25 Famous Landmarks in Montana You Must Visit

11 min read
A waterfall in the middle of a forest at the foot of a snow-streaked mountain
Montana has an array of famous landmarks including parks and historic districts

As one of the less-populated states in the US, when many people think about Montana, sometimes, not much comes to mind. However, there are many famous landmarks in Montana.

What's Montana famous for?

Montana is famous for its state and national parks - such as Yellowstone, which extends from Wyoming into Montana, which has some of the most diverse wilderness in the United States. However, that's not all that's worth visiting.

History buffs also have plenty of landmarks to visit in this great state. As one of the territories explored by Lewis and Clark during their famous westward expedition, there are plenty of spots in the state that mix history and natural beauty.

There are also many historic districts from the first Montana settlements that are still around today that are well worth visiting. As well as museums that showcase what life in the Rocky mountains entailed for pioneers.

There's plenty to see in this great state! So, to help you plan your trip, here's a list of 25 things in Montana you must visit.

  • 25 Montana landmarks

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25 Famous Montana Landmarks

Montana Landmarks Map

A map of Montana landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

A path walk connecting wooden houses on a valley with mountains in the background
Bannack State Park is one of the most famous landmarks in Montana

Bannack State Park

Before the 1860s, Montana was a largely deserted state. It only saw occasional settlements and pioneers passing through on their way to the west coast.

All that changed after 1862 in the area that would become known as Bannack when the earlier settlers found gold. Until then, Montana wasn't a large part of the gold rush.

Today the Bannack ghost town is a famous landmark in Montana that's perfect for history lovers to visit and explore.

Original Governor's Mansion

Helena, the state capital, is the heart of Montana's Lewis and Clark county. As the center of the state's government, it was only logical that the governor resides there.

Though a businessman and not a politician initially constructed it, the Original Governor's Mansion was soon given over to the Montana government. Thus started the multi-generational tradition of governors and their families calling the mansion home.

Today the governor's home has moved, but the original mansion is open to the public as a museum.

Avalanche Lake is one fo the most famous landmarks in montana
Avalanche Lake is a scenic natural landmark situated inside the Glacier National Park

Avalanche Lake

Though Glacier National Park is full of trails and views, Avalanche Lake is one of its natural landmarks that visitors can't miss. Local hikers highly recommend this trail above all the park's others.

The lake is found at the end of a nearly 3-mile-long trail that usually takes a couple of hours to reach. Though the trek is considered moderately challenging, most people say it's worth the effort.

Steam coming out of a colorful geothermal pool at the middle of a tree-laden park
The widely popular Yellowstone National Park is home to the Old Faithful Geyser

Yellowstone National Park

Everyone has heard of Yellowstone National Park. This massive natural landmark spans multiple states and is famous worldwide.

However, Montana has some of the park's most famous attractions. For example, the West Yellowstone gateway leads visitors to the Old Faithful geyser. You can also visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery center from Montana's Yellowstone territory.

Whether you're a nature lover, a natural science buff, or you're looking for some adventure, Yellowstone is a Montana landmark you can't miss.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Though Yellowstone might be the largest National Park in the United States, most of its territory isn't found in Montana. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest gets the honor of being the state's largest national park.

Covering over 3 million acres of land, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest has beautiful scenic views around every corner. Its size also means you can do virtually any outdoor activity within the park. From hiking to horseback riding, there's something for everyone in the park.

A grassy lawn in front of rustic wooden structures against a cloudy sky
The well-kept Historic District of Virginia City was once the capital of Montana

Virginia City Historic District

Once prospectors discovered gold in Montana, it became a hotspot for those wishing to capitalize on the gold rush. Virginia City was, during its heyday, a metropolis thanks to successful mining in the area.

Though it was eventually abandoned, Virginia City was one of the state's original capitals. It was also remarkably well-preserved over time. Today there are still over 200 original buildings in the historic district. All that makes Virginia City one of the most historical places in Montana.

Butte–Anaconda Historic District

Most people think of gold when they think about early American mining efforts. However, copper was another resource routinely mined and used in the early industrial US.

The Butte-Anaconda Historic District marks the importance of copper mining in American history. The towns of Butte, Anaconda, and Walkerville were some of the largest copper producers in the country.

Due to their proximity, the entire territory was named a historic district in the 1960s and was expanded in 2006.

A winding mountainside road with a view of a rocky mountain with patches of snow
Going-To-The-Sun Road, a natural historic landmark, extends 50 miles in Glacier Park

Going-To-The-Sun Road

If you're looking for a scenic drive to take while visiting Montana, you have to see Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier Park. This 50-mile stretch of road is so beautiful it's been named a national historic landmark.

