• Missouri River Breaks

  • Genuine Montana Brochure

  • Rivers Edge Trail

  • Chinese Wall

  • First Peoples Buffalo Jump

  • Fishing in Great Falls

  • Giant Springs

  • Mountain Palace

  • Glacier National Park

  • Upland Bird Hunting

  • Kayaking

  • Missouri River Breaks
  • Click here to download Genuine Montana Brochure
  • Bicycling Great Falls' Rivers Edge Trail near Black Eagle Falls
  • The Chinese Wall in "The Bob"
  • Enjoy scenic views at First Peoples Buffalo Jump
  • A successful catch near Great Falls
  • Create family memories at Giant Springs State Park
  • Some of the most breathtaking views in North America
  • Glacier National Park
  • Upland Bird Hunting outside of Great Falls
  • An afternoon of Kayaking near Great Falls

Great Falls Museum Consortium Sunday Sampler

Great Falls Montana is ready for the annual Sunday Sampler, an event geared to highlighting our world-class museums (Great Falls has more museums per capita than any other city in Montana!), museums from around Great Falls will open their doors on April 9th 2017 for the Great Falls Museum Consortium Sunday Sampler. The participating museums include the CM Russell Museum (voted Montana’s best museum), the Children’s Museum of Montana, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Galerie Trinitas, The History Museum, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Montana Museum of Railroad History, Paris Gibson Square Museum, Malmstrom AFB Museum, and the Ursuline Centre. Each museum will offer free admission to any visitor that enjoys Great Falls’ unique culture and history. The museums represented in the Consortium represent an adventurous, independent, and energetic aspect of the spirit that runs through the culture of Great Falls, Montana. All museums will be open from 12-5pm, and most will have special activities planned; call for more information. Explore as many of each museum at your leisure, and include plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, the alluring ruggedness, and the untamed spirit of the West as you walk along our 60 miles of River’s Edge Trail. The Great Falls Museum Consortium is delighted to host this event. Let your Adventures Begin!

An 18 Image Tour of Great Falls Montana on Instagram

We love it when free-spirited adventures explore Great Falls, Montana. We love it even move when they capture their adventures with #VisitGreatFalls! Enjoy this quick tour of Great Falls, Montana from the perspective of those who embrace our breathtaking landscapes and share them on Instagram!

1.

2.

3.

 

#MTYPSummit #VisitGreatFalls

A post shared by Andy Shirtliff (@ashirtliff) on

4.

 

Thanks everyone for a great weekend! #mtypsummit #visitgreatfalls

A post shared by MT Young Professionals (@mtypsummit) on

5.

 

#VisitGreatFalls . . . . #mtyoungprofessionals #MTYPSummit

A post shared by Elli Winslow (@miss_elliwins) on

6.

 

How about that sky earlier? #bigskycountry #visitgreatfalls #greatfallsofthemissouri #justatypicaldrivehome

A post shared by Thin Diesel (@svt544) on

7.

8.

 

And some people complain about reachy problems…you go girl @thehiline #visitgreatfalls #downtowngreatfalls #406

A post shared by The Hi-Line Climbing Center (@thehiline) on

9.

 

Kayaking the Missouri near Great Falls, MT. #visitgreatfalls #greatfallsmt

A post shared by John (@avbird) on

10.

 

Boardwalks = 💛🍂 | #exploremore

A post shared by Elli Winslow (@miss_elliwins) on

11.

12.

 

The #RiversEdgeTrail was looking lovely this week with a coating of snow. #visitgreatfalls

A post shared by River’s Edge Trail (@riversedgetrail) on

13.

14.

15.

 

Sunset over the Mighty Mo, Great Falls. #centralmontana #visitgreatfalls

A post shared by Central Montana (@centralmontana) on

16.

 

#livegreatfalls #sunset #bigsky #spring #visitgreatfalls

A post shared by Clarissa Linn (@photoclarissalinn) on

17.

