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55 Fun Facts About Montana 

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Are you curious about Montana, its rich history, and its beautiful geography? Well, I’ve got some exciting fun facts about Montana for you!

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Fun Facts About Montana

All that glitters is probably gold, if we’re talking about Montana, the Treasure State of the US! Located in the American West, the state is famous for its gold mining history, being a part of the “Wild West”, and also for its majestic landscapes. 

Read on to learn the fun facts about Montana in detail!

1. Montana Has the First National Park in the World

You’ll find the world’s first national park in Montana. Yes, I am talking about the world-famous Yellowstone National Park!

Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872, by US President Ulysses S. Grant, and is spread across almost 9,000 square kilometres. 

However, Montana only covers 3% of Yellowstone National Park, whereas the majority of it is in Wyoming. You’ll find two entrances in Montana for the national park – Yellowstone’s North Entrance and Yellowstone’s West Entrance.

Fun Facts About Montana

2. Montana Is the “The Last Best Place”

Montana has many unofficial nicknames, including “The Last Best Place”. The origin of this nickname is pretty much unknown. 

However, many people believe that its wild and uninhabited regions are the only remaining ones amidst a constantly developing world. 

You’ll also see a book by the same name “The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology, written by William Kittredge. 

3. Montana Has the Shortest River in the World

Everybody knows that the Nile is the longest river in the world. Yet, the shortest one is situated in Montana.

The Roe River has a length of just 201 feet. It flows between Giant Springs and the Missouri River near Great Falls city of Cascade County in Montana. 

The Guinness Book of World Records also considered it the world’s shortest river until Guinness removed the category.

4. Montana Has the Longest Undammed River in The US

Several rivers in the US have had dams constructed on them. There are a few which still remain undammed.

For instance, Montana is home to the longest undammed river in the US, the Yellowstone River. It has a length of 1,114 kilometres and starts from the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and then flows towards Montana. Throughout its course, there are no dams built on the river!

5. The Capital of Montana Is Helena

Here is one of the basic fun facts about Montana.

Helena, the sixth-largest city of Montana, has been declared as the state’s capital since 1875. It has a small population of 33,120 residents.

6. Billings Is the Largest City in Montana

You may wonder if Montana’s capital is a small city, which one is the largest? 

Billings is a part of Yellowstone County, the largest county in Montana. It is also the largest city with a population of 119,960 people and an annual growth rate of 0.36%. Many people call Billings the “Magic City” because of its massive development.

Billings also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, like the MontanaFair, Artwalk and Music Festival, and SummerFair.

The second-largest city in Montana is Missoula with a population of 76,599, whereas the third-largest is Great Falls with 60,369 residents.

7. The Nickname of Montana Is Treasure State

Here’s another one of the nickname-related facts about Montana.

Montana is often called the “Treasure State” because of its rich natural resources, like gold, silver, and copper. It also has many gemstones like jasper, topaz, garnet, wonderstone, rhodonite, and tourmaline.

Apart from the usual minerals, Montana has the Stillwater Mine, which is the only palladium mine in the US.

8. Beaver Creek Park in Montana Is Huge

Beaver Creek Park, located in Hill County, Montana, is one of the largest parks in the US, with an area of more than 10,000 acres

You can do several recreational activities here, including hiking, picnicking, camping, bird-watching, boating, and many more. The park has a fee of $10 for camping and $55 for an annual pass.

9. Montana Has the “Richest Hill on Earth”

Let’s get into one of the lesser-known fun facts about Montana.

Butte, a consolidated city-county, in Silver Bow County, Montana was a major mining town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It had 48 billion worth of deposits of copper, silver, and other valuable minerals! Hence, it got the title of the “Richest Hill on Earth”.

Unfortunately, you won’t find much in the city today, and it’s far from looking like the richest place

10. Montana Is Called Big Sky Country

Are you into stargazing? If so, you need to know these fun facts about Montana!

Montana isn’t as urbanised as the other US states and has many empty lands. In fact, you’ll find plenty of open areas and vast fields, from where you can gaze at the uninterrupted skies. Because of this reason, people started calling Montana the “Big Sky Country”.

There are numerous places for stargazing too, like the Apgar Lookout, Dusty Star Dome, Avalanche Lake, Beartooth Highway, and many more.

11. Triple Divide Peak Melts Its Snow Into Three Oceans

Triple Divide Peak is a mountain located in the Glacier National Park in Montana. It is known for melting its snow into three different water bodies!