There are glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, and more that you can't replicate in any other park in America. All of which makes it a favorite spot among locals.

You can drive your car. However, you need reservations, and the road closes nightly. You can also take a bus tour.

Fort Benton Historic District

If you're a history buff that's always been interested in early western US settlements, you have to visit Montana for the Fort Benton Historic District alone. This small town has the honor of being the oldest continuous settlement in the state.

Since 1846 there's been a steady population in the town. Initially, Fort Benton was predominantly a trading post and mercantile town. As industries started to settle in larger cities, Fort Benton's population dropped, but its historical significance garnered its new popularity.

Looking up a brown rocky cliff surrounded by plants against a clear blue sky
Pictograph Cave State Park is home to caves where pictographs were discovered in 1937

Pictograph Cave State Park

It's not hard to see why Pictograph Cave State Park got its entry into the US national register of historic places. With cave paintings that date as far back as 2000 years, it's a historically and archaeologically significant area.

The pictographs are located in three caves that were first discovered in 1937, making it one of the state's earliest archaeological sites. Surrounding the caves are beautiful trails and wildlife, making it a great day-trip spot.

Several geese swimming on a rocky stream in a park filled with plants and trees
Giant Springs State Park features hiking trails, campgrounds, and recreational areas

Giant Springs State Park

Along the Missouri River, you'll find the natural Montana landmark Gian Springs State Park. Home of one of the United States' largest freshwater springs.

Initially explored by Lewis and Clark, this park is now a favorite wilderness location for locals and tourists alike. With miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, and other recreational areas, you can easily fill multiple days and still feel like you want more time in the park.

A massive sandstone formation with greenery at its foot on a clear day
Pompeys Pillar, a unique sandstone structure in a 51-acre territory, stands 120 feet

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Pompeys Pillar is a 51-acre territory near the Yellowstone River. However, the rock formation found at its center makes this area one of Montana's national historic landmarks.

Covering 2 acres of land and reaching 120 feet in height, the Pompeys Pillar is a natural sandstone outcropping unique to the area. In fact, there aren't any other sandstone structures like it in the state. Due to its particular shape and size, it was likely used as a ceremonial location for the native tribes in Montana.

A lake reflecting a tree-covered mountain and the snowy mountains at the back
Glacier National Park, built in 1910, boasts of trails, mountains, lakes, and valleys

Glacier National Park

You've already seen Glacier Park show up on this list, but the entire park is worth visiting, not just its main attractions. Since the National Park Service christened it in 1910, Glacier Park has been considered one of the West Coast's best parks.

There are over 700 miles of trails and countless mountains, lakes, and valleys to explore. Whether you're a seasoned outdoors person or new to hiking and camping; Glacier National Park needs to be on your must-visit list.

White granite tombstones, pine trees, and a flag of the US on a grassy lawn
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument also offers exhibits and guided tours

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

With America's westward expansion came conflicts with the native tribes that called that land home. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument aims to pay tribute to the region's people and ensure their history isn't forgotten.

Visitors can walk around the battlefield and visit the exhibits to learn about the 7th Cavalry's battle against the Lakota and the Cheyenne tribes. Generally, audio and guided tours are available to ensure you don't miss anything.

A house made of bricks and wood surrounded by pine trees with a view of a mountain
Great Northern Railway Buildings is comprised of 5 lodges in Glacier National Park

Great Northern Railway Buildings

Glacier National Park has, since its conception, been a tourist attraction Montana locals are proud of. The park's existence is what spawned the construction of the Great Northern Railway Buildings.

This complex was made up of five buildings around Glacier Park to allow guests amenities while they visited. Funded by the Great Northern Railway, it was one of the first major pushes in the US tourism market. The buildings offer an exciting look at the park's early days.

The inside of a limestone cave with stalactites and stalagmites
The 3000-acre Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park has trails, campgrounds, and caves

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

One of the most famous places in Montana you must visit is Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. The park's main attraction is its limestone caves known for their impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

However, the park sits on 3000 acres of land, so there are plenty of other things to do. You can hike the numerous trails and camp or learn about the park's history in its visitor centers.

Mountains and lakeside trees reflected over the glassy water showing the rocks below
Stretching 10 miles, Lake McDonald, is Glacier Park's largest lake

Lake McDonald

While you're visiting Glacier Park, make sure you take time to check out Lake McDonald. As the park's largest lake, it's a favorite spot for hikers to rest and enjoy the scenic view.

