The Real West is alive in Central Montana
You can still experience a taste of the real West and cowboy life in Central Montana. Charlie Russell, America’s Cowboy Artist, lived and painted in this area. The largest collection of his artworks and countless Native American artifacts can be seen at the C. M. Russell Museum. Summertime events reflect our western heritage and just about every weekend you can watch present-day cowboys competing in rodeos.
Unique lodging is found throughout Central Montana – here’s your chance to sleep in a Native American tipi, a restored sheepherder’s wagon or an original homestead cabin built as the western United States was settled.
Dinosaurs roamed this area too and you can participate in an actual field dig uncovering bones along Montana’s spectacular Rocky Mountain Front. Or, spend some time expanding your knowledge of paleontology in the bone prep lab. You can also see the world’s largest replica of a Seismosaurus halli that once lived in this area.
Montana’s premier dinner train travels the rails in Central Montana between several island mountain ranges. Deer and pronghorn (antelope) are common along the scenic route as you cross several rail trestles and travel through one tunnel on a 3 ½ hour train ride. This is prime cattle ranching country and you just may see a real cowboy moving cattle to pasture.
The Mighty Missouri River flows through Central Montana and is rated a “blue-ribbon” trout fishery with over 2,000 trout per river mile. Local guides offer complete fishing packages and you’ll also find plenty of public access to our numerous streams and rivers.
The east slope of the Rockies has several access points to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the most intact mountainous ecosystem in the lower 48 states of the United States. Hiking, horseback riding and fishing can all be experienced in this rugged area known locally as “The Bob”. Area outfitters will guide your trip into this wilderness and you will be left in awe as you traverse craggy mountains and flower-filled meadows.
Area guest ranches and working ranches in Central Montana offer genuine western experiences with plenty of amenities. It’s your chance to live the cowboy life. Memories of sitting around a crackling campfire and listening to cowboy poetry will stay with you forever.
The last major Indian battle in the United States took place in Central Montana at what is now called the Bear Paw Battlefield. In October of 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Nation was leading his tribe to Canada. The historic battle ended their quest for freedom 40 miles from the international border. The battlefield is open to the public year round and a nearby museum tells the poignant story.