The snow that melts in the northern Triple Divide Peak drains into Hudson Bay, in Canada, which further drains into the Atlantic Ocean.

Then, the ice near the southwestern slope melts and flows into the Pacific Ocean, whereas the one from the eastern side drains into the Gulf of Mexico, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean.

12. Montana Is a Spanish Name

Let’s discuss some naming-related fun facts about Montana.

The name “Montana” is derived from the Spanish word  for “mountain” or “mountainous.” 

The early Spanish explorers named the whole West “Montaña del Norte” because of the abundant mountain ranges in the area!

The Montana Folk Festival, an outdoor music festival, is organised annually in Butte, Montana, around July. It takes place for three days. 

During the festival, you can enjoy live music performances of various music genres, like blues, jazz, contemporary music, and more. The festival also has fun traditional dances and displays of beautiful art!

14. Montana Has the Most Golden Eagles in The US

Montana boasts the largest recorded population of golden eagles, with over 13,138 of them! These eagles are magnificent and require clear and vast areas for their flight. As Montana has many such open spaces, golden eagles are found abundantly.

After Montana, Wyoming is ranked second for the most number of golden eagles (10,072). Colorado and Utah also have huge populations, with 7,081 and 5,993 golden eagles, respectively.

15. The Missouri River Actually Starts in Montana

This is one of the truly ironic fun facts about Montana.

When you hear the word “Missouri River”, you might think that it originates in Missouri. However, this is false as it actually starts in Montana!

Missouri River’s source is located at Brower’s Spring, which is in the Centennial Mountains of southwestern Montana. It is situated at a height of 9,100 feet and is a confluence of three rivers – Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin.

16. Granite Peak Is the Highest Point in Montana

Montana is filled with hundreds of mountains. The Granite Peak, a part of the Beartooth Mountains range, is the highest point in Montana with an elevation of 12,807 feet.

17. Montana Was the First US state to Elect a Woman to Congress

Do you want to know some empowering fun facts about Montana? 

In 1916, Jeannette Rankin, a Republican hailing from Missoula County in Montana, got elected to the US House of Representatives. It turns out that Montana was the first US state to elect a woman to Congress. 

18. The Grizzly Bear Is Montana’s State Animal

On April 7, 1983, Governor Ted Schwinden signed a law that declared the grizzly bear as Montana’s official animal. The funny thing is that he wore a grizzly bear cap while signing it!

19. Montana has a State Fossil!

Forget about an official state bird or fruit, Montana also has its own state fossil.

The Maiasaura was a duck-billed dinosaur that lived approximately 76 to 80 million years ago. It was declared the state’s fossil in 1985.

A fun fact about Maiasaura is that its name means “good mother lizard”.

20. Montana Has Many Diverse Animal Species

These fun facts about Montana are for wildlife lovers.

Since Montana has many mountains and forests, you’ll find over 100 species of mammals. The common animals of Montana are black bears, grey wolves, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, and mule deer. 

21. Montana Is a Landlocked State

If you look at the US map, you’ll notice that Montana is located towards the west. 

Montana is surrounded by Canada (north), Idaho (west), Wyoming (south), North Dakota (east), and South Dakota (southeast). It doesn’t have any coastline along an ocean or a sea. As a result, it is a landlocked state.

22. Montana’s Old Capital Is Now a Ghost Town

Here is one of the interesting fun facts about Montana. 

Bannack, a town in Beaverhead County in Montana, used to be populated after gold was discovered in the nearby regions. Founded in 1862, it was also considered the state’s capital. 

However, as the gold mines ran dry, the local residents shifted to other towns, which caused Bannack to turn into a ghost town. Today, it only has a population of twelve residents.

Fun Facts About Montana

23. The Motto of Montana Translates to Gold and Silver

Each US state has its own motto. So, let’s dig into some fun facts about Montana and its motto. 

Montana’s state slogan or motto is a Spanish phrase, “Oro y Plata”. It translates to “Gold and Silver”, and represents the state’s rich mining history during the 19th century.

24. Montana Shares Borders With Three Canadian Provinces

There are around 13 US states that share borders with Canada. Montana is the only one to share borders with three Canadian provinces. It has 14 Canadian border crossings with Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan provinces. 

These borders have a total length of 877 kilometres. Therefore, Montana has one of the longest international borders between a US state and a Canadian province. 

25. People First Lived in Montana Around 12000 Years Ago

Montana may seem like a new state. Yet, the region has been inhabited for millennia!

Archaeologists believe that the indigenous people lived in present-day Montana 12,000 years ago. 