18.

 

Eighth Avenue Sunset // #MNTphotography406 #MNTsunsets

A post shared by M O L L Y T // MNT406 (@mnt406) on

Follow us on Instagram @VisitGreatFalls and share your adventures using #VisitGreatFalls!

Great Falls: One of the Best-Kept Travel Secrets in Montana

Offering incredible access to what Montana is famous for—that unpopulated wilderness and world-class fishing—the town of Great Falls provides a genuine Montana experience along with a healthy dose of arts, entertainment and Native American history. It sounds too familiar, but this is truly a destination where no matter your interest, you can find something worthwhile and memorable to do.

Here, you can star gaze without the interference of city lights. You can play golf in the summer, then return to go skiing in the winter. You can enjoy river sports and amazing day trips, and you can visit a quirky local bar that GQ Magazine called the No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for. Great Falls can be your base camp for exploring the state, from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park and beyond. From Great Falls, no destination is more than 3.5 hours away.

“Great Falls is a nice blend of outdoors and big city, with live music, monthly art walks, and great restaurants,” says Scott Reasoner, general manager for the Great Falls Voyagers baseball team. Throughout the summer, the Voyagers play baseball at Centene Stadium, where you can enjoy fun, weekly promotions and 40 different beers. Reasoner rattles off some of the other local highlights here in Great Falls that he often recommends to friends, including local breweries, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and all the things to do and see along the Missouri River.

And if you’re planning a family trip, you can find plenty of things to entertain pint-sized explorers, too. “There’s the Children’s Museum, Flipping Family Fun, the parks and water park, or the library and C.M. Russell Museum Kids Exhibit,” says Jolene Schalper, a musician who plays with Eklegein Jam Band, Eden Bridge, and the 49th Street Blues Project.

This town is bursting with educational and recreational opportunities for both kids and adults. A lot of destinations claim to be best-kept secrets, but Great Falls delivers on that promise time and time again. Here’s a look at some of the best reasons to put the Great Falls area on your travel destination list this year.


Wonderful Water and the Great Outdoors

Stand-Up Paddleboard Great Falls MT
Kayaking on the Missouri River

With its headwaters south of Great Falls, the Missouri River runs right through town, providing terrific spots for kayaking, standup paddleboarding, boating and fishing. In addition, Great Falls is blessed with five falls along the Missouri River.

Craig Madsen, owner of Montana River Outfitters, says the outdoor recreational opportunities in Great Falls are among the best in the state—or the country for that matter. “There is arguably a greater variety of game, fish and birds within an hour’s drive from Great Falls than anywhere else in the lower 48,” he says. “With a river and a trail running through it, one can enjoy a taste of the outdoors without even leaving town.”

Madsen says the opportunity to catch a wild trout on the Missouri River or travel the river by paddleboard or kayak as it flows through town are a couple of those “best-kept secrets” that travelers might not expect in Great Falls. “Not only do we have a great variety of outdoor activities, but the uncrowdedness of our area makes it even more appealing,” he adds.
Exceptional fly fishing has made Great Falls a Montana fly fishing capital, while the Missouri River offers multiple activities, from canoeing to speedboats.
And of course there are the falls. The Great Falls of the Missouri, from which the town derives its name, is actually only one of five total falls that span a 10-mile stretch of the Missouri River near the town of Great Falls. The falls were first seen by explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) on June 13, 1805. These falls roar each spring, and create interesting winter ice formations in the winter. The five falls of the Missouri include Black Eagle Falls, Rainbow Falls, Colter Falls, Crooked Falls and The Great Falls. As quoted by Lewis, the Great Falls are “the grandest sight I ever beheld.”

“Great Falls is all about being outside, regardless of the season,” says Mayor Bob Kelly. “If you like to do anything outdoors, from hiking to hunting, snowmobiling to snowboarding, rodeo to road races, you need to visit us in Great Falls.”


