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Fun Facts

About the Big Sky State

Giant Springs State Park

Did You Know...

  • The origin of the name “Montana” comes from the Spanish word for “mountainous.”
  • Montana is the fourth largest state in the U.S. with the 44th largest population.
  • Montana offers almost 28 million acres of public lands, almost 30 percent of the state’s total acreage. 
  • Montana is home to seven State Forests and 53 State Parks.
  • Montana is the only state in the U.S. with a Triple Divide, which allows waters to flow to Hudson Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Montana has more different species of mammals than any other state in the U.S. There are approximately 100 species of mammals, including elk, bighorn sheep, caribou, and bobcats.
  • The Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing (undammed) river in the contiguous United States. The longest river in the U.S. by miles, the Missouri River, begins in Montana at the “Three Forks” - the intersection of the Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson Rivers.
  • Flathead Lake is the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi River.
  • Glacier National Park has 250 lakes in its boundaries.
  • The North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, located at Gardiner, is the original entrance to the world’s first National Park when it opened.
  • The famous ghost town Bannack was founded in 1862 during the largest western gold rush since the California Gold Rush in 1848. It was first capital of Montana Territory until the capital was moved to Virginia City.
  • The famous fly-fishing movie “A River Runs Through It” focuses on the Blackfoot River in Montana, but most of the fishing footage was shot on Montana’s Gallatin River.
  • The largest observed snowflake fell during a storm in 1887 in Montana. It was measured at 15 inches wide.
  • Yogo Sapphires, found only in Montana, are considered to be among the finest sapphires in the world. Their “cornflower blue” color gives them one of the most true-blue colors naturally (without treating).
  • “Tufts-Love Rex,” a giant Tyrannosaurus skeleton, was found in 2016 in Hell Creek, Montana. It is one of only 15 virtually intact T. Rex skeletons and one of the largest ever found.
  • Jeannette Rankin from Missoula was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1916.