Pack a jacket, pull on a pair of hiking boots, and prepare to fall in love with fall in Montana. Fewer travelers visit the state this time of year, making autumn under the big sky a bit of a best kept secret. Whether you’re seeking solitude or an action-packed getaway, here are five reasons why fall is the picture-perfect season to discover Montana.
Leaf Peeping in the National Parks
Cloaked in colorful quilts of foliage, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks look markedly different in fall than in summer. And, since visitor traffic thins considerably in autumn, it’s easy to view the kaleidoscope of colors at a leisurely pace. On the eastern side of Glacier, see Quaking Aspens shimmer in the breeze in the Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and St. Mary areas. Two park trails typically awash in glowing fall colors are the 7.2-mile (roundtrip) hike to Bullhead Lake and the easy (three-tenths of a mile one way) hike to Running Eagle Falls. In Yellowstone, the drive from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs pops with pockets of red fireweed and yellow-gold aspens. One of Yellowstone’s best fall color spots is the Lamar Valley, accessible from Montana’s Gardiner gateway. In Gardiner, stop at Tumbleweed Bookstore and Café for a breakfast burrito or a sandwich (like the Jacque, a triple-decker peanut butter and raspberry jam on wheat bread) before heading into the park.