An Epicenter for Spectacular Parks

First People's Buffalo Jump
Great Falls is home to two fantastic state parks. One is the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, home to one of the largest North American prehistoric bison “pishkuns,” which are cliffs where Native Americans forced buffalo to their death during hunts. It is one the most significant Native American heritage sites in North America—without question. Another must-visit state park is Giant Springs State Park, full of breathtaking beauty and the world’s shortest river, the Roe River, which is only 201 feet long. The park has one of largest freshwater springs in the world, with water flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water each day, and it’s the most-visited state park in all of Montana.

While most of Montana can claim “outdoor recreation” as a great feature, not every city has a park-and-trial system quite like the River’s Edge Trail in Great Falls. Traversing the 57-mile urban trail along the Missouri River is an absolute must-do in Great Falls, says local historian Norma Ashby. The trail connects city parks, the downtown area, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Giant Springs all along the river. You can hike and bike this trail in warm weather, or explore in snowshoes during the winter.

Becky Nelson, River’s Edge Trail board member, shares a few of the trail’s most important stats: “The trail system is more than 57 miles long and over 21 miles are paved in asphalt or concrete,” she says. “There are 22 miles of single track trails along reservoirs east of town, with 19 trailheads, 15 bridges, six tunnels and 13 underpasses.” You can see freshwater springs and a trout hatchery, fish and access motorized or non-motorized boat launches. In addition, travel past hilltop gazebos and a baseball stadium, playgrounds and public art, horseshoe pits and tennis courts—all without ever leaving the trail.

City parks can be found throughout town, 57 of them in fact, including two golf courses, Eagle Falls and Anaconda Hills, and one of the top five skate parks in the northwest United States. The free Riverside Railyard Skate Park comprises 27,000 square feet and ‘bowls’ whose largest depth is more than nine feet. At Electric City Water Park, Mitchell Pool is the state’s largest heated outdoor pool. Kids love the winding 20-foot slides and bodyboarding in deep channels. Soccer fans enjoy Siebel Soccer Park too, Montana’s top soccer facilities, with 15 fields across 65 acres.

Electric City Water Park
Anaconda Hills Golf Course Great Falls MT

Also in Great Falls is Gibson Park, named for the city founder Paris Gibson. Located between the historic downtown and the river, Gibson park features lush landscape architecture and trees, plus a bike and walking path and a new play area. Picnic tables, a busy band shelter and feeding water birds entertain summer visitors. More bird-watching opportunities await you in Great Falls at Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge and further outside of town at Freezeout Lake, home to breathtaking spring migrations.

Other amazing parks to visit outside of Great Falls but within easy driving distance include Glacier National Park, where drastic landscape changes characterize the dramatic eastern entry for this popular Montana park. Another park, the Waterton Lakes National Park, is connected to Glacier and is one of Canada’s national parks. It’s offering free admission in 2017.

Finally, encompassing more than 1.5 million acres, Bob Marshall Wilderness is a hiking-and-backpacking paradise, where the ‘Chinese Wall’ is a gorgeous, 22-mile-long escarpment and part of the Continental Divide, averaging more than 1,000 feet tall.


Exploring the Arts in Great Falls

CM Russell Museum Great Falls MT
Music in the Park Great Falls MT

Great Falls is rich in arts offerings, from live music and entertainment to special events. “Our community has museums and interpretive centers that beautifully depict the history and character of the region,” Mayor Kelly says. “Our symphony has hosted Yo-Yo Ma, Midori and Itzhak Perlman.”

Home to 10 distinct museums, Great Falls is Montana’s Museum Capital. Works of art by the late resident and artist Charlie Russell capture the spirit of Great Falls and the surrounding area, and the C.M. Russell Museum has been called Montana’s “museum worth traveling for.”

