Bordered by Canada to the north, the Dakotas to the east, Idaho to the west and Wyoming to the south, Montana is the quintessential western state. With the third lowest population density in the United States, Montana still retains a charming rural character reminiscent of the old west. Montana is also the site of the infamous Battle of the Little Bighorn. As home to numerous other national parks and monuments, and with an endless amount of recreational activities, it’s easy to see why Montana is known as “the last best place.”
The Continental Divide runs from the northwest corner of the state to south central Montana. Montana contains dozens of named ranges in the Divide, including the Lewis Range, Bridger Mountains, Absaroka Mountains, and the Beartooth Mountains, which are mostly concentrated in the western part of the state. Other isolated island mountain ranges that lie east of the Divide include the Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, and the Snowy Mountains. In addition to being home to some of the finest ski resorts in the United States, Montana has great hunting throughout the state. Further east you’ll find lightly the lightly populated Northern Plains, with rolling tableland prairies, more island mountain ranges, and scenic badlands that extend into the Dakotas, Wyoming and Canada.
Montana’s rivers and streams are paradise for an angler. With rivers running to feed the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay, Montana is one of the few geographic areas in the world whose rivers go on to form parts of three major watersheds. Montana is home a large portion of Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park along with several other national and state parks. Montana is also home to over a half dozen American Indian reservations.
In fact, Montana has been the ancestral home of the Crow, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Assiniboine, Gros, Kootenai and Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kalispel tribes. The eastern portion of Montana was included in the Lousiana Purchase and the western portion of the state was acquired after the discovery of gold and copper in the 1850s. Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889.
Montana’s economy is primarily based on ranching, wheat farming, energy exploration, lumber, tourism, and hard rock mining. Millions of tourists annually visit to hunt, fish, ski, or to take in the beauty of Montana’s parks. The majority of Montana’s residents live in the Billings, Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, and Butte areas.