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Montana Hiking at Its Finest

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 3/31/2010

Montana hiking opportunities bring you to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, where the legendary Rocky Mountains stand guard over the plains under a sky that just seems bigger here than anywhere else. This hiking Mecca should certainly make your list. Here is why.

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    Tales and Trails

    Montana Hiking Montana hiking trips can simply cause the kind of lasting, spectacular memories that never leave you once you’ve been around a Big Sky bend or two. The combination of all those different shades of green pines against jagged mountains that change colors with each and every meteorological condition is a stunning masterpiece that is too good to ever finish. You can easily head out on a trail and keep moving for weeks on end without running out of wilderness or seeing another person. But you don’t have to be that committed or rugged because there are a lot of great trails that are only on the outskirts of some of our charming and disarming cities.

    Before we get to specifics, there are some very beneficial reasons to point out about why you should be hiking besides the simple thing that it is a safe, easy, and effective fitness routine. From stress release to receiving mental clarity; all the reasons are covered in A Roundup of the Best Reasons for Hiking. If you don’t know just how invigorating and serene you can become on a trail already, I urge you to read that article for a good boost.

    So if you’ve ever seen the movie The Hunt for Red October, you’ll remember that the last words of the dying executive officer on the defecting Russian submarine we’re something to the affect that “I really wanted to see Montana.” He never had the chance but you still do and I doubt you have to travel all the way from Russia either.

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    Trailheads to Paradise

    Tumbling Montana Creek Missoula is a hiking enthusiast’s green dream come true. The town has a progressive, friendly feel with a fully loaded sporting goods store known as the Trail Head which is too good of a name to not start with. Trails run along the two fantastic trout rivers, the Clark Fork and the Bitterroot that you can enjoy for a few hours and then still reap all the benefits of being in a college town. The Blackfoot River, made famous in A River Runs Through It, is only a little northeast of town. But the crown jewel to the north, known as the Rattlesnake Wilderness, is just a ten minute drive from downtown. Plenty of great trails abound in this plush forest that awaits you.

    Are you interested in a GPS device for your hiking trips that will keep track of your routes, record you’re mileage, and keep you from getting lost should you wander off the trail? Tips on Choosing the Best GPS for Hiking would be a good place to start your search for the best model according to needs and budgetary constraints. Due to the similarities of these outdoor hobbies, you might want to read The Backpackers Top Ratings for GPS Models too; because it lists and reviews the top models for you.

    My favorite trails are far from any of the cities and towns out here however. Montana is part owner of Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, which are both spectacular, but there are so many more wilderness areas tucked away throughout the state that offer virtually the same scenery without all those tourists. I catalogued some of the best of these massive wild, places in Wilderness Backpacking Adventures in Montana. In all of those forests you can definitely do some fantastic day hikes with car camping opportunities in and around the trailheads if backpacking isn’t your thing. Below are some additional resources to help you plan a trip because you only get so many sunsets, so please; see a few from Montana before your dance is done.