“One of the greatest painters the country has ever known, [Russell] lived the history of the West,” says Mark Robinson, the museum’s marketing director. “It’s almost like recorded history. His house and studio are still part of the museum complex, and he was the highest-paid artist of his time; one piece sold for $5.6 million.”

The 25,000-sq.-ft. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center contains North America’s most extensive depiction of the expedition, with interactive displays and special attention to their portage around this area’s many waterfalls. “The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center hosts approximately 50,000 people per year, making it the most popular museum/interpretive center in central Montana,” Nelson says.

Paris Gibson Square Great Falls, MT
Paris Gibson Museum of Art fills a historical building with contemporary art, and is the home of the Great Falls Trolley. Round out your museum visits at the Children’s Museum of Montana, Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum & Air Park, The History Museum, and Trinity Gallery at the University of Great Falls.

Great Falls’ rich tapestry of music and culture includes Metis Indian Fiddlers, Blackfeet drummers, blues, and Irish and world-class symphonic music. Enjoy Municipal Band summer concerts in Gibson Park, and world-class performances at the intimate Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Great Falls Symphony. In the heart of downtown, ‘The Mansfield’ offers shows, productions, concerts, and performances, year-round.

“We have a pretty tremendous nightlife, from Broadway plays to local theater groups to more non-traditional expressive entertainment,” local musician Schalper says. “Our art scene is very powerful, too. Our First Friday art walk has classics to western to contemporary art…and most venues include live music.” Great Falls also has a number of local microbreweries that support live entertainment, she adds.


Eats, Drink and Be Merry

Sip and Dip Great Falls MT
Speaking of microbrewies, local eateries and bars have garnered enormous praise from various outlets. Celtic Cowboy has been named Montana’s best Irish pub, and Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes was named Montana’s best coffee shop.

But the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge has received the biggest kudos. “It’s a step back in time to an authentic 1960s tiki bar,” says Sandra Johnson-Thares, the lounge’s general manager. “It’s retro and cool.”

That’s a bit of an understatement for a bar that GQ Magazine called No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for and a bar that came in second in the 2016 National Trust for Historic Preservation’s tournament of America’s favorite historic bars. Here, Piano Pat has been the pianist and organist for 45 years, and mermaids swim around in the hotel pool in front of the window in the bar. On Tuesdays, you can see Mermen instead of Mermaids, and any day of the week you can order a Fishbowl, which Delish.com called Montana’s best tiki drink. Retro and cool, indeed.


Special Events

Great Falls hosts a number of noteworthy events each year, including one of the most treasured Western art auctions and events in the world. In March, around Charlie Russell’s birthday, Great Falls becomes the Western art capital of the world during Western Art Week. Thirteen shows display works by more than 700 artists and numerous events engage art lovers. Original oil paintings, bronzes, photography, furniture, sculptures, and jewelry are only the beginning of diverse art displayed. Locations all through town host art shows, and people fly in from across the globe.
“There are auctions all over the place, and we get work consigned to us from galleries and private owners,” Robinson says. “The artist community is growing all around us, and in the city. Certainly Charlie Russell is an inspiration for that and artists come from all over. It’s a giant celebration of all things Western.”

Another event every June, the Lewis and Clark Festival, draws thousands of attendees to Great Falls. “Along with a bluegrass concert, Native American dancers, tipi encampment and cooking buffalo, there are children’s educational programs,” Nelson says. “In conjunction with the festival, the River’s Edge Trail co-hosts a Luminaria Walk. [Local school children] color the white bags [before] we scoop sand inside with a candle.” The free family event is a three-mile walk with music along the trail and 1000 luminarias glowing in the dark.”

You can get a taste of Montana’s ranching and agricultural heritage during the Montana State Fair each summer. From the Big Sky Pro Rodeo Roundup to country music performances and horse racing, this action-packed event includes games, rides and festival food, too.

Finally, each January the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals takes place. Celebrating 38 years, in 2017, it includes terrific horsemanship, and crowning of Miss Rodeo Montana as well as a Kiddie Rodeo and lively Cowboy Auction.


