Best Montana Attraction: Makoshika State Park, readers say

World Museum of Mining, Beartooth Highway, C.M. Russell Museum and Glacier National Park in top five

Sprawled across a landscape of jagged peaks and expansive prairie set beneath big, blue skies, Montana easily deserves the nickname Treasure State. Many of the state's top attractions are of the natural variety, but Montana's American West heritage means there's cultural appeal as well, from the historic centers of Billings and Helena to the college town vibes of Missoula and Bozeman.

  • Yellowstone National Park
    Billings

    America's first national park is also one of its most iconic. Home to the world's largest collection of geysers, including the famous Old Faithful, Yellowstone attracts some 3 million visitors a year to its bizarre geological formations and teeming wildlife, including bison, bear, bighorn sheep, trumpeter swans, moose, elk and river otter.
    Photo courtesy of NPS/Neal Herbert

  • Flathead Lake

    Flathead Lake is a lake for adventure. Two rivers, the Flathead and Swan, spill into this body of water, which means whitewater rafting is a popular activity here. In fact, Flathead Lake is home to the Bigfork Whitewater Festival every Memorial Day. The 30-by-15-mile lake itself, created by Ice Age glaciers, is the biggest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. With 160 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of fishing, although the fishing charter companies are another way to go.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / MABroussard

  • Walkable Brewery District
    Billings

    Montana's only self-guided and walkable brewery tour is found in the town of Billings, where the Walkable Brewery District features six breweries and two distilleries, all within a compact downtown area. A 1.5-mile route past each business also includes historic points of interest along the way.
    Photo courtesy of Taubin / Flickr

  • Helena

    Born from a mid-1800s gold strike, Helena shows pride in its Western history. Visitors can explore the town on the Last Chance Tour Train and then stop at the Montana Historical Society’s Mackay Gallery for a memorable stroll through its large collection of Charles Russell art. The surrounding area is perfect for leisurely road trips and outdoor adventure in the Rocky Mountain foothills..
    Photo courtesy of Tracy / Flickr

  • Big Sky Resort
    Big Sky

    Situated amid high mountain meadows beneath the shadow of 11,166-foot Lone Mountain, scenic Big Sky is an outdoor playground year round, with largely lift line-free skiing in the winter and all forms of mountain adventure in the summer.
    Photo courtesy of Eric Moreno / Flickr

  • Glacier National Park

    Covering more than 1 million acres, Glacier National Park in Montana has something for everyone. Hikers come to explore the 700-mile network of trails. Road trippers and motorcyclists come to ride the curves of Going-to-the-Sun Road, and engineers come to marvel at it. The massive, snowy peaks of the Continental Divide hide azure alpine lakes, colorful patches of wildflowers and the occasional cascading waterfall.
    Photo courtesy of NPS / Jacob W. Frank

  • C.M. Russell Museum
    Great Falls

    One of the nation's largest collections of work by Charles M. Russell – spanning the years from his boyhood to his death – are on display within the five permanent galleries at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. The collection showcases daily life in the American West and the vast landscapes of the Montana wilderness.
    Photo courtesy of Roger W / Flickr

  • Beartooth Highway

    Starting in the town of Red Lodge, Montana, hair-curling Beartooth Highway – one of the most popular stretches of pavement in the Rocky Mountains –  takes drivers on a hair-curling 68-mile journey down into Wyoming and right to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Donnie Sexton

  • World Museum of Mining
    Butte

    The town of Butte was a hotbed of copper mining activity for a century, and today, that history comes to life inside the World Museum of Mining. Founded in 1963, the museum sits within the Orphan Girl mine yard where visitors can experience life in a mining camp or take an underground mine tour.
    Photo courtesy of James St. John / Flickr

  • Makoshika State Park
    Glendive

    Makoshika is the Lakota word for "bad land" or "bad spirits," but visitors will find immense beauty in these pine and juniper studded badlands of Montana's largest state park. A triceratops skull sits on display within the visitors center, and the 11,538 outdoor acres afford opportunity for hiking, biking, camping and even disc golf.
    Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Tbennert

The top 10 winners in the category Best Montana Attraction are as follows:

  1. Makoshika State Park - Glendive
  2. World Museum of Mining - Butte
  3. Beartooth Highway
  4. C.M. Russell Museum - Great Falls
  5. Glacier National Park
  6. Big Sky Resort - Big Sky
  7. Helena
  8. Walkable Brewery District - Billings
  9. Flathead Lake
  10. Yellowstone National Park

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Andy AustinLisa BallardDonnie Sexton and Carter G. Walker were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Montana.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Andy Austin

Andy Austin

Lisa Ballard

Lisa Ballard

Donnie Sexton

Donnie Sexton

Carter G. Walker