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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Montana in 2023

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Montana in 2023

If you’re seeking an immense, untainted wilderness, look no further than Montana. Because of its small population and abundance of animals, Montana really lives up to the phrase “vast, open spaces.”

The state is approximately 145,000 square miles, making it a large and attractive state. If you asked us to describe it, we’d use words like stunning, charming, and intriguing.

But while there’s certainly a lot to see and do, you need to know the best time to visit Montana in order to see all that this storied state has to offer. Let us be your guide!

The Overall Best Time to Visit Montana

Goose Island in Glacier National Park pictured during the best time to visit Montana with a gorgeous dusk shot


The overall best time to visit Montana is from June through August, when the days are long and pleasant.

The best time to go skiing is from December through March. Montana is a state known for its love of the great outdoors since the weather is perfect for getting out and having a good time.

It’s high season, so make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. In addition, even if the national parks are overcrowded, you may still find a quiet corner to reflect.

Best Time for Festivals

Countless festivals occur all year in Montana, although summer is the busiest season. If you’re thinking about taking a trip to one of these exciting events, book your hotels and camping places as soon as possible.

National parks, in particular, fill up very quickly.

Crowds are seldom an issue while visiting Montana for a specific event or festival outside of national parks. When more visitors visit the state’s largest cities and villages in the summer and winter, hotel costs go up.

Best Time for Sightseeing

The months of June through August, which are warmer, are the best months for traveling and touring since it is almost sure that all of the must-see sites will be open during this time, and the weather will be more pleasant.

Best Time for Shopping

All-year-round! If you plan on doing any shopping, you should know that most stores are open 365 days a year. However, if you want to err on the side of caution, you can consider going during the shoulder or off-peak seasons.

Cheapest Time to Visit Montana

Empty street of Whitefish with clouds over the mountain range during the least busy time to visit Montana


Shoulder seasons, which occur in the autumn and spring, are the greatest times to discover discounted rates on accommodations, and the weather is warmer than it is in the winter.

January is also a somewhat sluggish month, which means there is a greater likelihood of deals and discounts being offered. Additionally, traveling on a budget is easier during the low season, from April through June.

The mud season is what Montanans term the low season in other locations. Spring has arrived, bringing with it a plethora of stagnant water created by the melting snow. Off-roaders, 4WD enthusiasts, and car wash firms can all have fun during this time.

Businesses and tour companies take advantage of the low season to prepare for summertime, and many outdoor recreational sites conduct a soft opening before the influx of summer visitors.

Rainy weather is to be expected around this time of year, which may lead to slippery roads and less-than-impressive views. This is the time of year when they’ll be charging the lowest rates for hotels.

Least Busy Time to Visit Montana

Slender Asian woman holding her arms up over a lake in the mountains during the least busy time to visit Montana featuring fog in the valley

Jay Yuan/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Montana is during the shoulder season, which runs from September through November. Montanans like the shoulder season the most.

After all, tourists don’t go to Montana to escape the hustle and bustle. Summer crowds have generally dispersed, but it’s still nice to go out and explore the roads. Trails are open, and the weather is moderate.

This is the best time to visit Montana to see the state in its purest form. Additionally, October is when the leaves begin to change colors, with a dynamic shift towards red, yellow, and orange that competes with whatever New England offers.

However, there are drawbacks to consider as well.

Because schools have resumed their regular schedules, several establishments have had to let go of staff members. On the other hand, some of these establishments have taken advantage of the quiet period between summer and winter to carry out renovations.

Montana’s culture encourages a certain amount of self-reliance, even though service may be delayed and activities may be tougher to come by. It is also important to note that because of the unpredictability of Montana’s weather, it may rain in September, which may obscure the vistas.

Worst Time to Visit Montana

For a piece on the best time to visit Montana, Big Sky pictured with snow on the ground in the mountains


The worst time to visit Montana is from November until February due to the state’s notoriously harsh winter weather.

There are several cold fronts when the temperature drops significantly throughout the winter months. Mountain paths are closed in the season because of the extreme cold and the heavy snowfall (up to 300 in) that they accumulate.

Most prairie communities get between 762 and 1270 mm of snowfall during winter. In many regions of Montana, winter days barely get above freezing, but the Chinook winds bring little escape from the bitter cold.

In the winter, tourists may take advantage of off-season special deals and winter activities to entice them to come to the area. In December, temperatures in Montana typically vary from 25°F to 32°F for highs and a subzero -1°F to 21°F for lows.

On average, Glasgow and Havre City in the eastern part of the state see below-freezing temperatures of 7°F, while Kalispell and Libby in the western half get temperatures as high as 21°F.

In the mountains, snowfall is heavy and often exceeds 50 in, and precipitation typically takes the form of ice-cold showers.