The lake itself is impressive in size, thanks to the glaciers that give the park its name. It's 10 miles long and a mile wide. The lake bed is 472 feet below the water's surface at its deepest points.

Lake McDonald Lodge

Though still open to the public as a hotel, the Lake McDonald Lodge is a historic part of the Glacier Park Experience. Initially built in 1913, the lodge aimed to promote tourism to the park.

If you wish to stay at the lodge, you'll get all the amenities you're used to from a hotel. However, you'll also get the rustic park ambiance that visitors love. Its views of Lake McDonald make the lodge one of the most recommended accommodations around Glacier Park.

Dinosaur bones with trees, mountains, and a partly cloudy sky in the background
The Museum Of The Rockies is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Bozeman

Museum Of The Rockies

No trip to Bozeman, Montana, would be complete without a stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of the Rockies. From Montana's natural history to the history of early native tribes and settlements, there's something in the museum to interest everyone.

Since the museum also has constantly rotating exhibits, every visit is slightly different. So, even if you've seen it once, you'll want to keep going back again and again.

Rows of back to back white Buddha statues on a garden with a view of mountains
The Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas is a spiritual site maintained by volunteers

Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas

If you're looking for something fun to do while visiting Missoula,, consider checking out the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. This spiritual site is just a short hour-long drive away in the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Since 2012, volunteers who maintain the park have been casting and constructing the 1000 Buddha statues for the garden. Despite the name not being entirely accurate yet, the garden is a peaceful place that will make you feel like you've left Montana for a while.

A river running surrounded by foliage in hues of yellow on a sunny day
The Missouri River, America's longest river, runs along the state of Montana

Missouri River

At the beginning of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the explorers likely had no idea that their trip would mark some of the most historic places in Montana. The Missouri River is no exception.

As the longest river in the United States, the Missouri River's size is already enough to put it on the map. However, the fact that its path takes it through some of Montana's most picturesque wilderness is a bonus. No matter where along the Montana portion of this river you visit, you'll be in for breathtaking views.

Aerial shot of a massive neo-classical building with a dome at its center
The Montana State Capitol sits on a 10-acre land in Helena, the state's capital

Montana State Capitol

Visitors can find the heart of Montana's government at the Montana State Capitol. Since the early 1900s, this is where all the state's laws have been decided upon.

Montana State Capitol is located in Montana's capital city, Helena. It resides on 10 acres of land allow the Capitol to seem like it's in a spacious world of its own. It was also constructed with beauty in mind, thanks to its neo-classical renaissance architecture. All of which makes it a must-see stop on your trip.

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

The First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park offers visitors a mixture of awe-inspiring scenery and native American history. As the site of one of the largest buffalo cliff jumps in the US, the park sits on the major hunting ground for the native tribes.

Today, you can explore nearly 1500 acres of land in the park's territory. While you're there, you can also learn about the land's history and the people who called it home.

Snow-capped mountains in the background of a ranch with barn, houses and wooden fence
The Grant-Kohrs Ranch Historic Site commemorates Montana's cattle-ranching days

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

Settlers in Montana weren't always chasing the gold rush. Many became renowned cattle farmers. The cattle industry became a driving force of the Montana economy.

The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site aims to pay tribute to the early days of cattle ranching. You can see how the industry has changed over time to adapt to the modern world while visiting. This site is a must-see spot for history buffs and those who love the country.

A car on a road, various buildings, and pine trees at the foot of a snowy mountain
Big Sky Resort offers outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and snowboarding

Big Sky Resort

If your Montana trip was inspired by a desire to have fun in the great outdoors, you must visit Big Sky Resort. Locals flock to this mountain destination to ski, hike, and snowboard.

The snowy season for the resort generally lasts from November until April. So, make sure to visit during those times if you want to get out on the slopes. However, you can also hike around and enjoy the area during the off-season as well.

In Conclusion

Montana might be an underrated state to many, but as you've just learned, it has so much to offer! Whether you're a nature lover or a history buff, there are plenty of things to see and experience in Montana.

By the time you've visited all 25 of these landmarks, Montana will surely become your favorite home away from home. The best part is that you don't have to worry about running out of things to do!

These might be top landmarks for your Montana bucket list, but there are plenty more where they came from! Just see for yourself!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Hi! I'm a lover of all things travel and culture. I'm originally from the USA, but I've lived in Italy for over a decade! I'm always ready to pack my bags, get my passport, and head out on an adventure!


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