Montana is a big state with a whole lot to offer. It’s so big, in fact, that without a guide, you could easily miss some of its best features. Guides can show you the good stuff and at the same time, give you a little extra knowledge about the places you’re visiting. Here are some of the best guided tours under the Big Sky of Montana.
The St. Mary Valley and its eponymous lake sit at the eastern gateway of Glacier National Park. The lake is fed by glaciers and the valley is rich in natural and human history. The best way to get the most out of the valley and learn about its history is a boat tour. In season, guided boat tours leave from Rising Sun campground.
One of the most significant moments in Montana—and U.S.—history occurred in 1876, when George A. Custer led the U.S. Army in an ill-conceived attack against Native Americans gathered in the valley of the Little Bighorn River. Go to the visitor’s center at Last Stand Hill and listen to an interpretive ranger describe the timeline of the battle. Then take a tour from Apsaalooke Tours. They’ll take you five miles south of Last Stand Hill and guide you as you explore the terrain of the battlefield.
Montana’s Gallatin River is one of the country’s premier white water destinations. The guides at Montana Whitewater know the river and will match you with a stretch of water that’s most appropriate for your rafting skills. If you want to stay a little drier, they can hook you up with a zip-lining tour instead (or as well).
Back in the day, Billings was an Wild West town in just about every sense of the term. It was the stomping grounds of Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and home of Boot Hill Cemetery. It didn’t get much less wild in 20th century. Learn all about the fascinating history of Billings with a guided tour from Montana Fun Adventures. Hope you’re not afraid of ghosts…
Glacier National Park is the jewel in Montana’s crown. Taking a day hike with a guide who knows the park and its backcountry is an awesome way to immerse yourself in Glacier’s near-overwhelming splendor. Glacier Guides offers a different hike for each day of the week—as well as longer backpacking trips if you’re hoping to walk away from the crowds.
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Montana’s state motto is “Oro y Plata”—gold and silver. For much of the 20th century, though, the motto for western Montana was simply: “Copper!” Butte was long known as “the richest hill on Earth” for the $48 billion worth of copper, silver, and gold that’s been extracted from it. These days, many of the mining operations have shut down, but the World Museum of Mining operates guided tours of some of the underground mines that weave their ways beneath the city. Their tours offer considerable insight into the industry that’s probably had the most impact—good and bad—on the state of Montana.
Montana is one of the three states that share Yellowstone National Park. The park’s north and west entrances are in the state, making it an ideal jumping-off point for Yellowstone adventures. If you’ve only got a day, taking a guided tour from Yellowstone Safaris will ensure that you’ll see the best of the park— geysers, the canyon and falls, and wildlife—without wasted time or effort.
The setting for “A River Runs Through It,” Montana is a storied destination for fly fishing. Whether you’re after scrappy rainbows or wily steelhead, Montana Fly Fishing guides will equip you and put you on the fish. Then all you have to do is catch them. Good luck!
Montana is home to hundreds and hundreds of miles of gorgeous trails, but maybe hiking isn’t your favorite way to explore new terrain. No worries! Montana Segway will happily put you on a Segway outfitted with oversized, off-road wheels and guide you along some of the best sites and trails in the Billings area.
The Bighorn Canyon is famous for its gorgeous, expansive scenery, its fishing, and the wild mustangs in the Pryor Mountains. Its also attracted plenty of people, several of whom established ranches in the area before abandoning them for one reason or another. Four of these historic ranches are located within Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, and Park Service rangers offer tours of the properties and buildings. During summer months, they feature a different ranch each week.