Whether it’s finding a great swimming hole, catching frogs, or roasting marshmallows around a campfire, when it comes to camping, Southwest Montana has great camping spots with a variety of activities for every member of the family. Campers can enjoy more than 105 public and private campgrounds in Southwest Montana. Other accessible public lands may also be used for family camping fun!
Fishing is a favorite activity in Southwest Montana, and places to fish are too numerous to count. You can cast a line in mountain streams or clear lakes and tempt a variety of fish including trout, whitefish and bass. Fishing and conservation licenses are required for almost all anglers in Montana, both residents and non-residents. To make it easy, licenses are sold in angler shops, sporting goods stores, and many supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations. For more information you can visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Southwest Montana offers some of the most exciting mountain biking and trails anywhere. On a mountain bike you can experience Southwest Montana up close and personal where you can feel the breeze, enjoy the Big Sky sunshine, and see wildlife in its natural surroundings.
In Southwest Montana you’ll find a wide variety of riding terrain. There are gentle quiet roads for beginners just learning how to handle their bikes, and difficult single tracks to challenge the advanced biker. Just remember to be safe and wear your helmet.
Rodeo is a Spanish word meaning roundup. Many of the earliest rodeos in Southwest Montana followed the autumn roundup. Today you can see rodeos and events in almost any month of the year. One of the favorite rodeo events in Southwest Montana is the Last Chance Stampede in Helena. Grab your hat and saddle up your horse for some good old western fun.
Skating is a great winter activity for the whole family. In Southwest Montana, you’ll find plenty of places to go ice skating including indoor rinks, outdoor rinks, ponds, lakes and streams. Remember when skating outdoors to be aware of ice conditions. Ice on ponds, lakes and streams can be unpredictable and rough with cracks, holes or weak areas.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Southwest Montana is the perfect location to go swooshing down the slopes. Ski season arrives late in Fall and will last until early Spring and comes complete with sunshine, fresh powder and uncrowded slopes. Take your turn on the hills at Discovery Basin, Great Divide Ski Area or Maverick Mountain while playing in Southwest Montana.
Southwest Montana has one of the best locations in the world for ice boating. Canyon Ferry Lake’s winter breezes and great size make it the perfect location to jump into an ice boat and sail across the ice.
Start your engines for some hot Montana fun on cold winter days. An extensive network of groomed trails in Southwest Montana offers unrivaled riding and spectacular scenery. These trails are maintained by members of the Montana Snowmobile Association.
Lewis & Clark Caverns
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is Montana’s first and best-known state park featuring one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest. Naturally air conditioned, these spectacular caves, lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites, are electrically lighted and safe to visit. Above ground, a self-guided nature trail provides opportunities to understand the natural surroundings.
Our Lady of the Rockies
There’s no better place to get a bird’s-eye view of Butte than from Our Lady of the Rockies. This half-day tour winds up mountain roads high above town to “Our Lady.” About the size of the Statue of Liberty, Our Lady was built by blue-collar volunteers. It’s a great trip and an inspiring story.
Mt. Helena City Park
This city park in Helena includes 630 acres of trails, many of which start at the base of the mountain and wind their way to the peak 1,000 feet above. The maintained hiking and mountain biking trails offer spectacular views of the city and the gulches south of Helena.
Memorial Park stands out due to its WWII Memorial, large public swimming pool and splash waterpark, playground, ice-skating rink with warming house and skate rental, barbeques, picnic grounds, and band shell. Right near Memorial, sits Centennial Park, popular for its soccer fields, softball fields, bike park and dog park, along with the Skate Park, with it’s many ramps, rails and jumps it is great for skaters and boarders. For more information on other parks in Helena, contact the City of Helena Parks Department at (406) 447-8463.
Great Northern Carousel
Step back in time to the days of good old-fashioned fun. The Great Northern Carousel is a handcrafted modern day masterpiece that will delight the child in everyone. The carousel features 36 different hand-carved animals including a wide variety of Montana’s indigenous animals. After visiting the animals you can treat yourself to one of the 36 homemade ice creams in the Painted Pony Ice Cream Parlor. 989 Carousel Way, (406) 457-5353.
Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds
Home to the annual Last Chance Stampede Rodeo & Fair, the fairgrounds provide a ton of opportunities for fun. Between the rodeo, midway and animal exhibits, the fair has something for everyone. And when the fair is not in town, there are still fun things to do at the Fairgrounds. Play at the huge park or spend a lazy afternoon feeding the ducks.
Helena hosts a classical western rodeo and fair complete with carnival, parades, professional cowboys, livestock and fair exhibits, trade shows, a wide variety of foods, children’s activities and live entertainment.