Winter Fun

Showdown Ski Resort near Great Falls MT
Winter is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities here. With easy access to the Rocky Mountain Front, Teton Pass Ski Resort features amazing access for the best back-country and side-country skiing, with rare continuous verticals.

The nearby Little Belt Mountains and Showdown Ski Resort feature some of Montana’s most consistent natural snow, and is Montana’s first ski hill. Down the mountain, Silver Crest Ski Trail is one of the only mixed-use winter sport areas in Montana. Nordic skiers, snow-shoeing enthusiasts, snowmobilers and dogsledders all enjoy their travels through these highly accessible U.S. Forest Service lands.

During wintertime the local hockey team, the Great Falls Americans, plays at the Great Falls IcePlex, and when the pond freezes at Gibson Park, you can find skaters perfecting their craft, whether it’s hockey, or figure skating, you will find kids of all ages enjoying the pond.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.


Great Falls Winter Fun

Showdown Ski Resort near Great Falls MTWinter is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities here. With easy access to the Rocky Mountain Front, Teton Pass Ski Resort features amazing access for the best back-country and side-country skiing, with rare continuous verticals.

The nearby Little Belt Mountains and Showdown Ski Resort feature some of Montana’s most consistent natural snow, and is Montana’s first ski hill. Down the mountain, Silver Crest Ski Trail is one of the only mixed-use winter sport areas in Montana. Nordic skiers, snow-shoeing enthusiasts, snowmobilers and dogsledders all enjoy their travels through these highly accessible U.S. Forest Service lands.

During wintertime the local hockey team, the Great Falls Americans, plays at the Great Falls IcePlex, and when the pond freezes at Gibson Park, you can find skaters perfecting their craft, whether it’s hockey, or figure skating, you will find kids of all ages enjoying the pond.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Great Falls Special Events

Great Falls hosts a number of noteworthy events each year, including one of the most treasured Western art auctions and events in the world. In March, around Charlie Russell’s birthday, Great Falls becomes the Western art capital of the world during Western Art Week. Thirteen shows display works by more than 700 artists and numerous events engage art lovers. Original oil paintings, bronzes, photography, furniture, sculptures, and jewelry are only the beginning of diverse art displayed. Locations all through town host art shows, and people fly in from across the globe. “There are auctions all over the place, and we get work consigned to us from galleries and private owners,” Robinson says. “The artist community is growing all around us, and in the city. Certainly Charlie Russell is an inspiration for that and artists come from all over. It’s a giant celebration of all things Western.”

Another event every June, the Lewis and Clark Festival, draws thousands of attendees to Great Falls. “Along with a bluegrass concert, Native American dancers, tipi encampment and cooking buffalo, there are children’s educational programs,” Nelson says. “In conjunction with the festival, the River’s Edge Trail co-hosts a Luminaria Walk. [Local school children] color the white bags [before] we scoop sand inside with a candle.” The free family event is a three-mile walk with music along the trail and 1000 luminarias glowing in the dark.”

You can get a taste of Montana’s ranching and agricultural heritage during the Montana State Fair each summer. From the Big Sky Pro Rodeo Roundup to country music performances and horse racing, this action-packed event includes games, rides and festival food, too.

Finally, each January the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals takes place. Celebrating 38 years, in 2017, it includes terrific horsemanship, and crowning of Miss Rodeo Montana as well as a Kiddie Rodeo and lively Cowboy Auction.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Eats, Drink and Be Merry

Sip and Dip Great Falls MTSpeaking of microbrewies, local eateries and bars have garnered enormous praise from various outlets. Celtic Cowboy has been named Montana’s best Irish pub, and Crooked Tree Coffee and Cakes was named Montana’s best coffee shop.

But the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge has received the biggest kudos. “It’s a step back in time to an authentic 1960s tiki bar,” says Sandra Johnson-Thares, the lounge’s general manager. “It’s retro and cool.”