Montana by Month: Climate & Activities

Glacier National Park looking gorgeous with purple flowers in the valley pictured during the best time to visit Montana


Still unsure about the best time to visit Montana? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


Winter temperatures in Montana range from -15 to -2°C (5-28°F). January is ideal for winter sports like skiing in Big Sky Resort or Whitefish Mountain Resort, snowmobiling in West Yellowstone, and experiencing the serene beauty of Glacier National Park covered in snow.


Similar to January, February in Montana maintains cold temperatures between -13 to -1°C (9-30°F). Visitors can enjoy ice fishing on frozen lakes, explore cross-country skiing trails, and attend winter festivals such as the Whitefish Winter Carnival.


As winter begins to wane, temperatures range from -10 to 5°C (14-41°F). March is perfect for dog sledding in Seeley Lake, soaking in hot springs in Bozeman, and wildlife watching in Yellowstone National Park.


Spring temperatures in Montana range from -4 to 12°C (25-54°F). It’s an ideal time for visiting Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, exploring the Bitterroot Valley, and witnessing the emergence of wildlife in Glacier National Park.


May sees temperatures ranging from 2 to 18°C (36-64°F). It’s a great month for hiking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, fly fishing in the Madison River, and experiencing the vibrant wildflowers in the Bitterroot Valley.


In June, summer arrives in Montana with temperatures between 8 to 24°C (46-75°F). This offers opportunities for whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River, exploring the Beartooth Highway, and attending the Montana Folk Festival in Butte.


July maintains warm temperatures from 11 to 29°C (52-84°F). It’s a popular month for camping in Glacier National Park, attending the Crow Fair Powwow, and enjoying outdoor concerts in Big Sky.


Temperatures in August range from 10 to 28°C (50-82°F). It’s an excellent time for hiking in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, fly fishing in the Yellowstone River, and attending the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs.


In September fall begins, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 22°C (41-72°F). September offers a pleasant transition, with opportunities for wildlife photography in the National Bison Range, exploring the Missouri River Breaks, and attending the Montana State Fair.


October sees temperatures ranging from -1 to 14°C (30-57°F). It’s a great month for witnessing the fall foliage in Flathead National Forest, fly fishing in the Blackfoot River, and enjoying the quieter atmosphere in Yellowstone National Park.


Fall temperatures range from -9 to 5°C (16-41°F). November is perfect for soaking in hot springs in Whitefish, cross-country skiing in Bozeman, and experiencing the tranquility of winter approaching.


Winter returns with temperatures ranging from -14 to 1°C (7-34°F). December brings opportunities for winter wildlife photography in the National Bison Range, skiing in Big Sky Resort, and enjoying festive holiday events throughout the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canoes on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park during the best time to visit Montana

Snehit Photo/Shutterstock

Suppose you and your family have been daydreaming about taking a trip to Montana. In that case, you should definitely check out some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Montana before leaving.

Is Montana a safe place to visit?

When traveling around the U.S., you should make it a point to stop in Montana since it is, without a doubt, one of the safest states there is.

You can anticipate having a pleasant and secure time no matter where you decide to go in this state, whether to check out the National Parks or one of the quaint little communities in the surrounding region.

What is the official language of Montana?

In 1995, Montana adopted English as the state and municipal government’s official language. Eighteen percent of the population of the U.S. over the age of five speaks a language other than English at home.

What is the ideal time to visit Montana?

The ideal months to explore Montana are between June and August (summer) and between December and March (winter) for the ski season.

What is the most visited place in Montana?

Because it houses the Montana State University and the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman is one of the most visited towns in Montana by tourists.

It acts as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Although the natural landscape is a significant appeal to Bozeman, there is also a considerable focus on the city’s history, art, and cultural traditions.

What makes Montana stand out from other states?

Only Montana has all three mountain ranges that make up the Triple Divide Peak. Three oceans get water from this location: the Hudson Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean.

Is it possible to view the Northern Lights in Montana?

Even though seeing the Northern Lights in Montana isn’t something that happens every day, the state is home to some of the best opportunities to see them. If you find yourself in the heart of Big Sky Country, you should keep your eyes peeled for the fabled aurora borealis.

How many days should you spend in Glacier National Park?

The ideal amount of time to spend at Glacier National Park is between two and three days. Plan accordingly. This will allow you to trek one or two routes, drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and explore all parts of the park.

Does Montana have any natural hot springs?

One of the very best ways to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Big Sky area is to visit one of Montana’s many hot springs.

This is a state that is famous for its harsh terrain and its lengthy winters. The state’s western portion is home to several commercial facilities that provide natural hot spring pools and hotel and dining choices.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Montana?

👍 Best Time to VisitJune-August
💲 Cheapest Time to VisitApril-June
🗓️ Least Busy Time to VisitSeptember-November
👎 Worst Time to VisitNovember-February

Summer, especially July and August, is the busiest travel season and the best time to visit Montana. The national parks are pretty popular and may be very congested.

So it’s good to book early since many hotels and campgrounds fill up. Crowds aren’t a problem outside of the parks, though, and you’ll discover plenty of wide-open landscapes with few people.