Montana is the 4th largest state in the USA, yet has a population of under a million. It borders Canada to the north, with the impressive Rockies in the West. It was the original “Wild West,” meaning that many who have never been there feel like they know it. The ‘’Big Sky Country” State appears in numerous films.
The east of Montana consists of open plains, and the state is one of the best for outdoor activities. Montana even contains a small part of Yellowstone Park. The diverse landscape includes Glacier National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which spreads into Canada and actually has a couple of hundred waterfalls, mostly unnamed. It is a place that hikers love, and where impressive waterfalls are just one of the natural environment’s gems.
If you are looking for adventure in the state, here are 15 amazing waterfalls in Montana.
1. Virginia and St. Mary’s Falls, Glacier National Park
These two 50-foot falls are truly beautiful and if you decide on spending time in Glacier Park, make sure you see them.
The trail that takes you to these two wonderful falls passes a couple of unnamed falls as well, so you can see four in a single day with little effort.
The whole walk is around 2.5 miles.
St. Mary’s can be viewed from a bridge that crosses the creek while a little further along you will see the powerful waters of Virginia Falls dropping into Virginia Creek.
Both are at their best after the snow has melted in spring.
2. Baring Falls, Glacier National Park
People wishing to visit Baring Falls have a fairly easy walk to get there after parking their car; a mile and a half there and back with just a gentle climb of 160 feet.
The drop of these falls is around 40 feet and you are likely to see water ousels, who dive into the water for their food.
The waters flow into St. Mary’s Lake.
You can get from the bottom of the falls up to the top on an established path, and you can also get behind them.
Be careful however because the rocks are slippery.
3. Florence Falls, Glacier National Park
It is a bit of a hike to reach Florence Falls, but you will be rewarded with an impressive sight if you make the effort.
The route is largely through forest, although there is a lovely setting to photograph near Mirror Pond.
You go down almost 700 feet in a little over a mile to reach the falls, but the only way to get back is up using that same trail.
You will pass the much smaller Deadwood Falls before you reach Florence Falls, which are at their best in the spring.
If you want to spend time in the immediate area, there are a couple of campsites fairly close by.
4. Redrock Falls, Glacier National Park
If you want a reasonably simple trek to see a waterfall, choose this one because you will have the additional benefit of seeing cascades, a couple of lakes and even a moose and possibly even a grizzly.
They will have awoken from hibernation if you go in the spring, which is also when the water is at its most powerful, the snow having melted.
When you look at the falls from the base, you can see a number of ways to get up to different points on the falls and cascades to get some lovely photographs.
5. Running Eagle Falls, Glacier National Park
The advantage of these falls is that they are accessible to everyone, even those in a wheelchair.
There is a well-maintained trail that crosses the creek just before you arrive at the falls.
You then continue on just a short distance to the most popular lookout point, but there are several that will give you a good view of the falls.
They are nicknamed ‘’Trick Falls” because in the spring when there is the most water, there is a 40-foot drop that conceals a smaller cascade below.
Later in the year, you will see this smaller cascade when drier weather prevails.
6. Ptarmigan Falls, Glacier National Park
The only downside of these impressive falls is that steep terrain surrounding the falls makes it difficult to get close.
The lovely hike to get there is compensation for those enjoying the trek as much as the waterfalls.
The trail climbs initially, but then it evens out.
The falls are visible from the trail, in a small clearing in the forest.
Above the falls, you will find a nice picnic area beyond the forest but with no decent view of the falls themselves.
A word of caution in the spring; bears are likely to be around in the area.
7. Apikuni Falls, Glacier National Park
Few settings are better than the one that Apikuni presents, especially in the spring after the snows have melted.
One tier is a free-fall from the top of the cliffs while a second part is best described as a cascade.
Further smaller falls and cascades are formed below the main falls, creating an image that you simply have to photograph.
The round trip to and from the falls is around 1.7 miles, and ironically you can see the falls before you set out, when you park your car.
At the highest point, you are 5,500 feet above sea level and will have a little climbing to do en route.
8. Crow Creek Falls, Broadwater County
These lovely falls lie 90 minutes by road from Townsend, the County capital.
They are part of a lovely hike where you are likely to take plenty of photographs as you walk along the side of the creek.
There is little climbing to do, so it is suitable for the family.
You can climb from the bottom of the falls to the top with the sound of water matched by birdsong.
Try fishing behind the falls because there are some fairly large species in the pools.
Camping is available locally if you decide to spend more than a day.
9. Kootenai Falls, near Libby
The Kootenai Falls was selected as a location for the Oscar-winning film ‘’The Revenant” and it is easy to see why; they are wonderful, one of the largest in the state.
The river drops over 300 feet in a fairly short distance, and much of that drop is the falls themselves.
They are sacred to the native American Kootenai tribe who believe they are the middle of the world.
Local fauna includes bighorn sheep, whitetail deer, elk, moose, mule deer and black bear.
Add the birdlife including ospreys and the fish in the waters, and it makes for a wonderful natural area.
10. Woodbine Falls, Stillwater County
This waterfall, in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, is easy to access but it is in a relatively quiet part of the state so it does not attract too many visitors.
That adds to the pleasure of going to see these very tall falls.
The falls and cascades drop not far short of 300 feet down a ravine heading down to the Stillwater River.
It is a nice place for a picnic and simply to take in the setting, but be prepared just in case: take some bear spray.
The round trip is not much more than 1.5 miles incidentally.
11. Ousel Falls, Gallatin County
There is a beautiful hike beside two forks in the Gallatin River which leads over three bridges to the Ousel Falls.
You can reach the falls from one of four trails with the far-right fork going to arguably the best viewing point known as South Fork Overlook.
Another goes to the top of the falls themselves, while the straight path goes to the foot of the falls where you can enjoy a picnic.
Take your pick of trails, open all-year round, and perhaps spend time taking all four so you can get different perspectives of the falls.
12. Calamity & Sentinel Falls, Beartooth Mountains, Carbon County
While the majority of people heading to Rock Creek, on which these falls are found, go to fish, they and everyone else who visits are impressed by the lovely falls.
The number of species of fish below both falls is impressive.
The trail goes through forest and meadow on the way to the falls.
The best place to view them both are from small spur trails, with the sound of the water an indication that you have arrived.
The summer months are popular with visitors and even in the winter, significant numbers head there.
13. Pinkham Creek Falls, Lincoln County
Head to Rexford, close to Eureka in the northwest of Montana, and you will find a walking trail that goes down to the Pinkham Creek Falls.
It is a fairly short route, although because of regular use and loose gravel as you descend, the trail is not in good condition, especially on wet days.
Remember of course that the trail down is just halfway; you have to climb back up again.
There are two waterfalls at either end of the gorge but be careful as you approach the edge of the canyon.
14. Memorial Falls, Neihart
If you head for Memorial Creek Canyon you will find two waterfalls in an area of cliffs and trees.
The loop is just a mile in all and is suitable for people of all ages from spring until winter arrives.
The first falls are located just 400 yards after you start, and there is a bench to sit and take in the view.
No more than 10 minutes away is the second, even if you take the longer of two paths.
The second falls are as far as you can go because you will reach thick vegetation and some steep slopes beyond them.
15. Holland Falls, Missoula
You will walk through beautiful forests of larch, pine and fir if you head for Holland Falls and Holland Lake; it is a stunning area.
After around a mile, the trail heads upwards and crosses a bridge.
Shortly afterwards, you have views of the Swan and Mission Mountains and the Swan Valley, and then suddenly you will hear the sound of water.
The falls are fairly close and measure some 50 feet.
A campsite has proved popular from the arrival of spring right through until the approach of winter.