Best time to vacation in montana

With the State of Montana being a year-round vacationer’s paradise, everyone wants to know when is the best time of year to visit. Whether you’re seeking a scenic landscape, a popular event, or a thrifty deal, we have visited every month in the calendar and here is our advice on the best time to vacation in Montana.

You have come to the right place not just to plan your trip, but also to find out where are the best places in Montana to visit. So how do you decide where to go and what to do? Chances are you want to get the most enjoyment, out of your vacation, while visiting a place that’s special or significant, like our state is. From Yellowstone National Park(s) in the east, Flathead Lake in northwest corner of Montana, Glacier National Park and more. Montana is a special place to visit. We make it easy to explore our vast country and experience this incredible state by bike or walking along paths or by car.

Montana is a place where you can go sleeping and wake up in a different place. Montana is a state located in the Western region of the United States.

The best time to vacation in Montana depends on what you’re looking for.

Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States and its landscape varies greatly, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. As a result, each season offers different opportunities for recreation or relaxation.

Winter is a good time to visit Montana if you’re looking to enjoy skiing or snowboarding at one of the state’s many resorts. You’ll also have access to some of Montana’s best festivals during this time of year. For example, February brings the Big Sky Winter Festival and March brings the International Ice Sculpting Competition in Whitefish. Both events are held at night under lights—you can watch them from a cozy lodge or warm cabin!

Spring is a great time to visit Montana if you want to explore nature by hiking or camping at one of the state’s many national parks and forests. These parks include Glacier National Park, which has over 700 miles of trails through rugged mountains and valleys; Yellowstone National Park, which has geysers and hot springs; Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area; and Blackfeet Reservation Tribal Lands

If you’re looking to visit Montana, it’s important to know when the best time of year is to go. The state has four distinct seasons, so here’s a rundown of what you can expect during each one:

Spring (April-May) – This is the perfect time for hiking and wildlife watching because many animals are starting to come out of hibernation. You’ll also find that spring rains have started in most areas, so be sure to pack rain gear!

Summer (June-August) – This is a great time for camping and fishing, as well as other outdoor activities like rafting or kayaking down rivers with your family. However, remember that summer days tend to be quite hot! Make sure you take plenty of water with you on any trips into the wilderness. Also remember that nighttime temperatures can drop off quickly once the sun goes down.

Fall (September-November) – During this season there are fewer crowds than other parts of the year because many tourists have already left town after Labor Day weekend (which usually falls at some point between September 2nd and 5th). You can expect temperatures that range from 30 degrees Fahrenheit during the day up until 50 degrees

When Should You Visit Montana? We Break It Down By Season

Most people think that the best time to visit Montana is in the summer between the months of June and August when the weather is warmer, or between December and March for ski season.

They’re not necessarily wrong; however, we think there are amazing things to see and experience in Montana year-round! The best time to visit depends entirely on what type of experience you’re looking for.

Pea fields and dirt roads during summer in eastern Montana
Summer in Eastern Montana

Weather Considerations for When to Visit

Weather in Montana can vary drastically from day to day and depending on which side of the Continental Divide you’re on.

Montana east of the divide often has colder, windier winters but much warmer summers. West of the divide is slightly warmer than Eastern Montana in winter but has summers that are a bit cooler with chillier nights.

Where you’ll have sunshine to the east, valleys in Western Montana often have inversions during the winter that can make for cloudy days for weeks at a time.

Yellowstone views during a late March cross-country ski trip
Yellowstone views during a late March cross-country ski trip

In general, average high temperatures (F) in the late summer climb into the 80s, and average low temperatures in winter are in the teens. However, it’s not uncommon for there to be snow in June and September at higher elevations or for a day to start sunny and warm only to change to sleet and snow later in day.

Because of this, no matter what time of year you visit Montana, you’ll want to make sure you have multiple layering options for clothes to adjust to quickly changing weather.

Benefits of Visiting Montana Season by Season

Here are some of the top pros and cons for visiting Montana in each season. We’ve also listed some festivals that happen in each season that you may want to plan your trip around.

Winter in Montana

Yellowstone views during a January cross-country ski trip.
Yellowstone views during a January cross-country ski trip

From Big Sky Resort in the south to Whitefish Mountain in the north (and various other options in between) Montana is known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding options in the western part of the state and sees a lot of visitors from around the country and world coming to enjoy the slopes at resorts and in the backcountry.

If the thrill of downhill skiing isn’t your thing, Montana has numerous trails and spaces for other winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and ice climbing. With the heaviest snowfall occurring from November through March, winter is Montana’s longest season – providing ample opportunity to plan a trip to enjoy a winter wonderland.

Cross-country ski trail near Big Sky, Montana. Winter is one of the best times to visit Montana for those who love adventure sports.
Cross-country ski trail near Big Sky

While there are more crowds on the ski hills and at the major resorts, crowds are far reduced in Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park in winter. Though the major roads through the parks are closed – in Yellowstone only the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and the northeast entrance at Cooke City is open, and in Glacier the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed – you can still access certain areas of the parks for a crowd-free experience. Both parks have visitor centers that remain open in winter where you can find information on skiing and snowshoeing trails and snow conditions.

Yellowstone also has fun activities to do like guided snowcoach and snowmobile tours.

Read more about Montana in the winter with our month-by-month guides:
Montana in November
Montana in December

Spring in Montana

Bison on an early spring drive through Yellowstone National Park
Bison on an early spring drive through Yellowstone

Spring can be a tricky time to plan a trip to Montana. With rain and sometimes snow, the weather can be unpredictable. However, if you’re willing to be flexible and are okay with not perfect weather, you’ll see Montana at a time when few other tourists do – just remember to pack for changing weather conditions.

One of our favorite things about springtime in Montana is how vibrant it is thanks to all the rain. From fields, to hillsides, to mountains, Montana is awash in shades of green, dotted with wildflowers, and accompanied by fresh air. To add to the scenery are the wildlife and baby animals.

Mama and baby buffalo in the spring in Yellowstone National Park.
Mama and baby buffalo

All this gorgeous wildlife and scenery can be best seen by foot or bicycle during the spring. Roads in Yellowstone, the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier, and the road in Hyalite Canyon in Bozeman are only open for non-motorized traffic as far as the plow allows for a few weeks in April and early May, making them perfect destinations for spring road biking, along with numerous other trails around the state.

Spring hikes across the state allow you to experience Montana’s amazing views by foot. Just be sure to keep your distance from any wildlife you may see on or near the road and trails and adhere to signs and changing conditions.

If you want a more adrenaline-inducing adventure, many rafting companies in the western part of the state begin offering trips in May and June, allowing you to take advantage of the higher spring river levels and peak rafting conditions.

Summer in Montana

Summer days on Holter Lake in Montana. Summer is one of the best times to visit Montana for gorgeous weather.
Summer days on Holter Lake

Summer is often touted as the best time to visit Montana with the more consistently warmer temperatures. It’s true – summer in Montana is amazing – but many of the major attractions that draw visitors to the state, like Yellowstone and Glacier, along with other state parks, wilderness areas, and recreation areas are a lot more crowded during the warmer months. If you’re willing to deal with the crowds though, you’re bound to have a fantastic summer trip to Montana.

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