From scenic wonders to historical treasures, here are must-see Montana tourist attractions that itinerary planners should put on their radar.

Glacier National Park

An iconic Montana tourist attraction is the beautiful Glacier National Park. Since the 1930s, the Red Bus Tours fleet of vintage vehicles has been offering guided tours on the park’s legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the world’s most scenic roadways. Glacier Park Boat Company is another park concessionaire operating narrated, 45- to 90-minute excursions on McDonald, St. Mary, Swiftcurrent, Josephine and Two Medicine lakes. Some cruises include a guided walk or hike. Sun Tours provides interpretive bus tours of the park from the perspective of the Blackfeet Tribe.

Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Bigfork

The Northwest’s finest professional repertory theater brings Broadway-caliber acting and singing talent from across the country. This arts-minded town at the northern end of Flathead Lake has been staging shows in the 435-seat, air-conditioned “theater by the bay” for more than 63 seasons. Past performances include Guys & Dolls, Mamma Mia! and The Full Monty

Charlie Russell Chew Choo, Lewiston

All aboard for the Montana Dinner Train, a 56-mile roundtrip adventure through the rolling hills and vast ranchlands of central Montana’s Big Sky Country. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, the Charlie Russell Chew Choo serves up a prime rib dinner and Western entertainment on the 4½-hour journey (select weekends, May to October.) Travel in 1950s-vintage rail cars that cross three historic trestles, past ghost towns and through a half-mile-long tunnel. Wildlife sightings often include antelope, eagles, deer, hawks and coyotes making this a wild Montana tourist destination. 

Conrad Mansion Museum, Kalispell

Built in 1895 for Charles E. Conrad, the founder of Kalispell, this 26-room mansion has been restored to its Victorian splendor, and more than 90 percent of the furniture and artifacts are original to the house. Innovative features included a freight elevator, dumbwaiter, built-in fire hoses, and a communication system with an electric call box, intercom and speaking tube.

The C.M. Russell Museum spotlights one of America’s great Western artists.

The C.M. Russell Museum spotlights one of America’s great Western artists.

C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls

This museum complex, covering an entire city block, pays homage to Western artist Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926), famed for his depictions of cowboys, Native Americans, and Montana landscapes and wildlife. Galleries feature Russell’s watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures, drawings and published illustrations. Also on display are works of Russell contemporaries who have captured the traditions of North Plains Indian life. The campus includes the artist’s home and log studio as well.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

One of the most famous Montana tourist attractions sits in southeastern Montana’s Valley of the Little Bighorn River. See where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 210 men of his 7th Calvary Regiment made their last stand against several thousand Lakota, Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne. A national cemetery, museum exhibits, and various monuments and memorials tell the story of the Native Americans’ victory. The Crow Nation’s Apsaalooke Tours offers van excursions departing from the visitor center. A step-on guide from Indian Battle Tours will provide a memorable perspective of the battle from both Native American and Cavalry points of view.

Last Chance Tour Train, Helena

This one-hour narrated trolley ride through Montana’s capital city showcases grandiose architecture and history. Glimpse the original and current governor’s mansions, State Capitol, Cathedral of St. Helena and opulent mansion district. Explore a restored miners’ village called Reeder’s Alley and the charming Victorian-era buildings of Last Chance Gulch, today a pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants.  This Montana tourist attraction 

Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center, Fort Peck

Adjacent to the largest hydraulic earth-filled dam in the world, the center features many unique exhibits. A cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex known as Peck’s Rex, showcases on dam history, the fauna of neighboring Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, and large aquariums housing fish from Fort Peck Lake and the Missouri River. Tours of the power house can be arranged.

World of Mining Museum, Butte

This 44-acre site on the grounds of the old Orphan Girl silver and zinc mine spotlights Butte’s heyday as a mining center. View large-scale exhibits, equipment on display in the mine yard and Hell Roarin’ Gulch, a re-created 1890s mining town with 50-plus buildings filled with antiques. Visitors don hardhats, cap lights and battery packs on underground tours led by former mine workers. 

These incredible Montana tourist attractions will make tour planning a breeze and entertain all types of tour groups. For more unique group travel destinations, download the current issue of Leisure Group Travel and stay informed.

By Randy Mink

Main image: Red Bus tours at Glacier National Park and its Going-to-the-Sun Road