What to Expect When Traveling to Montana in July
There’s a reason why so many people visit Montana in July – it’s one of the hottest months of the year, the national parks are fully operational, and there are fewer college students in bigger cities.
If you’re wondering what to expect weather-wise, how expensive flights are, and the best things to do in July in Montana, then you’re in the right spot. We have the practical info and insider tips you need for traveling to Montana in July all right here. Plus, we’ve added info you need to know about the 2021 summer travel season in Montana since this year has some important updates for travelers, particularly if you’re traveling to the National Parks located in Montana.
If you’ve never visited the “Big Sky Country” state before, consider booking a summer trip to make hitting items on your bucket list easier!
What’s the Weather Like in Montana in July?
In Montana, it doesn’t get much hotter than it does in July (though August might give it a run for its money!). On average, temperatures reach a high of the mid-80 in Fahrenheit degrees during the day with milder nights that hover around 50 to 60 degrees. Those mountains and alpine climate can sure bring the temps down at night!
Humidity tends to stay below 40%, and you may experience some wind. All of this contributes to more tolerable weather for afternoon hikes and the possibility of wanting a light jacket to wear after the sun goes down.
Keep in mind the temperature can dramatically differ depending where you are in Montana in July. Western Montana is going to have cooler nights due to the mountains while eastern Montana can get even higher temps during the day and stays warmer at night. No matter where you are, though, humidity tends to stay low in Montana.
How Cheap are Flights to Montana in July?
You should expect to spend more on plane tickets to Montana in July than you would in the winter, especially during the week of Independence Day. To save money on your flight, avoid flying close to the 4th of July, be flexible with your travel dates, and be open to leaving from different airports.
2021 Travel Tip: If flying to Montana in July 2021, check for car rentals first if you’ll need one while visiting Montana! Travelers are finding an extreme car rental shortage in Montana this year. You may want to fly into Spokane, Washington instead of the typical flight to Bozeman for Glacier and Western Montana. Also look into Billings, Montana instead of Bozeman as you may get luckier finding car rentals there (but maybe not so double check first!). Also check with car dealerships for rentals if the typical Avis, Hertz, etc. car rental shops aren’t showing any available vehicles.
What’s Open at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in July?
In July, every lodge and campground is scheduled to be open at Yellowstone National Park. You’ll get to see plenty of wildlife on hikes through the park, but keep in mind that the trails may be crowded. After your hike, check out the hot springs, fishing holes, and ranger-led programs that the park has to offer.
2021 Travel Tip: Road construction is happening in summer 2021 along the route between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village in Yellowstone National Park and is expected to be closed all summer. Because of this, add some backtracking time into your itinerary for the park. Also expect some construction delays at the North Entrance and getting to and from Old Faithful.
Since summer is Glacier’s peak season with July historically being when Going-to-the-Sun Road finally opens after the snow removal is completed, you’ll want to book your Glacier National Park lodging far in advance. All lodges and motels in the park should be open by July, though any remaining snow might make the hiker chalets and campgrounds inaccessible still in early July – all depends on that winter’s weather.
As for things to do, most visitors will want to do the Going-to-the-Sun Drive and take in a few of Glacier National Park’s incredible hikes. There are also guided activities; see the park by raft, boat, or on horseback!
2021 Travel Tip: Glacier National Park is requiring a separate entrance ticket for Going-to-the-Sun Road this summer between the hours of 6am and 5pm from May 28 to September 6, 2021, in addition to the regular park pass due to expecting a record breaking number of visitors in summer 2021. The ticket sales open up for each date 60 days in advance with some held to be released two days in advance. Find out more here.
Other Things to Do in Montana in July
Of course, there’s more than just the national parks to entice your interest in July in Montana!
Montana Lake Life
If you love the lake life, July is an incredible time to go to esteemed Flathead Lake, a 200-square-mile lake that’s perfect for fishing, swimming, boating, and other watersports.
You can read our comprehensive guide to the best activities in Flathead Lake here.
July is also an excellent time to check out the many state parks located around Flathead Lake along its picturesque shores. You can get a day pass or book one of the campsites. Just do so early! Accommodation in the popular areas of Western Montana fill up very quickly.
Swan Lake is another great lake to visit in Western Montana. You can read read what we love about Swan Lake here.
Montana is home to some epic summer festivals. Some popular ones to check out in July are Under the Big Sky, a music and arts festival in Whitefish; Montana Folk Festival, a free music festival in Butte (not happening in 2021); and the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs.
Fourth of July in Montana
If it works into your schedule, don’t miss spending the 4th of July in one of Montana’s small towns. Many of the towns in Montana go all out for this holiday in the most charming of ways, with parades and community events and a fun, festive spirit.
Museums in Bozeman
If you want to escape the heat and aren’t by a lake, but are staying in or close to Bozeman (or need something to do before your flight from Bozeman Airport leaves), then you can check out some of its incredible museums and take advantage of the air conditioning!
Our favorite museum in Bozeman is the Museum of the Rockies. Don’t leave without seeing the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, home to an incredible collection of bones fossils, and other artifacts from that time.
If you’re into technology, check out the American Computer and Robotics Museum. This museum explores devices that are ancient, futuristic, and everything in between, and rotating exhibits means there’s always something new to see. You don’t have to spend all day in the sun if you don’t want to!
Here are city guides to some of our other favorite cities to visit in Montana in July:
Enjoy Montana in July!
When you visit Montana in July, you’ll have access to a wide range of Montana activities. Whether you’re visiting for the national parks or not, you won’t want to spend all of your time indoors here – the state’s weather and landscapes invite outdoor adventures in every region. Which part of the Montana will you visit first?