Looking to take a walk on the wild side? There's no better place to experience some truly untamed wildlife and wilderness than Montana! With large stretches of land set aside to protect endangered species and save natural habitats, Montana is a great place to really get away from it all and experience your own wild side. Plus, there’s no better way to experience spring in Montana: cute baby animals, wildflowers galore, and a chance to celebrate the end of winter back out in nature! Here are some of the state's wildest locales for finding nature!
Three units make up this refuge in central Montana: War Horse Lake, Wild Horse Lake, and Yellow Water Reservoir. While War Horse is best known for its population of waterfowl and migratory birds such as sage grouse, peregrine falcons and long-billed curlews. You can also find elk, which were brought to the refuge from Yellowstone after moving away from the region, black-tailed prairie dog colonies, and wild ferrets, which were re-introduced to the refuge in 1993. Hunting and fishing are allowed here. Anglers will love the rainbow-trout stocked lakes!
This is one of the oldest National Wildlife Refuges in the country. It was established in 1908, and it's been working to preserve herds of American buffalo ever since. A herd of between 350 and 500 beasts roves across the 18,000 acres-- a far cry from the tens of millions of bison that once roamed across the US and Canada, but considering that they were nearly extinct in 1890, it's a vast improvement. There's a visitor center where you can learn about bison and the NBR's efforts to save them. Cruise along the two scenic routes that take you right to prime buffalo-viewing areas, because no trip to Montana is complete without seeing one of the furry creatures! Pro tip: this place is beautiful in the spring and summer, but it’s truly stunning covered in snow during the winter.
"The Bob," as locals fondly call it, is one of the most rugged and untouched regions in Montana. You won't find any roads through the wilderness; you have to hoof it on foot or on horseback (even bikes and hang gliders are banned) but it's worth the trek through the dense, old-growth forest for the hunting and untouched mountain scenery. Don't be surprised if you meet some of the residents of the wilderness as you explore: elk, bears, mountain lions, wolverines, bighorn sheep, bald eagles and more populate the Wilderness. And if, like me, you were wondering who this Bob Marshall fellow is, he's a co-founder of The Wilderness Society (which explains a lot, actually!)
Glacier-topped mountain peaks and swooping, forested valleys make up this Montana wilderness. The water is among the purest in the lower 48 states, and permanent snowfields can be found tucked away among the Rocky Mountains even in the middle of summer. Follow along some of the 94 miles of trails and see where you wind up. You might discover a cold, clear alpine lake or find yourself atop a high, rocky basin. Wolves, moose, black and grizzly bears, mountain lions and more live here as well, so make sure to be properly bear aware with bear-proof canisters for food storage and bear spray for safety. You're in their territory, after all!
Birds love this Southwestern Montana Wildlife Refuge! Two hundred thirty-five species of bird have been spotted in the refuge, and 100 of those nest in the refuge. The park itself is a lovely combination of woodland and wetland, making it ideal for avid birdwatchers, and it also means that each season here provides a different landscape and set of wildlife to spot. Plus, paved nature trails and a wheelchair-accessible viewing area make this a great place for anyone to experience wild Montana without too much hassle!