The Best Time to Visit Montana | Travel Guide

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With so much to discover, Montana always has something for everyone throughout the year. It’s renowned for its expansive wilderness and outdoor activities. Big Sky Country is a state built for adventurers and is famous for its expansive wilderness and outdoor activities—whether on a trail, waterway, or in the snow. 

The best time to visit Montana is between June and August and December and March. 

These two high seasons couldn’t be more opposite. Summers are colorful, with long, sunny days and cool nights. Meanwhile, winters mean ski season, where almost everything is white. 

But if you prefer a quieter stay, fewer crowds, and lower rates, the shoulder seasons—April to early June and October to November—are perfect for you.

This region has something great for you whenever you decide to go, from hiking-friendly summer terrains to fanta-ski-c winter adventures. 

Best Time To Hike In Montana

The prime hiking season in Montana typically runs from late July to mid-October. There’s little to no snow on the ground, and hiking trails are clear this time of year. You’ll find various wildlife and wildflowers along the trails as summer progresses. 

That said, September is hard to beat when hiking in Big Sky Country. It’s an excellent month for hiking because of the warm, sunny weather that mixes with the slight chilly nights. You’ll enjoy blue skies, crisp mornings, and daytime temperatures perfect for outdoor activities.

Best Time To Ski In Montana

The ski season in Montana usually starts in late November and runs through late April. March is the best month for snow activities in this region, renowned for its powder days and spring skiing. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a cozy retreat after a fun-filled day of skiing and snowboarding, especially with more daylight and warmer afternoons.

But if you prefer skiing without the crowds, planning your trip between the New Year and Martin Luther King Jr. weekend may be a better time. These two weeks hit the spot with their quieter atmosphere and shorter lift lines. You may even find better deals during this time. 

Best Time To Visit Montana If You Don’t Like Crowds

Big Sky Country is noticeably quieter in the spring and fall—the state’s shoulder seasons. A wonderful, crowd-free quiet descends on most ski towns once the hotspots close in early spring. When the kids return to school in the fall, hikers need only to pack an extra layer to enjoy the wide-open trails as the weather cools. However, some outfitters, tour operators, and hotels will also close during this time, so you need to double-check everything before you travel.

If visiting Yellowstone National Park is a priority, you’ll be glad that May through June and September through October are the best times to visit. There are fewer crowds, shorter lines, lower prices, and a more intimate experience of seeing the landscapes and spotting wildlife.

Best Time To Visit Montana For Budget Travelers

Smaller crowds usually mean lower prices. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, the spring or fall is the best time to visit. Although some activities tend to be limited, April to June and October to November are usually perfect for avoiding long lines and enjoying off-season rates.

Accommodations booked for winter and summer usually have more open rooms at lower rates during these two seasons. However, it would help if you prepared yourself for the fickle weather. It might be snowy one day and hot the next!

There’s still hope if you want to find good deals in the high seasons. You can visit the least popular months, September and February. September usually has fewer crowds than July and August, and February is the least crowded winter month since it’s between the Christmas rush and late-season skiers visiting in March.

The prices may not be as low as the shoulder seasons’ rates, but you’re more likely to enjoy discounts in these overlooked months than at the busy points of summer and winter.

The Best Time To Visit Montana For Hunting

Hunting season in the Big Sky Country usually kicks off in September and lasts until November. You can use various methods, including bow, rifle, or muzzleloader. Archery usually begins first, followed by others as autumn progresses.

Each year can bring changes that affect hunting in Montana. This region boasts vast areas full of elk, ready for hunters seeking adventure across various terrains, from soft hills and grasslands to rugged mountains.

Fall hunting invites hunters to seek elk, deer, and more. Each animal has its calendar slot, so you must track the best times to visit. Archery hunters, take note: grouse hunting can start in September, the same month black bear hunting concludes.

Elk Hunting

Fall up to mid-October marks the best time to visit Montana for elk hunting. It’s when the woods come alive as bulls move more and elks call out. For bowhunters, this is the golden opportunity, as rutting starts. On the other hand, rifle hunters may find November a better time as the cold pushes the elk around.

Waterfowl Season In Montana

As hunters set sights on Montana’s waterfowl season, mark your calendar for the Pacific Flyway duck kickoff. The hunt starts in early September. However, be mindful of specific local rules, mainly because hunting districts might have certain details per the latest regulations guide.

If you prefer wolf hunting, there are various start dates depending on the region you visit. Follow official guidelines to ensure a successful adventure.

Big Game Hunting In Montana

Big game calls to many in Montana. Deer season starts mid-October when you can enjoy the crisp fall air, eyeing bucks through the trees. Meanwhile, bear hunts begin in mid-April, and moose or bighorn sheep hunting requires special permits due to scarcity. 

Here, hunting demands skill and respect for rules as you truck these creatures across rugged terrains under the region’s wide-open ceilings of blue. Remember always to check local guidelines as they protect both wildlife and hunters’ rights.

Spring Turkey Hunting

Like all other types of hunting, spring turkey hunting in Montana requires skill and timing. The Merriam’s turkey, a majestic bird thriving among the Big Sky Country’s ponderosa pines, is a delight for hunters seeking a memorable hunting experience. With up to eleven licenses from over-the-counter sales, you’re well-equipped for a season filled with potential.

To start on a solid footing, target areas well-known for their active populations. Custer National Forest’s Long Pines and Ashland are hotspots worth exploring. Keep your eyes sharp and have a keen hearing to spot movement and catch those gobble calls early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Remember, these fowls boast sharp color vision, so they’ll see you if you’re not careful!

The Best Time For Montana’s Festivals And Events

Montana has many fun events and festivals throughout the year, but summer is the most active time. If you’re interested in attending one of these fun occasions, you should get an early start on booking camping spots or accommodations, which can fill up fast. 

Outside the Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, the crowds usually don’t pose a huge problem. However, hotel prices increase over the high summer and winter seasons when more tourists visit the larger cities and towns.

The Big Sky Country also has regional and national holidays, which most towns and cities celebrate with parades and evening fireworks displays. But fear not, businesses are usually unaffected and still operate as usual.

The Worst Time To Visit Montana

The worst time to visit depends entirely on your priorities. 

If you don’t like limited activities and accommodations, the shoulder seasons are not ideal for you. You can get good deals but may not experience the best of the state since many summer and winter resort towns usually close at these times of the year.

But if big crowds are too much for you, you should skip summer and winter. The Big Sky Country can see more than 2 million visitors per month, which means the hotspots might be overrun with camera-wielding tourists.

The final months of each high season, September and March, offer the best balance you want. Most attractions are open, but fewer visitors wander around than the seasons’ peaks.

Visit The Bitterroot Mile Club!

You’ll find yourself surrounded by Montana’s Bitterroot Valley’s raw beauty. Picture yourself waking up in a plush king bed, your room overlooking the rippling water of the Bitterroot River. It’s an exceptional fly-fishing spot with exclusive river access!

Here at The Bitterroot Mile Club, exclusivity will define your experience. Nestled in the Montana foothills, less than 20 miles away, where barn scenes come to life, TBMC guarantees solitude for you, your family, or your friends.

Leisure spans hot tub soaks to horseback rides through the picturesque Rocky Mountain trails. It’s yours to enjoy, explore, and bond over. Here, your days will start with delightful breakfasts from Mission Bistro and end under star-studded skies. It’s not only about sightseeing; it’s about immersing yourself in the unparalleled elegance and natural beauty of the Bitterroot Mile Club. 

At TBMC, the wild meets luxury, providing a retreat where every aspect of your stay blends with the splendor of Montana’s landscapes. Visit us and experience nature like never before!