In fact, they also unearthed the oldest dated human burial site in North America near Wilsall, Montana, in 1968. Today, the site is referred to as the Anzick burial site as the discovery land was privately owned by the Anzick family.

26. A City in Montana Is Known as the “Cow Capital of the World”

Let’s talk about some Moo-nique fun facts about Montana.

Miles City in Custer County of Montana is considered the “Cow Capital of the World”. The city has an extensive history of cattle ranching and livestock-related activities that date back to the 19th century!

27. Cream of the West Is Montana’s Special Oatmeal

Montana has its own oatmeal company, the Cream of the West. The brand was founded in 1914. Hence, it has been serving delicious cereals and oatmeal to Montana residents for over 100 years now!

Presently, Cream of the West’s headquarters is located in Harlowton, Montana.

28. Montana Is Famous for Fly Fishing

If you love fly fishing, then these fun facts about Montana are enough to get you excited.

Montana is considered one of the best places for fly fishing. The Yellowstone River is the best fly fishing location. It has a huge number of Yellowstone cutthroat trout, wild rainbow, and brown trout!

You can also try your hand at fly fishing at the Missouri River, as it has over 5000 trout per mile and the Madison River.

Fun Facts About Montana

29. You Can Fit Six US states in Montana

Let’s get into some area-related fun facts about Montana. 

Montana is considered the fourth-largest state in the US with a vast area of 376,978 square kilometres. Hence, you can fit six smaller U.S. states, within Montana. 

These are Rhode Island (3,144 square kilometres), Delaware (5,047), New Jersey (22,591), Connecticut (14,357), New Hampshire (24,214), and Vermont (24,906).

30. Montana Has a Small Population

Here is one of the surprising fun facts about Montana. 

Despite its large area, Montana is a pretty small state, with a population of just 1,122,867 people. This is mainly because most areas in Montana are mountainous and rugged. Therefore, living there can get pretty tedious. 

31. Montana Had Many Gold Deposits

Here are some of the golden fun facts about Montana!

Montana’s history is well-connected with the discovery of gold in the region. In 1858, the first gold reserves were discovered at Gold Creek near Drummond, Montana.

Later, gold was discovered in many other locations like the Bannack, Anaconda, Butte, Elkhorn, etc. in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

32. Jordan, Montana Is a Very Remote Town

Montana has many tiny towns and cities. Out of these, Jordan is also one of the most remote towns, situated in eastern Montana, in Garfield County. 

The town also has a sparse population of around 356 residents (2020). The majority of its area is full of rough and barren terrain. However, it has gained popularity due to the fossil beds found here.

33. Montana Has Eight National Parks

These fun facts about Montana prove that the state is blessed with nature and diverse history! 

These eight national parks are: 

  • Glacier National Park
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Big Hole National Battlefield
  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

The Big Hole National Battlefield and Nez Perce National Historical Park represent the historical sites of Montana. 

If you want to explore the sheer wild beauty of Montana, you can visit the Glacier National Park and the Yellowstone National Park. These parks are full of heavenly mountain peaks and lakes.

In 2020, the state earned over $618.9 million due to the tourism generated through these parks!

34. Montana Has the Most Bookstores per Capita

As a book lover, these fun facts about Montana were pretty impressive!

Note that California has the most number of bookstores (605). Yet, if we talk about most bookstores per capita, it is Montana!

A study conducted in 2012 showed that the state had 64 bookstores for a population of around one million. Therefore, there was one bookstore for around 16,000 people.

35. Bitterroot Is the State Flower of Montana

Do you want to know some interesting flower-related fun facts about Montana?

Montana has more than 1,680 flower species because of its mountainous terrain and suitable climate. You’ll find flowers like Wyoming Locoweed, Cinquefoil, Larkspur, Purple Loosestrife, Lupine, Gordon’s Ivesia, and many more. 

However, when it comes to being the state flower, Bitterroot is the one! In 1893, Montana became one of the states to adopt an official flower. 

Bitterroot has a huge cultural significance in the Native American community, which is one of the reasons why it became the state’s official flower.

Fun Facts About Montana

36. Montana Does Not Have a State Sales Tax

Let’s get into some economy-related facts about Montana. 

The state is one of the five US states (Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Oregon) without a sales tax. 

As the name suggests, the sales tax is levied on the sale or lease of any services or goods. Despite this, you might have to pay tax for lodging expenses or car rentals in Montana.

Montana also has other taxes, like the income tax (between 1% and 6.75%) and property taxes.

