A few years ago I was interviewed for an article in NationalGeographic.com about the five must-do local activities for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Montana in spring.
Living in Montana, I never liked spring. While the rest of the northern hemisphere is dancing in daffodils and turning in tulips, Montanans are wading through sleety, sludgy, cold, gray days. There isn’t enough snow to cross-country ski or snowshoe and the trails aren’t dry enough for hiking. What’s a mountain lover to do?
When the writer from National Geographic called, I recommended a prairie hike.
“Some of Montana’s best spring hikes aren’t on mountain trails. Instead, head to the short- and mixed-grass prairie lands in the southwestern, central, and eastern part of the state to hear songbirds, see wildflowers, and take in wide vistas. “Montana’s prairies cover a big chunk of the state, offer relatively easy access, and help visitors truly understand why we call this Big Sky Country,” says Livingston outdoor enthusiast Melynda Coble Harrison, who chronicles her family’s adventures at TravelingMel.com.
“One of Harrison’s favorite prairie hikes is just outside Billings at the Four Dances Natural Area. Here, it’s only a half-mile walk through native sagebrush and grassland to a rocky river-cliff overlook providing expansive views of Billings, the Yellowstone River, and the Pryor Mountains. Whatever prairie you choose (pick up a Bureau of Land Management map to find the closest public lands), Harrison suggests packing binoculars, bird and wildflower identification guides, plenty of water and food, and—in any kind of weather—rain gear. “Montanans know how fast a sunny day can turn into a storm, especially in spring,” she says.”
Read more about our day at Four Dances Natural Area and the Pictograph Caves.
Other fun things to do in spring in Montana (from the article) are:
- Go Shed Hunting
- Cross the Kootenai Falls Swinging Bridge
- Rock Out at the Ringing Rocks
- Take a Medicine Rocks Photo Safari
Read about the other four recommendations on Nat Geo website.
20 thoughts on “Here’s What You Can Do in Montana in Spring”
I’ve never considered Montana as a tourist destination, although I do have friends there. But I do wanna try out the prairie hike. It looks relatively simple and interesting even for a beginner like me.
You absolutely should come to Montana. So much to see and do!
I’m so happy to hear that Montana has developed a new kind of spring hike: the prairie hike. It sounds like a more laid-back, cool-vibes kinda hike. Also, kudos on being interviewed by National Geographic!
Since so much of Montana is prairie, there are a lot of options.
Definitely curious about what shed hunting is! How cool to be interviewed by Nat Geo. I haven’t been to Montana but the hiking there around amazing and a really different experience to hiking in the mountains.
shed hunting is when you look for antlers that elk shed in the winter. It’s a whole thing :).
Montana was always attracting me because of its nature. It must be a great hiking place as well isnt it? Four Dances Natural area looks like a true hidden gem.
Yes, there are so many hiking options in Montana — from the mountains to the prairies!
That’s awesome that you got to be interviewed by them!! Tbh, I’m not much of a hiker, but that view definitely seems worth it!
And this “hike” is an easy, short walk, so anyone can do it!
I’ve never been to Montana, but I love hiking so I think I’d really enjoy the Prairie hike. You’ve given some great tips on what to pack, sounds like the weather is pretty changeable so I’ll bring my wet weather gear!
Montana is gorgeous! And since you like hiking, you will find tons to do!
As luck would have it, myself and my girlfriend, who is American, are currently debating which state we should relocate to and Montana has been pushed forward as an idea. Certainly, we both are avid hikers so if we do find ourselves there, we will mot probably take part in a Praire hike. Spring certainly sounds like a turbulent time of year, with the rapid changes in weather
Montana has big weather, big sky..big everything! Lots of hiking in the Treasure State; you won’t be disappointed if you move there!
Ooh, how exciting to be interviewed by NatGeo! Having never visited America outside of the Disney parks I don’t really know anything about anywhere tbh! So I always enjoy reading posts like these about the lesser-known places to visit in the States (I.e. Not New York haha). I’m not a hiker but I do quite enjoy bird-watching so, as you recommended binoculars and identification guides I think I could enjoy a prairie hike!
This is more a stroll than a hike! There is great bird watching in Montana.
I’ve never been to Montana and I have literally no idea what there’s to do in other seasons, but these sound pretty nice anyway! I love hiking and doing so in the praire sounds like a good activity to me! Also I’m pretty sure I would have fun shed-hunting!
Montana is great in all seasons. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise and perfect for someone who loves hiking.
Cheers for a great post! We are heading there in may for the whole summer.
Have a great time!