Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States, but has a population of less than one million. It is bordered by Canada to the north and the impressive Rocky Mountains to the west. It’s the original “Wild West,” which means many people who’ve never been there feel like they know it. The ”Land of the Big Sky” country has appeared in many films.
Eastern Montana is made up of open plains, and the state is one of the best states for outdoor activities. Montana even contains a small portion of Yellowstone National Park. The diverse landscape includes Glacier National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches across Canada and actually has several hundred waterfalls, mostly unnamed. A favorite spot for hikers, the impressive waterfalls are just one of the gems of the natural environment.
If you’re looking for an adventure in the state, here are 15 stunning waterfalls in Montana.
1. Virginia and St. Mary’s Falls in Glacier National Park
These two 50 foot waterfalls are really beautiful, if you decide to spend your time in Glacier Park make sure you see them.
The trail that takes you to these two wonderful waterfalls also passes several unnamed waterfalls, so you can see four in one day without a hitch.
The whole walk is about 2.5 miles.
St. Mary’s is visible from the bridge across the creek, and a little further, you’ll see the mighty waters of Virginia Falls drop into Virginia Creek.
Both are at their best when the spring snow melts.
2. Baring Falls in Glacier National Park
People wishing to visit Baring Falls can easily get there on foot after parking; a mile and a half there and back, just a gentle climb of 160 feet.
These waterfalls have a drop of about 40 feet, and you’re likely to see water rays diving into the water to feed.
Water flows into Lake St. Mary.
You can go from the bottom of the waterfall to the top on the established path, or behind the waterfall.
But be careful as the rocks are slippery.
3. Florence Falls, Glacier National Park
It’s a bit of a hike to get to Florence Falls, but if you make the effort you’ll get an impressive sight.
The route mostly goes through the forest, although there is a lovely setting for filming near the Mirror Pond.
You descend nearly 700 feet in a little over a mile to reach the falls, but the only way to get back is to use the same trail.
Before you reach Florence Falls, you will pass by the much smaller Deadwood Falls, which are at their best in the spring.
If you want to spend time in the nearby area, there are several campgrounds nearby.
4. Red Rock Falls, Glacier National Park
Choose this if you want a fairly easy hike to see the falls, as you’ll get the added bonus of seeing falls, several lakes, and even moose and maybe even a grizzly bear.
If you go in the spring, they wake up from hibernation, which is also when the water is at its strongest and the snow has melted.
When you look at the falls from the base, you can see the multiple ways to get to the falls and different points of the falls to take some lovely photos.
5. Eagle Falls, Glacier National Park
The beauty of these waterfalls is that everyone can use them, even those in wheelchairs.
There is a well-maintained trail through the creek before you reach the falls.
You will then continue to the most popular lookout points, but there are several that give you great views of the falls.
They’re nicknamed “Trick Falls” because of a 40-foot drop during the spring when the water is at its peak, with a smaller waterfall hidden below.
You’ll see this smaller waterfall later in the year when the weather is drier.
6. Thunderbird Falls, Glacier National Park
The only downside to these impressive waterfalls is that the steep terrain around the falls makes it inaccessible.
The lovely hike to get there is a compliment to those who enjoy the hike and waterfall.
The trail initially climbs but then becomes flat.
The waterfall is visible from the trail, in a small clearing in the forest.
Above the waterfall, you’ll find a nice picnic area outside the forest, but no view of the waterfall itself.
Spring warning; bears are likely to be around the area.
7. Appikuni Falls, Glacier National Park
Few environments are better than what Apikuni presents, especially in spring after the snow melts.
The first floor is a free fall from the top of the cliff, while the second part is best described as a waterfall.
Smaller waterfalls and waterfalls form below the main waterfall, creating images you just need to take.
The round trip to and from the falls is about 1.7 miles, and ironically, you can see the falls before departure, when you park.
At the highest point, you’re 5,500 feet above sea level, with some climbing along the way.
8. Crow Creek Falls, Broadwater County
These lovely waterfalls are a 90-minute drive from the county capital, Townsend.
They’re part of a lovely hike and you’ll probably get tons of photos as you walk along the side of the creek.
There is very little climbing, so it is suitable for families.
With the sound of water and birdsong, you can climb from the bottom of the waterfall to the top.
Try fishing behind the falls as there are some pretty big species in the pool.
If you decide to spend more than a day, you can camp locally.
9. Kootenay Falls near Libby
Kootenay Falls was chosen as the location for the Oscar-winning film “The Revenant,” and it’s easy to see why; they’re great, and one of the largest in the state.
The river drops 300 feet in a fairly short distance, most of which is the waterfall itself.
They are sacred to the Native American Kootenay tribe, who believe they are the center of the world.
Local animals include bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, mule deer and black bears.
Add in birds including ospreys and fish in the water and it’s a wonderful natural area.
10. Woodbine Falls, Stillwater County
This waterfall is conveniently located in the Castel Gallatin National Forest, but is in a relatively quiet part of the state so it doesn’t attract many tourists.
This adds to the pleasure of viewing these very tall waterfalls.
Waterfalls and cascades descend a short 300 feet from a gorge that leads to the Stillwater River.
It’s a great spot for a picnic, just to get used to the environment, but be prepared just in case: get some bear spray.
By the way, the round trip is no more than 1.5 miles.
11. Auxerre Falls, Gallatin County
There is a beautiful hike next to two forks in the Gallatin River, leading to Ousel Falls via three bridges.
You can reach the falls from one of four trails, and the far right fork is arguably the best viewing point known as the South Fork Overlook.
The other goes to the top of the falls by himself, and the straight path goes to the foot of the falls, where you can have a picnic.
Choose your favorite trails, which are open year-round, and maybe take the time to walk all four so you can see the falls from a different perspective.
12. Calamity & Sentinel Falls, Beartooth Mountains, Carbon County
While most people who go to Rock Creek where these falls are found go fishing, they and everyone else who visits are impressed by the lovely falls.
The number of fish below both waterfalls is impressive.
The trail cuts through forests and meadows on the way to the waterfall.
The best place to view them is from the small slip road, where the sound of water indicates that you have arrived.
Summer is popular with tourists, and even in winter, a large number of tourists go there.
13. Pinkham Creek Falls, Lincoln County
Head to Rexford near Eureka in northwest Montana and you’ll find a walking trail to Pinkham Creek Falls.
It’s a fairly short route, although the trail isn’t in great shape, especially on wet days, due to frequent use and loose gravel on the downhill.
Remember, of course, that the way down is only half way. You have to climb up again.
There are two waterfalls at either end of the canyon, but be careful as you approach the rim of the canyon.
14. Memorial Falls, Nehart
If you head to Memorial Creek Canyon, you’ll find two waterfalls in an area of cliffs and trees.
The loop is only a mile in total and is suitable for all ages from spring to winter.
The first waterfall is just 400 yards after you start, and there is a bench to sit and enjoy the view.
The second is a journey of no more than 10 minutes, even if you choose the longer of the two paths.
The second waterfall is as far as you can go, as you’ll reach lush vegetation and some steep slopes beyond them.
15. Missoula Holland Falls
If you go to Holland Falls and Holland Lake, you will pass through a beautiful forest of larch, pine and fir trees; this is an amazing area.
After about a mile, the trail goes up and crosses a bridge.
Before long you can see the swans and views of Mission Mountain and Swan Valley, and then suddenly you hear the sound of water.
The falls are fairly close, about 50 feet.
Campgrounds are proving popular from spring to winter.
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