County region, which is further exacerbated by the fact that Glacier National Park is well within reach from here.

Thus many visitors are likely to tie two of the most scenic regions in the state together in one trip. This way they get to witness the best of the iconic yet diverse scenery that the Treasure State is renowned for.

3. Mission Valley

mission valley

Flanked by the Mission Mountains and their 10,000-feet-plus elevations, the Mission Valley is well-known for its great scenic drives and road trips with stunning backdrops.

The area in its entirety encompasses the lower half of Flathead Lake. This includes the Flathead Reservation, located among landscapes with more elements of tranquility to them than many other regions of Montana.

These Mission Valley landscapes can present some wonderful, mountain-backed scenery that varies depending on the time of year, but loses none of its prettiness.

4. Libby

libby

Libby is something of a laid-back country town surrounded by amazing mountain terrain scenery. We are talking some seriously pretty spots here folks, especially along the banks of the winding and photogenic Kootenay River.

The nearby Kootenai National Forest is popular for its hiking and various other outdoor recreation options. Absolutely one of the prettiest places in Montana is here—the Kootenai Falls—just outside of town with an accompanying suspension bridge to add to the scenery.

Maybe none of that exactly fits your profile of a pretty place in Montana and instead you prefer something a bit more on the rugged side?

Then check out the 90,000-plus acres of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area. It may be just the place to go off exploring yet deeper and further into the scenery that the Libby landscape has to offer.

5. American Prairie Reserve

american prairie reserve

The American Prairie Reserve is located on Montana’s Great Plains. That gives some clue as to the type of scenarios likely to be encountered here.

Many outdoor types believe this to be one of the most stunning natural wildlife areas in Montana, and just a brief look at the area makes that entirely believable.

Spanning north and south of the Missouri River, this huge expanse of protected and incredibly scenic areas provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. This includes bison, deer, elk, and bighorn sheep to name but a few.

This is a scenario where you can commonly see bison wandering around freely with contented-sounding birds chirping away merrily in the background.

This is nothing less than a magical nature-lovers paradise amidst some absolutely stunning landscapes.

 

6. St. Mary Lake

st. mary lake

The east side of Glacier National Park is commonly considered the most scenic. It’s really a question of where to begin in this entire region of the park when looking for inspiring and pretty Montana places.

St. Mary Lake is as good a place as any to start out when looking for pretty places in Montana.

The lake is the second-largest body of water within the park and it features what many believe to be some of the best reflective views going.

Wild Goose Island is one of the most photographed angles of the lake region. You’ll also see the perhaps familiar-looking Jackson Glacier towering over the lake.

St. Mary Lake has served as the backdrop for more than its fair share of ‘best Montana moment’ shots. This may be due to the fact that it has a variety of different aspects that may be brought out at different times and under particular weather conditions.

But if you are coming to Montana for the scenery then St. Mary Lake easily qualifies as a must-see.

7. Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Beehive Basin

beehive basin

The solitude of nature without too much of a long haul is what’s on offer in this picturesque expanse near Big Sky. The basin is accessible by a hike which will lead you through dense forests and along flowing creeks.

As if that doesn’t sound picturesque enough there are also wildflower-strewn meadows featuring views of the snow-capped Lone Mountain in Whitefish.

When you arrive at the basin with its accompanying surrounding peaks, you’ll certainly feel like you are in one of the prettiest places in Montana, which will leave you feeling invigorated.

8. Choteau

choteau

It’s very hard not to agree that the atmospheric mountain town of Choteau is pretty in various ways.

Choteau for many serves more as a calming and charming experience. Often termed the “Front Porch of the Rockies”, the landscape surrounding the small town and stretching from the Flathead National Forest to Glacier National Park has to be seen to be believed by many.

When you consider spots such as the Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, you’ll see how this picturesque area is home to a wide variety of wildlife and natural terrain. This makes it a popular place for wildlife enthusiasts and Instagram-ers alike.

With plenty of accessible hiking trails as well as avenues for fishing and birding, the Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area is a great place for anyone who loves the scenic outdoors. Aside from that, Choteau has many other scenic aspects that visitors can seek out for themselves.

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