What to Expect in November When Traveling to Montana
Montana is sometimes overlooked as a trip destination in November, but it shouldn’t be. The state boasts national parks, fun college towns, and other bucket list-worthy attractions –many of which have their own special ambiance in November.
So yes, Montana’s peak tourist season may be in the summer, but there are still plenty of reasons to choose November when trying to figure out when to visit Montana.
What’s the Weather Like in Montana in November?
Despite the fact that Montana has varied climates due to its enormous size, you can expect cold weather just about anywhere in the state this month. As a whole, Montana sees average high temperatures of around 43 degrees Fahrenheit and could drop to an average low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yellowstone National Park tends to be even colder and if you head up into the mountains of Glacier Country, you’ll also no doubt find it to be colder.
In the lower elevations, you may see a few inches of snow on the ground during your visit (and more at higher elevations), so make sure you pack for your trip accordingly. Snow on the ground is more likely in western Montana than eastern Montana in November; eastern Montana doesn’t usually get snow that sticks until the end of December or beginning of January.
How Cheap are Flights to Montana in November?
Most people who visit Montana prefer to do so when all of the national parks’ amenities are open, so you’ll avoid traveling during the peak season if you fly in November. However, keep in mind that Thanksgiving is this month, sending college students and families on more flights than during a normal off-peak month. Ticket prices may be a bit higher than you’d expect if you wait too long to book them, so book early and try to avoid traveling during Thanksgiving.
What’s Open at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks?
Yellowstone National Park prepares for winter in November, so the only road that remains open is the one between Mammoth Hot Springs and one of its entrances. Winter lodges aren’t yet open, but summer lodges typically in September and October.
However, you can still camp at the Mammoth Campground, which is open year-round. Many companies offer tours, guided activities, and off-site lodging, so it’s worth calling around to see which ones operate in November.
Glacier National Park charges less for admission in November since most amenities aren’t open. Those looking to tackle the elements can try backcountry camping (permit required), but be warned: you won’t have access to running water or extra food, and you should be experienced in winter camping and avalanche awareness.
Taking a day trip to go hiking or wildlife viewing is fun year-round, so don’t knock an early winter Glacier National Park stop off of your itinerary just because you may not be comfortable with winter camping! There are plenty of places to stay near Glacier, such as Kalispell, Bigfork, and Whitefish.
Other Things to Do in Montana in November
You don’t need to visit a national park to spend time outside – there are plenty of things to do in Montana in early winter, including picturesque smaller lakes, parks, and hikes to be found throughout the state. For example, check out the Ringing Rocks of the Boulder Batholith, which ring when you hit them with a mallet.
If you’re going to be staying near Bozeman, the Museum of the Rockies should be high on your list of things to see. Operated by Montana State University, this museum houses dinosaur fossils and artifacts from throughout the state’s history. Plan to spend a couple of hours there – the dinosaur exhibit is fascinating!
Also, November is hunting season in Montana. If you’re a hunter, this makes November the prime time to visit Montana. If you’re not a hunter and you are visiting wildlife areas where hunting is allowed, be cognizant of that fact and wear bright colors and stay to well-trafficked trails and keep dogs close to you at all times (or just avoid these areas; this map outlines the hunting regions in Montana).
Montana in November Overall
Visiting Montana in November can come with higher plane ticket prices and colder weather, but that shouldn’t keep you from planning your trip. When you make the most out of this time in between seasons, you’ll find that the state has more to offer than you could have possibly imagined!