37. Loma, Montana Had the Most Dramatic Temperature Change Within 24 Hours

Here is one of the not-so-fun fun facts about Montana. 

Global warming is on a constant rise, and many places are seeing dramatic temperature changes.

One of the most dramatic temperature changes in just 24 hours was observed by Loma town in Chouteau County, from January 14th to January 15th. The temperature went from -54 degrees Fahrenheit to 49 degrees Fahrenheit!

The reason behind this massive temperature shift is the Chinook wind event. Chinook is a type of warm and dry wind that passes through the Rocky Mountains.

38. They Found Dinosaur Eggs in Montana

We have all been crazy about dinosaurs after watching Jurassic Park! Guess what, Montana is one of the places with some astonishing dinosaur finds. 

The palaeontologists at the Museum of the Rockies discovered the world’s first dinosaur embryos on September 14, 1983. These were found at Egg Mountain (hence, the name!), situated near Choteau town.

Apart from just dinosaur embryos, baby skeletons and adult dinosaur skeletons were also found here.

39. Montana Has More Cattle Than People

Do you want to hear some hilarious fun facts about Montana? Well, here it goes!

The state is popular for having more cattle, owing to its vast expanse of fields, compared to people. As of 2023, there are 2,550,000 cattle and 1,015,165 humans in Montana. Therefore, the ratio of cattle to humans in Montana is 2.51.

Apart from Montana, states like South Dakota (4.32 ratio) and Nebraska (3.29 ratio), also have a huge population of cattle over humans.

40. The Pasty Is a Famous Dish of Montana

If you are a foodie, here are some fun facts about Montana for you.

Montana has its own local staple dish, known as pasty. It is a type of savoury pastry with a delicious filling of meat and vegetables. You can consider it a type of meat pie too! 

If you want to cook it in an authentic Montana manner, you’ll have to cook it over the fire without a dish.

41. Montana Had the Largest-Ever Recorded Snowflake

Since I was a kid, I have always been intrigued by snowflakes and their intricate designs. Hence, this was one of my favourite fun facts about Montana. 

The state recorded the largest snowflake, which was around 15 inches and 38 centimetres wide and 8 inches and 20 centimetres thick, at Fort Keogh, in 1887. 

Ranch owner, Matt Coleman, mentioned how the snowflake was larger than a milk pan!

42. There Are 56 Counties in Montana

Here is one of the general fun facts about Montana. 

The state has around 56 counties and is ranked as the 28th state with the most number of countries. 

Now, the biggest counties in Montana are Yellowstone County (169,852 residents), Gallatin County (124,857), Missoula County (121,041), Flathead County (111,814), and Cascade County (84,864). 

The smallest ones include Treasure County (758) and Petroleum County (524).

Are you a fan of burgers? Then, you should know these fun facts about Montana!

Montana has a huge population of bison. Hence, it is no surprise that you’ll even find bison burgers in the state. These burgers have a lean consistency and are super juicy. The best part is that you’ll find them in restaurants instead of just the fast food joints. 

If you want to try out bison burgers, pay a visit to some famous places like Ted’s Montana Grill and Backcountry Burger Bar.

Fun Facts About Montana

44. Gary Cooper Was from Montana 

Here is one of the fun facts about Montana related to Gary Cooper. 

Gary Cooper was one of the most iconic Hollywood actors. He has also won two Oscars for his movies “Sergeant York” (1941) and “High Noon” (1952). 

Gary was born in May 1901, in Helena, the capital city of Montana. Additionally, he did his schooling at Helena High School and Gallatin County High School. 

45. Montana’s State Flag Holds a Lot of Details

Let’s talk about some flag-related fun facts about Montana.

Each US state’s flag depicts the history and geography of the region. Similarly, Montana’s state flag consists of a pick, a shovel, and a plough, representing the state’s farming and mining industries.

It also shows a sun rising from the mountains and various forests. This depicts the state’s splendid natural beauty. 

46. The Rocky Mountain Region Covers Two-Fifth of Montana

The Rocky Mountains are a significant part of Montana’s geography. This American mountain range covers two-fifths of regions in the West of Montana. Out of the 50 prominent peaks of the Rocky Mountains, you can find 12 of them in Montana. 

Some of the major mountains in Montana, which are also a part of the Rocky Range include – the Absaroka Range (Park County), Beartooth Mountains (Park County), Big Horn Mountains (Big Horn County), Cabinet Mountains (Sanders County), and Elkhorn Mountains (Jefferson County).

