Glacier Country & the Northwest Corner -- This includes Glacier National Park, the Flathead Valley and northwest corner of the state, and Missoula, one of Montana's three largest cities. The national park draws millions of visitors annually who come to see its soaring peaks, varied wildlife, and innumerable lakes and streams. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile scenic highway that cuts through the heart of the park from southwest to northeast, makes Glacier surprisingly accessible. Elsewhere in the region, the increasingly popular Big Mountain draws downhill skiers, and Flathead Lake is a magnet because of its excellent watersports and quality golf courses. One of the fastest-growing areas in the state, the Flathead Valley shelters an interesting mix of residents: Farmers and loggers share ski lifts and trout streams with transplanted urbanites and big-bucks entrepreneurs, all looking for their slice of paradise. On the southern edge of the region is Missoula, a vigorous college town with good restaurants, interesting shops, and bits of Montana history.
Southwestern Montana -- This area is extremely diversified. Helena, a town centered on arts and politics (though not necessarily in that order), has a beautiful historic district filled with classic architecture and access to tremendous fishing on the Missouri River. Butte, on the other hand, is working hard to overcome the decay caused by the exploitation, then abandonment, of its mines. Other areas in this part of the state are full of lore. Vigilantes and corrupt sheriffs dominate the stories of the "ghost towns" of Virginia City and Nevada City, both of which are kept alive today by tourists seeking a realistic glimpse into America's past, and Bannack, an abandoned ghost town that's now a state park.
Missouri River Country -- One of the least populated areas in the state, this region stretches from the mountains to the eastern border and is distinguished by prairies that roll along for hundreds of miles. Great Falls, the region's largest city, is a mecca for those interested in the story of famed explorers Lewis and Clark. U.S. 2, or the Hi-Line -- that long stretch of pavement that runs across the northern part of the state -- cuts by a series of farms and ranches that perpetuate the homesteader life. New farming equipment and satellite dishes are just modern polish on an old tune.
South-Central Montana (Yellowstone Country) -- Though this region is almost a twin of the northwest part of the state in many ways -- a nearby national park, renowned ski resorts, a university, lots of tourists -- it has a unique personality. The city of Bozeman is home to Montana State University and a vibrant downtown. Anglers come from all over the world to fish these blue-ribbon trout streams, but the main attraction in this part of the state is Yellowstone National Park. Still, even the valleys that lead to it -- the Madison, Gallatin, and Paradise -- are spectacular destinations themselves.
Eastern Montana -- The geography in this part of Montana is similar to its neighboring region to the north, but there are more people and more things to do here. Billings is the supply center for eastern Montana and northern Wyoming. It's easily the largest city in Montana and has prospered, even without the helpful hand of tourism that the western side of the state has seen. The Bighorn Canyon and the Yellowtail Dam draw their share of visitors, especially hunters and anglers, but this region's main attraction is Little Bighorn Battlefield, where Gen. George Armstrong Custer led the 7th Cavalry to defeat at the hands of the Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.