What to Expect When You Visit Montana in October: Weather, Open Attractions, Fall Foliage & More
If you’ve never considered visiting Montana in October, you’re missing out! October is just after peak season so there will be fewer crowds and lower prices. Plus, you’ll hopefully catch seeing some of Montana’s gorgeous fall colors.
Montana’s climate dictates what you’ll be able to do once you get there since not everything may be open. However, while traveling here in October will feel a bit different than a summer trip, you still won’t be disappointed.
What’s the Weather Like in Montana in October?
Montana is so large that the weather will depend on which region you’re visiting. Statewide, temperatures could hit highs of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and lows around 33 degrees Fahrenheit in October. If you’re visiting Yellowstone National Park, expect lower temperatures. Autumn is a bit early for snow in eastern Montana, but it’s still possible – definitely be prepared for some light precipitation! As for the mountain regions in western Montana, you may very well encounter snow in October – though usually it’s not prevalent enough to make it a good time to ski at one of Montana’s many ski resorts.
How Cheap are Flights to Montana in October?
Every destination in Montana will have different ticket prices, especially depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re planning a trip for October, though, you’re avoiding peak season. Typically, you can find cheaper flights to Montana in October than you would for an August trip, and you won’t get the holiday surcharge that often comes when booking a trip to Montana in November or December.
What’s Open at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks?
By now, many of Yellowstone National Park’s facilities have closed or will close as the month goes on. Canyon Lodge and Madison Campground close in mid-October, Old Faithful Lodge closes at the beginning of the month, and the other lodges are either already closed or not open until winter. If you’re up for a day hike, Yellowstone National Park is still worth visiting – the trails won’t be as crowded, so you can enjoy a more peaceful outdoor experience. And October is also a great time to do a scenic fall foliage drive through the park.
Glacier National Park has a reduced entrance fee during the autumn months since most lodges and concessions close by the end of September. Frontcountry and backcountry campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis. Be prepared for a camping experience without modern amenities – there’s no running water. Since animals are getting ready for winter, October is a great time to increase you chance of seeing bears at the park – remember to keep a safe distance from all wildlife in the parks and bring bear spray!
Other Things to Do in Montana in October
You can never go wrong by visiting Bozeman on your trip to Montana. Home to Montana State University, this town has plenty of attractions that cater to college students and visiting families. Plus, it’s one of the most popular places to live in Montana so you’ll find a thriving restaurant and bar scene. If you’re a sports fan, grab tickets to a college football or cross-country event.
Alternatively, to the west and near Montana’s other major university, you can spend time in Missoula and head over to the Missoula Maze, a fall attraction featuring a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and corn field maze. Missoula is about two and a half hours south of Glacier National Park and three hours away from Bozeman, and it’s a town worth visiting on its own, especially in October when the University District is awash in gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows as the leaves change color.
Beautiful October. Beautiful Montana.
Visiting Montana in October is ideal for those seeking cheaper plane tickets, fewer crowds, and outdoor experiences without the summer heat. For those who are intimidated by the lack of amenities at the parks, this is a great opportunity to visit the state’s college town and other beautiful communities.
You’ll be able to easily find a great part of Montana to visit in October; just be flexible with changing weather patterns and opening hours at attractions and you’ll be in for a wonderful time!