I spent all of last week traipsing about Big Sky Country on a friend vacation in Montana, and the only word to describe it is legendary. You know the kind of trips that seem to reset your soul, imbibe a sense of creativity you thought you lost and inspire a newfound sense of wonder? This was one of those. Talk about a tall order, but Western Montana delivered in spades.
Want to plan a similar friend vacation in Montana? Here are the highlights of what to do:
A helicopter ride over Glacier National Park
I mean it when I say that my hour-long flight with Glacier Jet Center is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done—to steal a phrase from my spirit animal—like, ever.
Tasting some fine Montana whiskey
What, you didn’t know Montana had a handful of tasty distilleries that would rival the ones I find in the South? Yeah, me neither. But it does.
Montana beer, too
From a pedal tour with Thirst Gear to a brewery hop with Tap Room Tours, our time in Missoula was all about the brews.
Seeing Glacier illuminated by sun, instead of rain
Or at least clouds, though sun the majority of the time. Remember my last visit to Montana? The weather this time was the polar opposite. Note the bare legs and maxi dress below.
Horseback riding in the Montana wilderness
While I worked on a horse ranch for two summers in the Arizona desert, none of that time spent atop an equine compared to our mountain ride with Swan Valley Horseback Trail Rides.
Paddling the Clearwater River Canoe Trail
I’ll take any excuse to be out on (or in) the water, but this paddle trip in the middle of nowhere was particularly peaceful.
Eating everything huckleberry in sight
Huckleberry cobbler, huckleberry ice cream, huckleberry licorice, you name it, we ate it. Surprisingly, the one huckleberry thing we didn’t find was huckleberry pie. Go figure.
Deer, moose, even a bear.
Please stop spreading the word about Montana! Let’s just keep it a secret 🙂
Seriously though it is one of my favorites. Headed to Glacier this August with my sister who has never been – a great way to escape the gulf coast heat & humidity. I can’t wait til my daughter is old enough to hit the trails with me.
I know, right? The moral dilemma about sharing a destination you love…but want to keep a secret…
I love, love, love Western Montana. My sweetheart’s family lives there and we’ve spent a lot of time exploring. So beautiful!!! That helicopter ride, though, I’m jealous!
Lucky you! I wish we lived closer where we could get there seasonally.
I live in Alberta, Canada and the Montana, US border is only about a 6 hour drive from me, but I’ve only been to Montana twice (and just stopping through on a longer road trip). I should go back and spend more time there, it looks pretty spectacular.
Yes, you definitely should! Six hours is one of those tricky in-betweens: two long for a short weekend, so you almost have to take vacation time to go. Likewise, I’m also in love with your region! Need to get back to Alberta ASAP (and maybe in the snow next time around as I’ve only been in sunny July).
It’s great to know about Montana. Never been there or any place near it. Will consider visiting the place when I get back to the US and have a road trip. Thanks for sharing this good stuff and place.
Hi Kristin! It’s so great to see Montana getting some ‘airtime’ in the web! I loved Montana. A lot. We did a major mid-west coast drive end of 2012 and spent the longest time in Montana. Could not get enough of the Big Sky Country. Loved both west and east glacier, and though East Glacier is less touristy , it was there that I found what I love to call “Montana’s best kept secret” LOL it’s in Browning, which is a further 40 minute drive close to reservation area. And it’s a quaint little cottage called “The Brown House” — I had my best sleep ever in that little cottage – I was high with the smell of pine 🙂 I look forward to seeing more MT posts!
Im from 5 miles from west glacier. stop telling people about montana. tired of tourists. thanks
From: the locals
You gotta go to Whitefish, MT, the first full weekend of February for Winter Carnival!
Stop. This post just has too much goodness in it. Can we PLEASE go on a trip together soon?
I have been wanting to go to Montana and GNP for years! Just haven’t made it there quite yet. Someday…
I have a cousin who will be moving to Montana soon! I’m so excited for them! Hopefully we can visit them not long after they move in. The place sure looks lovely!
Wonderful! You guys certainly had lots of fun 🙂 Btw great pics!
Hi Kristin, I LOVED your photos of Montana in Facebook and Instagram! My daughter was just asking me about Montana the other day (she read it somewhere…maybe your Instagram?)
I haven’t been to Montana before but I love what I’m seeing as I’m a mountain type of girl and enjoy having lots of things to do of a day. ‘Loving this post and the jawja jam. I haven’t heard of it, but it sounds adventurous LOL!
I would love to go horseback riding with Swan Valley Horseback Trail Rides. Horseback riding in Montana is one of my favorite things to do. Glacier National Park is also on my “to do” list. Thanks for sharing the Montana love!
Awesome article, great pictures! This is how I will sum up your article. Born and raised in Europe, I had never thought there would be a better place for quality beer than Germany, but after reading your experience in Montana, I will surely like to visit the place, and taste the breweries there. Thanks, keep blogging!
Aaah, Montana! They don’t all it Big Sky country for nothing. It’s funny how a place so beautiful and interesting can still fly under the radar in most traveler’s minds. I only went for a week, but Bozeman was such a neat and dare I say “hip” little place, especially the brews. Great post!
Very Wonderful shots 👌👌👌