This part of Montana is classic cattle and wheat country, the domain of the authentic American cowboy. The vast northern plains of Montana were once a wilderness of tallgrass, rolling in the wind like the sea, home to millions of pronghorn and buffalo.

Lewis and Clark reported vast herds of the latter, but that wasn't all they saw here. When the adventurers entered Montana in 1805, just past the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, they saw their first grizzly bear, and Lewis made the first extensive description of the animal for science.

As you travel through this region, you'll likely be closely following the trail of Lewis and Clark to the portage of the Great Falls. In the city of Great Falls, take time to visit the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center and experience vicariously one of the great American adventures. This portion of the state is also the landscape that Charles Russell memorialized in his famous Western paintings and bronzes.

But the region isn't all history and vanished mythology. There's plenty of outdoor activity, including fishing and boating on Fort Peck Lake, bird-watching at the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, rafting on the wild and scenic Missouri River, and both downhill and cross-country skiing.