Big Sky Country, The Treasure State, Land of the Shining Mountains, The Last Best Place: However you to call to mind the U.S. state of Montana, it’s an untamed, wild and natural place. It boasts craggy mountains, rugged badlands, stunning glaciers, crystal clear lakes, and wide open spaces. It claims the greatest variety of wildlife in the lower 48 states. It’s one of the richest areas in the world for dinosaur fossils. It’s marked by legends of hidden treasures and road agents. It was first detailed by Lewis and Clark. It's the site of Custer’s Last Stand, one of the most famous battles in American history. It’s home to two national parks - Glacier and Yellowstone - and seven great Indian Nations - Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Salish, Sioux and Shoshoni. It has ghost towns, museums, mines and ranches. Adventure abounds in its great outdoors - fishing, camping, rafting, biking, hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing.
The best time to visit Montana depends on what you want to do. The rafting season is May to July. Hiking, fishing, and camping are best from July to September. May to June and August to September are best for wildlife viewing. January through March is the best time of year for snow sports and viewing wolves in Yellowstone National Park. July is the peak season in the northern reaches of Montana. February is the peak season in the Gallatin Mountains. FAMILY TRAVEL TIPS: The weather in Montana varies with terrain, from continental in the eastern plains and badlands to a modified northern Pacific coast climate west of the Continental Divide. Eastern Montana has harsh winters and hot summers. Western Montana has mild winters and cool summers. Hot weather is unknown above 4,000 ft (1,200 m). The average daytime temperature varies from 21°F (-6°C) in January to 85°F (30°C) in July. The wettest months are April to June. Snowfall is possible year round in central Montana. The weather in Montana can change quickly thus it’s best to be prepared for all kinds of conditions.
Water, weather, wildlife and terrain are the main hazards for families traveling to Montana. The following tips can help you stay safe and healthy on an outdoor adventure. WATER: Carry plenty of water and encourage children to drink regularly. Don’t drink water from lakes, river or streams unless it’s been boiled or filtered. Stay out of dangerous waters, such as frigid lakes and fast moving streams. Don’t play or climb on moss-covered rocks or slippery logs. When boating, always wear a lifejacket. WEATHER: Get the area weather report. Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight layers and comfortable outdoor clothing. Be prepared for a change in conditions. WILDLIFE: View wildlife at a safe distance and never feed animals, no matter how small. Be bear aware at all times; carry bear spray and store food and discard debris in apposite bear safe containers. Talk to kids about animal safety. TERRAIN: Select activities that are commensurate with the your family’s ability. Stay on designated trails. Take care when walking on snow and ice fields. Wear appropriate footwear. Supervise children closely.