Resting on the high plains along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front Range, Great Falls is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Sun Rivers. Great Falls is Montana’s third largest city, at approximately 60,000 residents. It is also the home of Malmstrom Air Force Base, the center of our nation’s first Minuteman Missile Complex.
Great Falls has a rich history, yet strives to appeal to modern interests. You can find contemporary art at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, named for the founder of Great Falls, catch a Pioneer League baseball game with the Voyagers, or visit one of the three local microbreweries. The convenient central location also creates a splendid excuse for a road trip!
Coming from the south? Visit Yellowstone! Rise early and you can hike the Beaver Ponds Loop at Mammoth Hot Springs and still make it to the Wednesday evening reception. The drive is less than six hours. If you’re not up with the sun, you can enjoy a leisurely scenic drive through the Little Belt Mountains southeast of Great Falls, stopping to stretch your legs on the short walk to Memorial Falls.
If you are following Lewis and Clark from the east don’t miss the Highwood Mountains. This volcanic range lies about 30 miles east of Great Falls. It features fabulous day hikes and offers sweeping vistas out across the plains. Farther east is historic Fort Benton, the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument, and the Bear Paw Battlefield unit of the Nez Perce National Historic Park.
Planners coming from the west have the option of swinging north to Glacier National Park, where they drive the spectacular Going to the Sun Highway and find numerous trails, or of visiting Montana’s capitol city, Helena with its unique Last Chance Gulch downtown. It takes less than four hours to get into Great Falls from Glacier, less than two from Helena.
There is much more to see and do on the road to Great Falls! Beyond, Calgary and the national parks of the Canadian Rockies are not far.