Western Montana is a nature lover’s paradise and has many must-see attractions. Not only is the Fall scenery breathtaking, but the Fall season offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure along with relaxing hospitality. The Rocky Mountains run through this area, and the color changes contrast with the towering peaks and is reflected in the alpine lakes and rivers throughout this area.
Flathead Lake, Indian Reservation, & more
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the western United States and offers lots of recreation from its shores. It sits on the edge of the Flathead Indian Reservation, home to three Indian tribes. On a drive through this reservation from Missoula to Kalispell, visitors can explore The People’s Center in Pablo where they can learn about the culture of these tribes through educational programs and a museum gallery. Or explore a mission church built by Native Americans in St Ignatius, or drive through the National Bison Range in Moiese and see bison against a backdrop of fall colors in the distant mountains.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun-Road is a must-do attraction especially when fall colors are so striking. This 50-mile long two-lane road brings travelers up and over its highest point at Logan Pass, where spectacular views of the glacier carved valleys and nearby mountain peaks will take your breath away. Drive yourself or sit back and enjoy the scenery on a red bus tour. Or tour with a Blackfeet tribal member and learn about the cultural significance of their original ancestral territory that has become today’s Glacier National Park.
The Bitterroot Mountain Range separates Montana from Idaho and creates the scenic Bitterroot Valley in the southwestern corner of Montana. In this valley are small townswith unique histories, such as Stevensville, the first permanent settlement in the state. Near Darby is Triple Creek Ranch, one of Montana’s luxury guest ranches where guests ride horseback, practice archery, tennis or fly fishing, and later relax with a massage then dinner prepared by a renowned chef. After exploring a Farmers Market in Florence or Hamilton, take a hike in these spectacular mountains or through the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, then enjoy an afternoon beer with a local at one of many local breweries in the valley that are known for their friendly atmosphere. Sip a Huckleberry Honey Wheat Ale at Bitter Root Brewery in Hamilton while enjoying views of the nearby towering Bitterroot Mountain range. This valley offers lots of horseback riding, hiking, biking and river rafting. The pace is relaxed and crowds are few – except for wildlife which can be spotted anywhere in this part of the state. The Ravalli County Fair in early September is known for its family atmosphere and historical ties to rural Montana life and is just one of the events held in this area. Western Montana is a must-see place to explore in Fall!
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