Montana IS Big Sky Country: See Why at These Top Sites + Hidden Gems
Montana is known as the Big Sky State and you’ll often hear references to Big Sky Country when talking about Montana.
So what gives the United State’s fourth largest state this moniker?
Well, if you’ve been to Montana, you no doubt have noticed a distinct absence of big cities and tall skyscrapers.
Instead, you’ll find wide open spaces under uninhibited skies.
Head up to a top of a mountain peak and you’ll feel like you might truly be on top of the world and practically part of the sky yourself.
Don’t believe us?
Then you need to get yourself to one of these Big Sky Country sites asap to see for yourself what makes Montana such a special place to be. These are places in Montana that you won’t want to miss on your Montana vacation and at least one should be on your itinerary (if not more!).
Big Sky Resort
Let’s start with the area of Montana that uses Big Sky in its name: Big Sky Resort. Located an hour south of Bozeman, Big Sky Resort (often just referred to as Big Sky) is an adventure enthusiast’s playground with some of the best skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and alpine sledding in the country.
Combine that with the stunning views seen from the mountaintops with the Paradise Valley spreading out below under an often blue sky and the appeal of Big Sky Country becomes clear (it is after all one of the most famous ski resorts in the world!)
Read More: The Best Places to Ski in Montana
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Another mountain resort where the sky seems endless is Whitefish Mountain Resort. Located just thirty minutes from the west entrance of Glacier National Park, Whitefish Mountain Resort is home to snowy ski slopes in the winter and dirt trails in the summer.
Take the gondola to the top of the mountain for panoramic views that stretch down to Whitefish Lake in one direction and onto the peaks of Glacier National Park in the other direction.
Read More: The Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
It’s worth the park pass and crowds to go into Glacier National Park in the summer to do the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The only road that connect the east and west entrances of the park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is usually only open for roughly three months a year and the dates it opens and closes is completely dependent on the snowfall the previous winter and how quickly the snow can be safely plowed from the roads.
The pinnacle of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is Logan Pass, where you’ll definitely want to get out of the car (just be prepared for a bit of a parking headache if you’re there at the Glacier rush hour) for a closer, unobstructed view of the majestic peaks and the surrounding scenery.
Logan Pass is 6,647 feet above sea level, putting you right under that gorgeous sky that gives Montana its moniker.
Read More: Best Things to Do in Glacier National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Unlike Glacier National Park, which seems to be defined by is towering peaks slicing the skyline into jagged points, Yellowstone National Park is quite serene and full of many plains and valley where the buffalo do indeed roam and the sky is (sometimes) not cloudy all day.
If you’re looking for a drive to do under the Big Sky while in Yellowstone, drive through the Lamar Valley, which is in the northern part of the park and is easy to get to from the West Entrance. The Lamar Valley is especially known for its increased chance of wildlife sightings.
Read More: Top Things to See in Yellowstone
In Southeast Montana, about an hour east of Billings, you’ll find yourself in Treasure County, an area of Montana that is usually just seen from the highway on the way to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument or to Pompey’s Pillar.
While those historic sites are most definitely worth the visit, spend some extra time in Treasure County to see a different side of Big Sky County.
Treasure County is where our families roots are so it’s near and dear to our hearts here at Travel Montana Now.
But we think even strangers will get lost in its spell as you take a detour off I-94 through one of Treasure County’s small towns, which are surrounded by miles upon miles of agriculture; tall stalks of corn going back acres, golden fields of wheat swaying in the breeze, and beet crops dotting the brown earth in pops of green, as that glorious blue Montana sky looms gorgeously overhead.
Beartooth Highway up to the Big Sky
You’ll feel like you’re going right up into the sky on the Beartooth Highway, a stretch of paved switchbacks that take you from Red Lodge up to the top of the Beartooth Mountain Range and down to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. At the peak of the drive, you’ll be privy to jaw-dropping views of the Beartooth-Absaroka Mountain Range.
It’s an iconic way to get to Yellowstone if coming from Billings. The drive between Red Lodge and Yellowstone’s northeast entrance takes about two hours, but there are many hiking trails along the route so can definitely fill up a whole day if you decide to do a hike in Big Sky Country while driving the Beartooth Highway.
Stretching across southwest Montana, the Bitterroot Valley is punctuated by the Bitterroot Mountains to the west and the Rockies to the north while the valley itself is dotted with charming small towns that have a wester flair and are known for having burgeoning art communities.
Don’t miss seeing the towns of Hamilton and Darby, and a drive between the two towns will take you on a scenic drive through the Big Sky Country of Southwest Montana.
Big Sky Country is Waiting For You
Want more inspiration for traveling through Montana or just want to do some Big Sky Country dreaming? Like Beautiful Montana on Facebook where we share our favorite Montana images, quotes, videos, and more.
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