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Are you looking for a beautiful place to vacation that is budget-friendly for the whole family? Then the big sky state of Montana should be added to your bucket list. The question is, when is the best time to go? We’ve researched Montana’s climate to determine when is the best time to enjoy this state based on its seasonal weather.
The best time to visit Montana is in late May and the month of June. During this time of the year, the colors of the leaves and flowers paint the mountain state. It is early enough in the Summer that it’s not too hot for hikes in the mountains but just hot enough to enjoy a dip in one of Montana’s many rivers and lakes. Coming to Montana this time of the year will give you the perfect opportunity to see how spectacular this state is.
There’s a lot of planning that goes into a vacation, especially in a state as big as Montana. That’s why we laid out what to do and how to plan for the weather during each season. Read on to learn more about the Big Sky state for your next vacation!
Montana’s Seasonal Weather
Montana has endless sites to see, parks to visit, and activities to indulge in. Hiking, fishing, water sports, brewery tours, concerts, festivals, and National Parks are just a few items from a long list of activities to take part in. Keep in mind that just because it’s ideal to visit during Summer doesn’t mean the weather can’t change on a dime. As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Montana, wait five minutes!
Montana is a beautiful state, but at times it can be a little unpredictable. When planning a trip to Montana, it is always good to plan for the weather. If you want to visit in the Summer, then try to make it in June or early July. By August, it can get scorching hot, and there is a high chance there will be a forest fire or two filling the blue sky with smoke.
The fall colors are incredible in Montana, making for an iconic road trip. If you are thinking about visiting Montana in the fall, September is an excellent time to go. This is because September is not too hot but still warm enough to enjoy the outdoor activities.
With the weather being mild and school being back in session, September makes for a good time to tour the usually crowded state and national parks. Like, the other Montana seasons, the fall can be unpredictable; it can be 90 degrees one week and snowing the next, so maybe pack a coat and a pair of shorts.
Well, you can probably guess, the winter in Montana can be downright cold. Negative 20-degree weather and three feet of snow aren’t out of the norm. If you aren’t used to cold weather, then it might not hurt to pack two coats.
Snowstorms and high winds can make the interstate roads very dangerous, so drive with caution and be sure to check the road reports before venturing too far. Also, if you are going to be driving, make sure to drive a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle.
This is one of the most beautiful seasons, but it can be 30 degrees, or it can be 70 degrees depending on the day. It isn’t out of the normal for Montana to get one last snowstorm in the middle of April, so keep that in mind. The best time to come in the spring is in May, when you have a lower chance of snowfall. Overall, it wouldn’t hurt to always have a coat packed no matter what season you visit Montana in.
What to do in Montana in Fall?
If you are thinking about making a trip to Montana in the fall, you will find no shortage of activities. As mentioned above, the fall is an excellent time to visit because the weather is more relaxed and the tourism is low. During this time of year, a person can take advantage of a fall festival like the iconic sheep drive or touring a state park or national park.
National parks are an excellent way to see how beautiful Montana is. We highly recommend checking out Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. Just don’t get too close to the wildlife; they are still wild!
What to do in Montana in Winter?
If you are coming to Montana in the winter, I’m sure you already know it’s cold. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some fun to be had. Boasting 17 ski resorts, this is the perfect place to ski or snowboard. If you get the chance, check out Big Sky resort and tour around. It’s on the pricier side but worth the experience. As the locals call it, Whitefish Mountain or Big Mountain is a less expensive alternative and offers some fantastic skiing.
The winter months also offer festivals that are a blast. In Big Sky, Pond Skim brings thousands of people from all over. Another fun but smaller festival to check out is Winter Carnival in Red Lodge. Both include local music, brews, and food to enjoy.
What to do in Montana in Spring?
Another good time to road trip Montana in the Spring. Like the fall, the spring has less tourism making it a good time to go through the National parks. On your way, you can also check out the historic Lewis and Clark Taverns. This state park has several campsites and hiking trails but keep in mind it doesn’t open until May 1st.
Montana is home to several craft breweries and concert venues if you love music and craft beer. If you get the chance, stop in Bozeman or Missoula and go on a brewery tour and catch a show. In Missoula, you can’t miss Tamarak Brewing. Grab a beer there and go over to the river to watch the surfers. If you end up in Bozeman instead, definitely check out MAPS Brewing and hang by the lake for lunch. The warm weather and the spring colors make having a cold beer on a patio nothing short of paradise.
What do in Montana in Summer?
Last but not least, Summer! As we said before, the Summer in Montana has a long list of activities to choose from. If you love the outdoors, then it is worth checking out what campgrounds and hikes are near. Montana is known for its big sky and iconic mountain ranges that offer over 500 hiking trails home to scenic views, mountain lakes, and various wildlife. When hiking Montana, be sure to be bear-aware, don’t hike alone, and always pack bear spray!
Snow may be one of the first things that come to mind when talking about Montana but don’t be fooled by how hot the Summers can get. Luckily, you don’t have to look very hard to find a lake or river to play on. Boating, fishing, rafting, to name a few, are activities great for the whole family. If you happen to make your way to Glacier National Park, then make sure to take some time to hang out at the famous Flathead Lake and grab a huckleberry milkshake.
Lastly, if you missed the winter ski season and want to go on an adventure, then check out skiing the Beartooth Pass. But how can you ski in the summer? Well, high elevation and extreme snowfall make it possible for adrenaline junkies to hit the slopes one last time in June! Take the trip through the mountain town of Red Lodge and make the scenic switchback drive up the pass. At the top, you will find hiking, camping, and the ski slope. A person can continue on this road and enter Yellowstone National Park.
Visiting Montana in May or June will undoubtedly make for a great time, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to do year-round. There are more than plenty of outdoor activities and brewery beer to go around no matter what time of year you choose to visit. Be sure to bring your camera and don’t forget your coat just in case!
If you liked this article on Montana, then you might like “7 Fantastic Things To Do in Bozeman, Montana” and “23 Best Things To Do In And Around Missoula, Montana.”