Montana, Home of the Old West!
Montana is the land of cowboys, Indians and mountains. Lots of mountains. Seventy-seven mountain ranges, including the Rockies, can be found in the state. The state’s name means “mountain” in Spanish.
This ruggedness contributes to its scenic beauty from Glacier National Park in the north to Yellowstone National Park in the south. Although only a small portion of Yellowstone is located in Montana, three of the five entrances to the park are in this state.
Montana has a rich mining heritage, since the lure of gold, copper and silver contributed to early economic development. Virginia City, on a state highway that connects Butte with West Yellowstone, provides a glimpse into the state’s past. Once a territorial capital, the city is pretty much a living history museum today, as most buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cowboys abound, from cattle ranches to dude ranches. Rodeos are a favourite summer activity throughout the state. Seven Indian reservations are located throughout the state, which is home to the Little Bighorn National Monument. The Indians’ triumphant moment, Custer’s Last Stand, is re-enacted annually on the anniversary of the 1876 battle. The battlefield is located in eastern Montana not too far from Hardin.
Fans of “Jurassic Park” won’t want to miss the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman: It has the largest collection of Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs in the world. The most well-known member of the museum staff is palaeontologist Jack Horner, who was the inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant in the “Jurassic Park” movies.
More history can be found at Deer Lodge, a town in western Montana just off Interstate 90. Take time to tour the old prison that served as Montana’s primary prison for 100 years. The prison building also contains an outstanding collection of old cars.