That’s a bit of an understatement for a bar that GQ Magazine called No. 1 bar on Earth worth flying for and a bar that came in second in the 2016 National Trust for Historic Preservation’s tournament of America’s favorite historic bars. Here, Piano Pat has been the pianist and organist for 45 years, and mermaids swim around in the hotel pool in front of the window in the bar. On Tuesdays, you can see Mermen instead of Mermaids, and any day of the week you can order a Fishbowl, which Delish.com called Montana’s best tiki drink. Retro and cool, indeed.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Exploring the Arts in Great Falls

Paris Gibson Square Great Falls, MT

Music in the Park Great Falls MT

Great Falls is rich in arts offerings, from live music and entertainment to special events. “Our community has museums and interpretive centers that beautifully depict the history and character of the region,” Mayor Kelly says. “Our symphony has hosted Yo-Yo Ma, Midori and Itzhak Perlman.”

Home to 10 distinct museums, Great Falls is Montana’s Museum Capital. Works of art by the late resident and artist Charlie Russell capture the spirit of Great Falls and the surrounding area, and the C.M. Russell Museum has been called Montana’s “museum worth traveling for.”

“One of the greatest painters the country has ever known, [Russell] lived the history of the West,” says Mark Robinson, the museum’s marketing director. “It’s almost like recorded history. His house and studio are still part of the museum complex, and he was the highest-paid artist of his time; one piece sold for $5.6 million.”

The 25,000-sq.-ft. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center contains North America’s most extensive depiction of the expedition, with interactive displays and special attention to their portage around this area’s many waterfalls. “The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center hosts approximately 50,000 people per year, making it the most popular museum/interpretive center in central Montana,” Nelson says.

CM Russell Museum Great Falls MTParis Gibson Museum of Art fills a historical building with contemporary art, and is the home of the Great Falls Trolley. Round out your museum visits at the Children’s Museum of Montana, Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum & Air Park, The History Museum, and Trinity Gallery at the University of Great Falls.

Great Falls’ rich tapestry of music and culture includes Metis Indian Fiddlers, Blackfeet drummers, blues, and Irish and world-class symphonic music. Enjoy Municipal Band summer concerts in Gibson Park, and world-class performances at the intimate Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Great Falls Symphony. In the heart of downtown, ‘The Mansfield’ offers shows, productions, concerts, and performances, year-round.

“We have a pretty tremendous nightlife, from Broadway plays to local theater groups to more non-traditional expressive entertainment,” local musician Schalper says. “Our art scene is very powerful, too. Our First Friday art walk has classics to western to contemporary art…and most venues include live music.” Great Falls also has a number of local microbreweries that support live entertainment, she adds.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

An Epicenter for Spectacular Parks

First People's Buffalo Jump

Great Falls is home to two fantastic state parks. One is the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, home to one of the largest North American prehistoric bison “pishkuns,” which are cliffs where Native Americans forced buffalo to their death during hunts. It is one the most significant Native American heritage sites in North America—without question. Another must-visit state park is Giant Springs State Park, full of breathtaking beauty and the world’s shortest river, the Roe River, which is only 201 feet long. The park has one of largest freshwater springs in the world, with water flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water each day, and it’s the most-visited state park in all of Montana.

While most of Montana can claim “outdoor recreation” as a great feature, not every city has a park-and-trial system quite like the River’s Edge Trail in Great Falls. Traversing the 57-mile urban trail along the Missouri River is an absolute must-do in Great Falls, says local historian Norma Ashby. The trail connects city parks, the downtown area, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Giant Springs all along the river. You can hike and bike this trail in warm weather, or explore in snowshoes during the winter.

