Ghost towns, waterfalls, and historic caves are among the many attractions of Montana's State Parks. Children will be awed by the very scale of these landscapes. Here are some of the top sights for families:
Sandstone caves are the canvas for ancient artworks and artifacts left here by Native Americans. Discovered in 1936, researchers are still puzzled about their purpose in Native American society, and children will be mesmerized by their mysterious aura. Visit the Interpretative Center to learn more, after hiking to see the caves themselves.
There's a reason Elmo is the state's favorite park. It has something to do with the family-friendly beaches on this crystal clear lake. Come paddleboard, windsurf, boat, or fish on its glittering surface. There's even a dog park for your furry friend. Come winter, the park becomes a venue for ice fishermen and skaters enamored of their scenic surroundings.
Spectacular stalactites hang like chandeliers inside this remarkable cave system. Limestone formations produced over millions of years have resulted in the cathedral-esque forms that thrill your entire family today. Be prepared to get dirty though, the passages that lead to the grandest formations are winding, though this only serves to excite the little ones. Don't miss the bat colony and the Beaver Slide.
Boasting cinematic drives and vast swathes of uninterrupted wilderness, Montana is one of the world's most exciting hiking destinations. Here's where to see the best sights:
Known as the 'crown of the continent ecosystem,' Glacier National Park stretches for 16,000 square miles of spectacular landscapes, touching both Alberta and British Columbia. Its origins can be traced back at least 170 million years. It boasts two mountain ranges and is adorned by more than 130 lakes. Of them, hikes to the turquoise Grinnell and the indigo Kennedy Lake are some of the most rewarding. Don't miss out on hikes to see Virginia Falls, St. Mary Falls and Avalanche Gorge.
It isn't difficult to imagine dinosaurs lumbering through the landscape in Montana's largest State Park. The Visitor Center presents skeletons found locally, belonging to a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. That's just the beginning though. The Badlands are best explored via the Montana Dinosaur Trail, which takes you into the heart of this wildlife-packed wilderness.
Home to the largest naturally occurring freshwater lake in America, Flathead is 28 miles long and 15 wide. Sunbathers and swimmers throng along its banks, while Ponderosa pine and juniper scent are the breezes that penetrate its trails.
From its Badlands to its hidden ghost towns and rivers jumping with fish, Montana is synonymous with adventure. Here are some of the spots that thrill adventure fans:
Snuggled in the cliffs of Sluice Boxes, you'll unearth the remains of old mines. Wander through this remarkable environment and you'll also note derelict cabins and sections of abandoned railroad. If you prefer to fish, Belt Creek is ideal for sunny river days during where your cares will float away.
Come horseback riding through sun dappled trails and scale cliffs through forests that whisper in the breeze. A superb Visitor Center offers you an insight into the sheer number of outward bound activities on offer, and the wildlife you'll encounter along the way. Flathead Lake is the epicenter of watersports, and there's even an archery range to test your skills at. In winter, the park is transformed beneath a cloak of snow, enabling cross country skiing and snowshoeing through its echoing chasms of chill air.
Discover Montana's notorious Badlands, which unfold on an incalculable scale. They are situated to the north of Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Fort Peck Lake is a paradise for adventure sports fans, with water skiing joining fishing on the itinerary. Leaping with walleye, Fort Peck Lake is the perfect antidote to days spent hiking Montana's Spartan badlands.