The discovery of gold in 1864 at Montana’s Last Chance Gulch in Helena started a rush of civilization to the state. The gold rush commenced Montana’s Wild West era, which visitors booking flights to Montana can still see in the Bannack/Virginia City/Nevada City area.
Soon after the gold rush and at the beginning of the 20th century, Montana experienced another boost to its economy. Thanks to its fertile land, and the 1909 Enlarged Homestead Act (which gives 320 acres of land to anyone who stays there for at least five months out of the year for a minimum of three years), farmers from all over the country moved to Montana and helped build the backbone of the 41st state. Today, wheat is still the major crop in the state and farmers continue to churn out necessities to keep Montana’s agricultural economy thriving.
Travellers book flights to Montana every year in an effort to hike, climb and canoe some of the country’s most beautiful landscape. Thanks to the millions of travellers booking Montana flights and accommodations every year for Glacier National Park, the Battle of Little Bighorn site, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, Montana remains a wealthy state.
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Summer has warm days and cool nights. July temperatures range from the low 20s (Celsius) to the mid 20s during the day and between four and ten degrees at night. Autumn is cool and clear, and snow falls in the high country in October. Winter can be very cold and windy from November through March. Temperatures range from 10 to – 45, but the Chinook winds bring mild weather. Spring is very short and can be chilly with snow or rain.
A state for outdoor enthusiasts, most visitors book flights to Montana in July and August. The major parks are busy March to September, and the state puts on festivals, rodeos, and pow-wows in summer.
Glacial National Park’s more popular trails are crowded in summer, and there are size restrictions on vehicles traveling Going-to-the-Sun Road. Campgrounds fill up by late morning during July and August, and rooms need to be reserved in advance.
The Little Bighorn Days festival is held on the weekend closest to June 25, and Butte hosts the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Rockies.
Winter is the second peak season with its deep powder drawing snowboarders and skiers, both downhill and Nordic.
Except for the ski areas, winter is the off season.
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As the fourth-largest US state, Montana’s regional airports offer flights to in-state destinations. Buses criss-cross the state along I-90 and north to south along I-15, and there are train stops either side of Glacier National Park.
The Big Sky state, though, is best explored by car. The roads are well maintained, but rent according to when and where you will be driving. Some destinations require driving gravel and dirt roads, and in the more remote locations tow trucks are rare. Montana’s speed limits are liberal, but strictly enforced. In winter, some highways may be open only to four-wheel drive vehicles or those with snow tyres or chains. Always carry sleeping bags, extra food, flashlights, and other safety gear to ensure your survival if the car breaks down or you get caught in a blizzard.
Montana is very popular with bicyclists, especially the western part of the state. Missoula is one of the best US cities for cycling and has very good bike routes.
Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, but is also fun to experience by car along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Tour boats can take you around the large lakes, and you can rent canoes, rowboats, and outboards.
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