Becky Nelson, River’s Edge Trail board member, shares a few of the trail’s most important stats: “The trail system is more than 57 miles long and over 21 miles are paved in asphalt or concrete,” she says. “There are 22 miles of single track trails along reservoirs east of town, with 19 trailheads, 15 bridges, six tunnels and 13 underpasses.” You can see freshwater springs and a trout hatchery, fish and access motorized or non-motorized boat launches. In addition, travel past hilltop gazebos and a baseball stadium, playgrounds and public art, horseshoe pits and tennis courts—all without ever leaving the trail.

City parks can be found throughout town, 57 of them in fact, including two golf courses, Eagle Falls and Anaconda Hills, and one of the top five skate parks in the northwest United States. The free Riverside Railyard Skate Park comprises 27,000 square feet and ‘bowls’ whose largest depth is more than nine feet. At Electric City Water Park, Mitchell Pool is the state’s largest heated outdoor pool. Kids love the winding 20-foot slides and bodyboarding in deep channels. Soccer fans enjoy Siebel Soccer Park too, Montana’s top soccer facilities, with 15 fields across 65 acres.

Electric City Water Park
Anaconda Hills Golf Course Great Falls MT

Also in Great Falls is Gibson Park, named for the city founder Paris Gibson. Located between the historic downtown and the river, Gibson park features lush landscape architecture and trees, plus a bike and walking path and a new play area. Picnic tables, a busy band shelter and feeding water birds entertain summer visitors. More bird-watching opportunities await you in Great Falls at Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge and further outside of town at Freezeout Lake, home to breathtaking spring migrations.

Other amazing parks to visit outside of Great Falls but within easy driving distance include Glacier National Park, where drastic landscape changes characterize the dramatic eastern entry for this popular Montana park. Another park, the Waterton Lakes National Park, is connected to Glacier and is one of Canada’s national parks. It’s offering free admission in 2017.

Finally, encompassing more than 1.5 million acres, Bob Marshall Wilderness is a hiking-and-backpacking paradise, where the ‘Chinese Wall’ is a gorgeous, 22-mile-long escarpment and part of the Continental Divide, averaging more than 1,000 feet tall.

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Wonderful Water and the Great Outdoors

Stand-Up Paddleboard Great Falls MT

Kayaking on the Missouri River

With its headwaters south of Great Falls, the Missouri River runs right through town, providing terrific spots for kayaking, standup paddleboarding, boating and fishing. In addition, Great Falls is blessed with five falls along the Missouri River.

Craig Madsen, owner of Montana River Outfitters, says the outdoor recreational opportunities in Great Falls are among the best in the state—or the country for that matter. “There is arguably a greater variety of game, fish and birds within an hour’s drive from Great Falls than anywhere else in the lower 48,” he says. “With a river and a trail running through it, one can enjoy a taste of the outdoors without even leaving town.”

Madsen says the opportunity to catch a wild trout on the Missouri River or travel the river by paddleboard or kayak as it flows through town are a couple of those “best-kept secrets” that travelers might not expect in Great Falls. “Not only do we have a great variety of outdoor activities, but the uncrowdedness of our area makes it even more appealing,” he adds. Exceptional fly fishing has made Great Falls a Montana fly fishing capital, while the Missouri River offers multiple activities, from canoeing to speedboats. And of course there are the falls. The Great Falls of the Missouri, from which the town derives its name, is actually only one of five total falls that span a 10-mile stretch of the Missouri River near the town of Great Falls. The falls were first seen by explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) on June 13, 1805. These falls roar each spring, and create interesting winter ice formations in the winter. The five falls of the Missouri include Black Eagle Falls, Rainbow Falls, Colter Falls, Crooked Falls and The Great Falls. As quoted by Lewis, the Great Falls are “the grandest sight I ever beheld.”

“Great Falls is all about being outside, regardless of the season,” says Mayor Bob Kelly. “If you like to do anything outdoors, from hiking to hunting, snowmobiling to snowboarding, rodeo to road races, you need to visit us in Great Falls.”

From natural beauty to manmade fun, make plans to explore Great Falls, Montana’s best-kept secret. Download or request our visitor guide today.