47. Montana Is a Remnant of the Wild West Era

You may have seen the portrayal of cowboys and ranches in many movies and books! If so, here are some related fun facts about Montana. 

The Western portions of the US went through a period of lawlessness during the 19th century. Hence, this era is also known as the “Wild West”. 

Many regions in the West US were inhabited during this time, including present-day Montana, Oregon, and Texas.

The Wild West period has a significant influence on Montana. You’ll get to see numerous ranches, the whole Cowboy culture, and mining towns. They also have cultural events that showcase the region’s Wild West history.

48. The Founder of CNN is from Montana 

Here are some fun facts about Montana and its famous people. 

You may have heard of CNN (Cable News Network), a multinational news channel. However, did you know that Montana had a role to play in its creation too? 

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and a successful entrepreneur, was born in Ohio. Yet, he got the idea of starting CNN when he was in Montana. Today, he is one of the largest landowners in Montana as he owns 148,870 acres!

49. A Lot of Bisons Are Hunted in Montana

Apart from all the fun facts about Montana, there are a few sad ones too. 

Montana observes a bison hunting season every year between the months of September and November. However, non-residents aren’t allowed to hunt bison. 

The hunting regions include the Absaroka-Beartooth in Gallatin National Forest, the Gardiner Basin, and the National Forest area in West Yellowstone.

Around April 2023, 1150 bison were hunted and killed in the Yellowstone region. This was done to prevent the spread of diseases from bison to the livestock.

50. Montana Has the Lolo Hot Springs 

If you love hot springs, these fun facts about Montana are for you! 

Montana is home to the relaxing Lolo Hot Springs. It is a type of natural geothermal hot springs resort located in Missoula County. 

Built in the middle of the Lolo Forest, the resort is spread across an area of 125 acres. You’ll find many hot springs here surrounded by breathtaking alpine trees.

Hence, if you want to get away from your daily hectic routine, Montana is just the right place for you.

51. Missoula Is a Really Scenic City

Don’t miss these fun facts about Montana, if you’re planning to visit the state. 

Missoula, located in Western Montana, is one of the most scenic cities in the state. It is covered by magnificent mountains, like the Bitterroot Mountains and the Missoula Range. 

Moreover, the Clark Fork River passes through the city, which makes it the perfect spot for fishing and kayaking. You can also visit art galleries like the 

Radius Gallery and the Dana Gallery.

If you look at the pictures of the town, you’d feel like it is straight out of a Hallmark movie!

52. Ponderosa Pine Is Montana’s State Tree

Here are some fun facts about Montana and its state tree.

It is estimated that Montana has more than 6 billion trees! Now, the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) was given the title of being Montana’s official state tree in 1949. 

Ponderosa Pine is an evergreen tree with a height of 35 to 45 feet, reddish-brown bark, and long needle-like leaves. It is mainly used for making furniture, but Native Americans used it as a food source too.

53. Montana Has One of the Largest Freshwater Lakes in The US

Do you love reading about rivers? If so, here are some fun facts about Montana for you. 

The Flathead Lake situated in northwest Montana is one of the largest freshwater lakes with an area of 510 square kilometres. Out of almost 100 lakes in the US, Flathead Lake is ranked 30.

The location of the lake is pretty unique, as it is located in a depression, known as the Rocky Mountain Trench.

54. There is a Significant Number of Native Americans in Montana 

This is one of the unique fun facts about Montana. 

The majority of Montana’s population consists of White people (85.7%). The other races that you’ll find in the state are Hispanics (4.2%), Blacks (0.5%), and Asians (1%).

Now, the second most popular race in the state is Native American as it comprises 6% of the state’s total population. The Native American tribes of Montana include Cheyenne, Crow people, Nez Perce, Ojibwe, Shoshone, etc..

55. The Western Meadowlark Is Montana’s State Bird

Here are some of the bird-related fun facts about Montana. 

As of 2021, Montana has over 442 bird species. Some of the common ones include the American Robin, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, House Finch, and many more. 

Out of all these species, the Western Meadowlark was named Montana’s state bird in March 1931. Apart from Montana, this bird is also the state bird for five other states – Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oregon. 

The Western Meadowlark is well-known for its melodious chirping and singing. 

Further Reading – Fun Facts About Montana

Montana is truly a sight for sore eyes! If you look at its images, I’m sure that you’ll be filled with a major yearning to pack your bags and teleport to its picturesque locations. 

However, for now, I hope these fun facts about Montana helped you gain more information about one of the parts of the Wild West. 

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