Big Sky Country: Where Adventure Awaits

Montana is often called “Big Sky Country” because of its scenic views, parklands, and rich natural history. Many accredit this renowned nickname to author A.B. Guthrie, Jr.’s 1974 novel The Big Sky, which epitomized the depiction of Montana’s untamed landscape.
Since its inception in 1962, when it was first used in a Montana State Highway Department promotion, the name 'Big Sky Country' has stood the test of time, a testament to the enduring allure of Montana's natural grandeur.

Are you ready to discover Big Sky Country? Let's explore the best of Montana together and discover many ways to enjoy this region!

Photo by Janne Simoes on Unsplash

Where Is The Big Sky Country?

Montana is the fourth-largest state in the northwestern United States. It encompasses 147,042 square miles, but its population is smaller than most states. The Big Sky Country borders three Canadian provinces on the north, Idaho on the west, Wyoming on the south, and North and South Dakotas on the east. 

Mountains are a huge part of Montana’s geographic profile, but only 60% of its land consists of grasslands and prairies east of the Rocky Mountains. The Bakken Formation, a geological rock unit with a vast source of petroleum, and the Great Plains extend to Montana.

Besides prairies and an oil-producing spot, Montana's eastern landscape also includes badlands—rugged, dry land formed by erosion. The Makoshika State Park, near Glendive, is representative of these badlands. The name “Makoshika” came from the Lakota words “maco” and “sica” meaning “bad land.

Another representative of the Big Sky Country’s badlands is the Missouri Breaks, a landscape in the northern-central part of Montana. This region of badlands is located along the Missouri River, starting in Montana. Rock outcrops, grasslands, and bluffs characterize this area. 

Towards the central area, the elevations increase, and the land becomes more rugged. The state becomes more mountainous, although prairies and grasslands are still part of this region.

Besides the badlands, grasslands, and prairies, Montana has some isolated mountains known as island ranges. These are home to forest trees, including fir and pine trees, and wildlife, such as the pronghorn antelope and black bears.

The Continental Divide

This mountain ridge separating North America runs through Montana. On the west side, rivers drain into the Pacific Ocean, while waterways on the east drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Since the Continental Divide also passes through the state, the Rocky Mountains also pass through it. They make up the western third of the state, with Bitterroot, Absaroka, Beartooth, Big Belt, Elkhorn, and Gallatin as some of the mountain ranges that are a part of it.

The Big Sky Country is also home to the Triple Divide Peak, where the Continental Divide and the Northern Divide meet. 

Here’s an interesting fact: a raindrop that falls on the Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park can flow into the Pacific, Arctic, or Atlantic Oceans. 

What To Do In Montana?

The Big Sky Country offers tons of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural landscapes. Nature enthusiasts can explore the iconic Yellowstone National Park—home to mesmerizing geothermal features and diverse wildlife. 

Glacier National Park is another popular attraction in Montana. It offers stunning alpine scenery, glacier-carved valleys, and more than 700 miles of hiking trails, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure.

But Montana offers more than just national parks. You can explore charming towns, fly-fishing in pristine rivers, or visit historic sites like the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. There’s something for everyone in Big Sky Country!

Explore Glacier National Park

If you’re ever in Montana, head to Glacier National Park—an iconic route that’s a must-do for new and even returning visitors! 

You can drive through the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic mountain road in the region. It’s the only road traversing the park, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet—the highest point on the road.


If you’re a hiker, you will love the trails here. You can start with the easy ones, like the boardwalks leading to waterfalls. Or, if you’re looking for a thrill, you can venture along the Piegan Pass, which is 7,600 feet up high.

You’ll find paths fit for hikers of all levels, so plan your hike between summer and fall—seasons when park roads are open and shuttles run free from July through Labor Day. But remember that trails could get busy in peak seasons, so it’s best to start planning and booking early. 

Whether you’re seeking stunning vistas or scenic strolls by the falls, there’s a path that will surely draw you in.

Discovering a Gem: Hidden Lake Overlook

Getting to Hidden Lake Overlook means getting there as the day breaks. You need to start your hike in the dark’s last moments to see the sun light up those peaks. Picture pink and orange hues kissing the mountain tops, the morning mist weaving through the valleys below, and a blue lake waking up amid it all. It’s a sight you will never forget.

