Deciding when to take your Montana vacation will have a lot to do with many factors, weather being just one thing to consider. The Montana seasons bring varied conditions that lend themselves to certain activities at certain times of the year. Winter is the season for skiing, for example, while summer is the ideal time to go hiking. In addition to considering weather when planning your Montana vacation, you might also look to coincide your trip with a specific event or festival. There are tons of fun Montana festivals and events that you can attend, and adding one or more to your itinerary will only extra depth to your trip.
Of the four Montana seasons, summer is the peak travel time. Not only is it
the ideal time of year for going hiking in places like Glacier
National Park, but it's also the best time to enjoy some Montana
golf, fishing, camping,
and wildlife viewing.
Summer days in Montana are warm, while the nights are usually rather cool, so
you'll want to bring some extra layers even during the summer months. Average
summertime temperatures in Montana tend to hover between 79 and 89 degrees during
the day, and once the sun goes down, the average temperature can range from
38 degrees to 60 degrees. The southwestern part of the state generally enjoys
a milder climate than the rest of the state, so the night's might not be as
cool. If weather in the Rocky Mountains
is anything, it's fickle. It can change on a dime, so being prepared for just
about anything at any time is a good idea.
Winter is one of the best Montana seasons when it comes to travel due to the
fact that the skiing here is about as good as skiing gets. Resorts
like Big Sky and the Whitefish Mountain Resort are in full swing during the
winter months, and while scores of skiers and snowboarders come to enjoy the
slopes, you can still expect the lift lines to be either short or nonexistent.
While winter is one of the more glorious Montana seasons, it can get quite cold
in "Big Sky Country." In January, single-degree temperatures are not uncommon
in the Montana mountains.
Butte can get especially cold,
as can other areas, so proper attire is required. In addition to cold temperatures,
winter in Montana can bring strong winds and heavy snowfalls. When renting a
car in the winter in Montana, it's best to go with a 4x4 vehicle when possible.
Should you plan on driving quite a bit during the winters here, bringing extra
food, water, and flashlight batteries is always recommended. You would also
be wise to take sleeping bags along for the trip, not to mention other kinds
of safety gear and equipment.
While winter is a good time to travel to Montana if you like skiing or snowmobiling, it's not a good time to visit the state's national parks. Only the North Entrance at Yellowstone National Park is open during the winter months, and as for Glacier National Park, road access is extremely limited. If you can arrange to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in Glacier National Park in the winter, you'll all but have the park to yourself. At least it will seem that way. As for the other Montana seasons, they have their positives and negatives as well. Spring and fall are the shoulder seasons here, so if you're looking to save some money on travel costs, you can travel to Montana during these seasons. Budding wildflowers abound during the spring and fall in Montana, though it could be argued that these seasons really don't exist at all. Spring is exceedingly short in Montana, as it remains chilly and both rain and snow are prone to fall. In the fall, the clear days and calm winds can make for some excellent sightseeing. The weather can change dramatically in the fall, however, and snow is possible in the higher altitudes, so that's something to consider.
A Montana vacation is a welcome thing regardless of the time of year, but if you really want to enjoy a full list of outdoor activities, then you should stick to the summers. Unfortunately, deciding when to travel to Montana can revolve around little more than when you can manage to get time off of work. Should you have the freedom to choose the time of the year for your trip to Montana, deciding what you want to do and what you want to see before sealing your plans is the way to go. Should you have the opportunity to enjoy more than one trip to Montana, all the better!