Great Falls’ wilderness is for the explorer in each of us – the very same wilderness that was explored on the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s. All you need is a good pair of boots or a bike and some time to get out there and see, hear, feel and experience all the natural beauty Montana has to offer.
Hiking in Montana is basically the dream you imagine it to be. Whether you’re looking for an easy afternoon hike, a challenging 3-day backpacking trip or anything in between, Montana is the place to unleash your adventurous spirit.
Getting on your bike and exploring the Big Sky on two wheels is another great way cover a lot of majestic ground. What are you waiting for? Grab your helmet and CamelBak and get out there.
If you’ve got a free few hours, there is great opportunity for hiking in and around Great Falls. Whether you prefer paved walkways, gravel trails or untouched wilderness, there’s a place near here for you.
River’s Edge Trail (in Great Falls): Located along the Missouri River, almost 60 miles of paved and singletrack trails allow you to explore Great Falls in it’s natural beauty. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, prairies, river canyons, waterfalls, reservoirs, and five hydroelectric dams as you stroll, jog, cycle or skate. The Ryan Dam Loop is a hiker’s favorite.
Giant Springs State Park (5-10 minute drive): Located just outside of Great Falls, the beautiful Giant Springs State Park is a favorite go-to for afternoon picnics, accessible fishing, and exploring nature. You can see both one of the largest natural springs in the country and the world’s shortest river – the Roe River – in the same place on a morning hike before work.
First Peoples Buffalo Jump (20 minute drive): Simultaneously a National Historic Landmark, Montana state park and a great location for the best view of the Montana plains you’ll ever see, First People’s Buffalo Jump is a great short hike for your Sunday afternoon.
Sluice Boxes State Park (45 minute drive): The primitive, unmaintained trails of the Sluice Boxes is the reason this area is an absolute favorite amongst hikers. There’s opportunity for various abilities to hike along remains of mines, a railroad, and historic cabins that line Belt Creek.
Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest (1-1.5 hour drive): Just a short drive away is a world of forest trails and dense flora and fauna. Grab your lunch and head to Paine Gulch or Memorial Falls, two popular hikes.
In the spirit of art and adventure, let us paint a picture for you: You wake up early and enjoy a cotton candy sunrise while sipping locally-roasted Morning Light coffee from your back porch. After pulling on your hiking boots and a few layers, you pick up a fresh açai bowl from Purple Gold Food Truck and drive to a picturesque place. You hike for a few hours, enjoying some of the best Montana views and eating lunch on the edge of a boulder before turning around to head home.
Packing your bags yet? With the location of Great Falls being center to all of Montana’s majestic beauty, a little longer drive gives you access to even more of our beautiful state than what’s in our immediate backyard.
Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (1.5-2 hour drive): Nicknamed “The Bob” by locals, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex contains more than 1.5 million acres of mostly-hikable land. One of the most preserved mountain ecosystems in the world, The Bob contains the kind of wilderness most people can only imagine.
Glacier National Park (2-3 hour drive): The names speak for themselves – both Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks consistently rank at the top of best and most beautiful of national parks in the US and the world. Just a little drive will get you to the front gates.
Yellowstone National Park (4 hour drive): The largest national park in the Lower 48, Yellowstone never disappoints. Some visit Yellowstone 100 different times and never see the same sight – you’ll just have to see for yourself!
Whether you’re a leisurely rider or a big-time racer, you’ll find bicycling in Great Falls surpasses your expectations. With wide roads like 4th Ave. N. built for bikers, an almost-60 mile long paved trail along the river and easy access to surrounding off-road trails, whatever you’re looking for, it’s not far if you’re living in Great Falls.
Read more about cycling in and around Great Falls on Visit Great Falls.
The key to a perfect hike is the perfect gear. (You know, besides the trails and scenic beauty, which abound.) Luckily, Great Falls has a variety of stores offering hand-picked gear for your perfect hike.Gear Up