Here at Glacier National Park’s overlook marvel, words are not enough to spell out nature’s splendor. Other spots will, of course, boast their beauty too. But the sunrise by Hidden Lake? It’s pure magic awaiting early visitors.

Marvel at Stunning Views from Logan Pass

When you visit Logan Pass, the heart of Glacier National Park, every view is a feast for your eyes. It’s easy on your body and rich with stunning sights and wildflowers—picture-perfect scenery for locals and visitors! 

Here’s what you need to do: park your vehicle at the center and take the renowned three-mile trail leading to Hidden Lake Overlook. It’s a must-do hike where mountain goats and local birds often welcome their eager visitors.

Watch Wildlife in Many Glacier

Remember to keep your eyes up when you venture into Many Glacier—it’s where the wild things are! 

Watch out for bears, both black and grizzlies! It’s their favorite hang-out spot. You might see some bighorn sheep, which climb to cool heights come summer. And don’t forget about the mountain goats scaling the cliffs beside Iceberg Lake paths.

Water Adventure at Lake McDonald

You can rent boats and kayaks at Lake McDonald to explore the clear water. But you must get up early if you want a peaceful paddling experience in the morning. It’s well worth the wake-up call! 

Bird Watching 

The Big Sky Country’s vast horizons and diverse landscapes make for an unmatched bird-watching paradise. Here, you can marvel at colorful pheasants and the great horned owl with its piercing gaze. You’ll also find songbirds filling the air with their vibrant chatter as waterfowl glide effortlessly over the serene waters of this region.

Remember that patience is key as you capture the beauty of Montana’s feathered friends through your lens. Learning about their habits will guide you to them. 

Focus your camera lens on birds thriving in their natural habitat without disturbing nature’s balance. Remember—ethical shots echo integrity. Showcase the untouched majesty of winged wonders in the forests and meadows. Combine your skills with respect for our natural world when you strike images that honor wildlife.

Each snapshot adds value to conservation efforts, teaching other people through the art of photography. It’s a pursuit where passion meets purpose under the Big Sky Country’s watchful eyes.

Fly Fishing 

Fly fishing in Montana is true bliss. Picture yourself standing by Rock Creek River, your line slicing through the fresh air against a picturesque backdrop of emerald and turquoise. Here, rainbow trout leap vibrantly as you cast among the peaks and pines. Meanwhile, the brown trouts will tease their wily ways while cutthroat locals dare skilled anglers to try their luck. It’s not just about the catch. Fishing in this region also means a pulse-racing thrill of an unrivaled outdoor getaway in nature’s beauty and grandeur.

Elk Hunting

Fall through mid-October marks a prime time for elk hunting in Montana—it’s when the woods come alive as elks call out and bulls move more. 

For bowhunters, it is the golden season, with rutting starting up. Rifle hunters may find November to be better since it offers its own edge as the cold pushes the elk around.

In the Big Sky Country, picking the right gear is critical to a successful elk hunt. Hunters must choose stuff that can handle both cold and rough terrain. Your boots should be tough yet comfy enough to overcome long treks! A warm jacket that blocks the wind will keep you out longer in harsh weather without much noise. Don’t forget about the water-resistant apparel that will save your skin from sudden downpours or snowfalls, which are common in this region.

Kayaking and Canoeing through the Bitterroot Mile Club

Many usually paddle through the Bitterroot when it’s mild, and the flow is generally calm at 900 cubic feet per second. But you need to hold tight in May and June. The waters roar to a wild 9,000 cubic feet each second—nine times its usual might! Water high meant danger ran deep, but if you seek thrill, you need to prepare yourself for some real tests with waters that wide!

Experience Wildnerness Luxury at The Bitterroot Mile Club!

The Bitterroot Mile Club awaits those who seek to immerse themselves in the unparalleled elegance and natural splendor of the Big Sky Country. Here, the wild meets luxury, offering a retreat where the serene beauty of the picturesque landscapes is infused into every part of your stay.

Are you ready to indulge in exquisite dining, enjoy the sophistication and comfort of TBMC’s accommodations, and let the majestic scenery transform your experience into a lasting memory? 

What are you waiting for? Visit us and explore the wonders waiting for you at the Big Sky Country!