If you ask Montana locals, many of them will tell you that fall is their favourite time of the year, and for good reason: the weather is more than pleasant, the changing foliage is quite impressive and there are numerous activities that you can pursue. With this in mind, make sure you rent a free car and in the following lines we’ll provide you with the best things to do and see in the Big Sky Country in fall.
Exploring Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is vast wilderness area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, with lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, colorful wildflowers and glacier-carved peaks running all the way to the Canadian border. The spectacular scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only one that traverses the park, offering plenty of truly amazing sightseeing opportunities. With over 700 miles of trails, the Park is quite popular with hikers, cyclists, campers and wildlife enthusiasts. The Sun Road is open in its entirety by mid-October, so you can explore the trails along the road with ease. The Hidden Lake Nature Trail is definitely one of the most stunning hikes, with its entire length completely open as you go through the alpine meadows called the Hanging Gardens. You can also embark on a boat tour of Lake McDonald through late September.
Touring the Daly Mansion
Located on 46 acres of lush landscape just outside of Hamilton, the Daly Mansion was once the home of American industrialist Marcus Daly. Today, the place is a hub of local culture, historical interpretation and entertainment, visited by around 10,000 visitors each year, with a team of volunteers dedicated to preserving the house and grounds for the enjoyment of all those who visit. Daily tours are offered on the hour through the first week of October, and the road going towards the Mansion allows you to immerse in the magical fall colors.
Visiting the Blackfeet Nation
Located east of Glacier National Park and bordering the Canadian province of Alberta, the Blackfeet Nation is an Indian reservation and the headquarters of the Siksikaitsitapi people. It is. The reservation spread across about 3,000 square miles, which is twice the size of the Glacier National Park and larger than the whole of Delaware. Browning, its largest community, offers year-round attractions as the Faught’s Blackfeet Trading Post and the Museum of the Plains Indian. Visitors can also find lodging with the reservation and go for the self-guided Blackfeet Trail Tour.
Paddling the Clearwater River Canoe Trail
Early fall is the ideal time to go on this exciting canoe trail, located just several miles north of Seeley Lake, as the Seeley-Swan Valley is a gorgeous destination for marvelling at fall foliage, plus it’s more quiet than in the summertime. The trail passes through a slow-moving, meandering part of the Clearwater River, and it can be canoed at a leisurely pace in a couple of hours. This is actually a dual recreation area, as it forms a loop in conjunction with the adjacent hiking trail. The canoe trail and the return hike offer different wildlife viewing opportunities. You can rent a canoe (or a kayak if that’s your thing) in downtown Seeley Lake.
Getting and Adrenaline Rush at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whitefish Mountain Resort, located in the Montana’s Rocky Mountains, 15 minutes from downtown Whitefish, provides its visitors with all sorts of on-mountain activities, as Montana’s only alpine slide, the unique walk in the treetops, thrilling zipline tours, lift-accessed downhill mountain biking, scenic lift rides, and an aerial adventure park, through late September. It is also the perfect base camp for visiting the enchanting Flathead Valley. There are lodging options for every pocket and activities to keep the entire family entertained.
Biking the Hiawatha Trail
Located close to the Idaho-Montana state line, the Route of the Hiawatha is a 15-mile mountain bike trail, with 7 sky-high trestles and 10 tunnels, and it’s a real blast to ride during fall, offering spectacular views of the Bitterroot Mountains. It is open daily through the last weekend of September. The best part is that it’s all downhill, with shuttle buses that can take you and your two-wheel ride back to the top. This is a family-friendly trail, meaning that it can be enjoyed by everyone from young children to seniors. If you don’t have your own bike with you, you can rent one at the Lookout Pass Lodge.
Taking a casual drive
Montana is an utterly scenic place, with a great many of its roads being the perfect routes for gazing at stunning fall colors and thrilling wildlife. Highway 200, the Seeley-Swan Valley and the Bitterroot Valley is just some of the most popular drives, but if you want to discover your own favorites, getting a free car or campervan will be of a great help.