Montana offers three months of nearly perfect weather from July through September. The temperatures are generally moderate, a mix of storms and sun that really bring out the best of Big Sky Country. Summer is a precious commodity even to many of the people who don’t mind the cold. As every bit as fleeting as it is, people in Montana are ready to make the most of it.
Arts Missoula is a great organization to track the summer event schedule for arts and entertainment throughout the state. But that’s just the beginning. Check out the unique summer charms that make Montana the Treasure State as much as anything else.
Best Fishing in Montana
Montana is known for its fishing, especially its fly fishing. There’s no shortage of lakes and rivers in Montana, and despite the state’s size, you’re never very far from a prime fishing location. Season-to-season and month-to-month, the types and likely outcomes for your fishing trip will vary. In mid and late June, the fish are so hungry that “anybody can catch a fish.” The big trophy catches are more common later in the year, however.
Best Hikes in Montana
With a little assist from All Trails, we came up with the basic statistics on some of the most popular hikes in Montana. This is just a short sampling, organized from shortest to longest hikes. There are dozens of options, including multi-day backpacking treks that cover several dozen miles:
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces: This 1.2 mile hike is the perfect combination of an easy hike with something to really experience at the end. Mammoth Hot Springs is a nifty little spot whether it’s the middle of summer or even when there’s a little snow on the ground. Just outside of Gardiner, MT, this is a popular hike for people visiting Yellowstone.
1906 Trail: This 2.9 mile hike offers incredible views of Helena and the surrounding valley. It’s an easy to moderate hike that’s a real crowd-pleaser. There’s also an option to extend this trail by taking the Prairie Trail to the top instead of the 1906, or else using two cars. There’s a lot of different terrain in a short period.
Sypes Canyon: This 6.2 mile hike is a wonderful hike of moderate difficulty. Dominated by trees in the lower/first half and more exposed terrain with views of Bozeman during the upper/second half, this is an especially popular hike during the fall when there’s amazing foliage in Gallatin National Forest.
Crater Lake Trail: This 13.5 mile hike is one of the mostly highly rated in Glacier National Park, and that’s saying something. It’s a challenging day-hike even for experienced hikers. It can also be done on horseback, or as a miniature backpacking/overnight trip.
Summer Camping and Adventure Expeditions
For the casual camper to professional expeditions, there are a number of different ways to explore and tips for making the best experience out of the Montana summer. Throughout the summer and especially at the beginning of fall when many species of birds migrate south, you can go on some reliable and amazing bird-watching adventures. In some of the more remote areas of the state, especially the northeast, archaeological expeditions frequently search for new dinosaur and other fossil discoveries.
In certain areas, it’s important to pack your food in bear boxes or else hang it from trees. Most bears will avoid humans, but if you show up in their neighborhood with strong-smelling and readily accessible food, you’re asking for trouble. Another important safety precaution in summer is to mind the wildfire hazard. Beyond just being safe with your own campsite, keep an eye around you. Summertime in western Montana is notorious for dry thunderstorms in which a lot of lightning strikes but relatively little rain can be its own cause of wildfires.