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Overview

There's a reason that Montana is called Big Sky Country. It's an enormous and dichotomous state, both mountain and prairie, artsy and rough-hewn, rural and urbanized. However, a sense of space and monumentality unites Montana. Eastern Montana is at the edge of the northern Great Plains, where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers drain fertile grasslands and rugged badlands. This is the land of cattle ranches, wheat farms, Wild West rodeos, dinosaur digs, and the epic clash of Custer and Sitting Bull. Western Montana is dominated by the Rocky Mountains, a broad band of forested peaks that stretch from Glacier National Park in the north to ...

There's a reason that Montana is called Big Sky Country. It's an enormous and dichotomous state, both mountain and prairie, artsy and rough-hewn, rural and urbanized. However, a sense of space and monumentality unites Montana. Eastern Montana is at the edge of the northern Great Plains, where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers drain fertile grasslands and rugged badlands. This is the land of cattle ranches, wheat farms, Wild West rodeos, dinosaur digs, and the epic clash of Custer and Sitting Bull. Western Montana is dominated by the Rocky Mountains, a broad band of forested peaks that stretch from Glacier National Park in the north to the gateways of Yellowstone National Park in the south.

The cities of Western Montana — Butte, Helena, Missoula, Bozeman — embody the region's early history and the modern chic of today's urban refugees. Outdoor recreation draws hikers, campers, and skiers, while the rivers are havens for rafters, anglers, and wily, hard-striking trout.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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