Fort Benton; the birthplace of Montana

Fort Benton, the ‘Birthplace of Montana,’ offers visitors culture, history, and adventure along the Missouri River Breaks. Located just 40 minutes north of Great Falls, Fort Benton is the perfect day trip during your visit to Great Falls.

Fort Benton, as the birthplace of Montana, is rich in history. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition traversed the area. In 1846, Fort Benton was established as a trading post. In 1860, the first steamboat arrived, putting Fort Benton on the map as the world’s innermost port, quickly earning Fort Benton the reputation as the toughest town in the West. After the Civil War ended, a renewed focus on uniting the nation led to the building and naming of the storied Grand Union Hotel. This name symbolized the reunification of the nation, and the promise of the West as a place to start anew. Fort Benton boomed after Montana earned statehood, and in the 20th century, homesteaders, ranchers, and farmers developed the area.

Today, you can visit Fort Benton and breath in the past. You can feel history come alive, and you can see the dramatic views that only the Missouri River Breaks can offer. From Great Falls, leave in the morning to experience the dramatic beauty of a Big Sky sunrise. To the east, the sun will climb over the mountains, showering the wheat fields with a golden glow. Once you arrive in Fort Benton, explore the main street with a stop in the Grand Union. Nestled along the Missouri River, the dramatic views of the breaks will compel you to enjoy a cup of coffee and take in a stroll along the banks.

While in Fort Benton, visit the statue of the famed Shep, one of Fort Benton’s most beloved residents. 75 years ago, the people of Fort Benton mourned the loss of a humble sheepdog who stood vigil for 5 1/2 years after his master’s casket left by train. A mere month after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US declaration of war, the death and funeral of Old Shep became a catalyst for collective grief and mourning. Boy Scouts served as pallbearers, the Mayors of Fort Benton and Great Falls attended, a bugler sounded Taps, and thousands mourned. 50 years later in 1992, Fort Benton memorialized Old Shep with a bronze statue created by Bob Scriver.

Visit the famed fort that gave the town its name. The Historic fort was a vital port along the Missouri, as well as an active trading post. The original fort still stands and is a testament to the hardiness of the town site’s settlers.

For a fun excursion, follow either the CM Russell or Lewis and Clark open road tours for an adventure that will take you to Fort Benton and beyond, but bring you back to Great Falls in time for dinner, live music, and relaxing hospitality.

Fort Benton offers fun excursions for visitors of all ages, and on the drive back to Great Falls, you will have a new appreciation for the landscape of Central Montana, its history, and its people. Plan your stay stay in Great Falls Great Falls to experience this amazing place!

Have something to submit to the Genuine Montana Blog?

Click here to submit your content

Your Name

Your Email

Please describe what you are submitting

Attach your file here (jpg, png, gif, pdf, txt, doc, docx):

[mathcaptcha mathcaptcha-711]

By checking this box you agree to these terms.

Terms

Submission Disclaimer:

§ All photos, text, and other content or information submitted by you to the Great Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (“the CVB”) shall become the property of the CVB.

§ You understand that because the CVB becomes the owner of all photos, text, and other content or information submitted by you, the CVB and its officers, directors, employees, successors, and assigns may use, reproduce, edit, display, transmit, modify, publish, prepare derivative works of, and otherwise make use of the submitted photos, text, and other content or information in any and all media—whether now known or hereinafter created—throughout the world and for any purpose, without compensation to you of any kind.

§ By submitting any photo, text, or other content or information to the CVB, you hereby represent and warrant that the submitted photo, text, or other content or information does not infringe on any copyright or trademark, any rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party. You hereby represent and warrant that you have the right to transfer the photo, text, or other content or information to the CVB free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.

§ You acknowledge and agree that the CVB shall have no obligation to post, display, or otherwise make publicly available any photo, text, or content or other information submitted by you.

×