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Montana Film Office

Location Breakdown

From roads to lakes to mountains to western towns, we’ve got everything sorted out so you can see the best we have to offer.

Authenticity Starts Here

We’ve got over 140,000 square miles of real character. From rugged, snowcapped mountains to dramatic, winding highways, let Montana give your story the authentic feel you’ve been looking for.

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Where Montana Lives

In addition to Montana’s mountain ranges, ranch lands, rivers and forests, Montana is dotted with cities and towns. Ghost, old and modern; tiny, medium and large; rural, quaint or connected urban. Click on the map to learn more about the city or town you’re interested in — if you need more info, just give us a call.

kalispell missoula butte helena bozeman great falls havre billings glasgow miles city

Water is Power

The thunder and roar that amazed the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 upon discovering the original five great falls of the Missouri can still be experienced throughout the state. While magnificent structures have been built to harness energy and reserve water, many falls still rush freely.

All dams listed are gravity type unless otherwise noted.

Dams Location / Area Spillway Owner
Black Eagle Great Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Canyon Ferry Helena Middle Bureau of Reclamation
Cochrane Great Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Fort Peck Fort Peck Top Army Corps of Engineers
Gibson Augusta Middle (arch) Bureau of Reclamation
Hauser Helena Top PPL Montana LLC
Hebgen West Yellowstone Top PPL Montana LLC
Holter Helena Top PPL Montana LLC
Hungry Horse Hungry Horse Bottom (arch gravity) Bureau of Reclamation
Kerr Polson Top (arch) PPL Montana LLC
Libby Libby Bottom Army Corp of Engineers
Madison Ennis Top PPL Montana LLC
Morony Great Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Mystic Lake Columbus Top (arch) PPL Montana LLC
Rainbow Great Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Ryan Great Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Sun River Augusta Top Private
Swift Dupuyer Middle (arch) Private
Thompson Falls Thompson Falls Top PPL Montana LLC
Yellowtail Billings Bottom (arch) Bureau of Reclamation

All that Glitters

Like uncut gems, Montana’s lakes and reservoirs sparkle in brilliant sapphire, blue topaz, soft turquoise and deep jade. From grassy hills to pine-covered mountains, Montana’s lake settings are as varied as the land.

Area Name Mountain Backdrop Heavy Forest Open Plains
Billings Big Horn X
Bozeman Dailey X X
Fairy X X
Hyalite X X
Browning Duck X X
Lower St. Mary X X
Swift X X
Butte / Anaconda East Fork River X X
Echo X X
Georgetown X X
Georgetown (Snow) X X
Storm X X
Dillon Clark Canyon X
Lima X
Ruby X X
Ennis Ennis X X
Glacier Nat’l Park Bowman X X
McDonald X X
Many Glacier X X
St. Mary’s X
Sherburne X X
Swiftcurrent
Swiftcurrent (Snow)
X X
Two Medicine X X
Glasgow Fort Peck X
Great Falls Bean X X
Bynum X X
Elwell X
Frances X
Freezeout X X
Gibson X X
Nilan X X
Hamilton Como X X
Painted Rocks X X
Hardin Bighorn X
Helena Canyon Ferry X X
Hauser X
Holter X X
Kalispell / Whitefish Ashley X
Flathead X X X
Holland X X
Little Bitterroot X
McGregor X
Swan X X
Tally X X
Thompson Lakes X
Whitefish X X
Lewistown Crystal X X
Libby Bull X X
Koocanusa X X
Missoula McDonald X X
Placid X X
Salmon X X
Seeley X
Upsata X X
Red Lodge Beartooth X X
Cooney X X
East Rosebud X X
Long X
West Rosebud X X
West Yellowstone Cliff X X
Hebgen X X
Quake X X
Wade X X

Montana Mansions: Grandiose, Historic, Rustic

Montana living offers as much in variety as in scenery.

Mansions Location Owner
Art Chateau Butte Butte / Silver Bow County
Avalanche Ranch Kalispell Private
Barrister Bed & Breakfast Helena Private
Big Arm Estate Elmo Private
The Castle White Sulphur Springs Meagher County
Coleman Mansion Deer Lodge Private
Conrad Mansion Kalispell City of Kalispell
Copper King Butte Private
Daly Mansion Hamilton State of Montana
Jim Nabors Home Whitefish Private
King Mansion Bozeman Private
Kline Schmidt Helena Private
Lehrkind Mansion Bozeman Private
Le Petit Chateau Bozeman Private
Moss Mansion Billings City of Billings / Montana
Old Governor’s Helena Historical Society
Rappaport Mansion Helena Private
Roberts Mansion Helena Private
Sanders Mansion Helena Private
Story Mansion Bozeman City of Bozeman
Wintergreen Mansion Bozeman Private

 

 

Montana Means Mountain

Virtually every type of mountain can be found under the Big Sky. Grassy mounds ease up from the prairie, while flat-topped buttes command attention on the plains. Massive pine-covered ranges provide passage to boundless woods, and jagged peaks serve as the rugged sentinels of time.

Range Elevation Location Description
Absaroka 11,206 ft. S of Livingston, SE of Bozeman, N of Yellowstone National Park High spires, ridges and peaks. Heavily forested to treeline. Eastern boundary is formed by the Boulder River. Western boundary is the Yellowstone River running through the Paradise Valley.
Anaconda–Pintler Range 10,793 ft. SW of Anaconda, N of Wisdom The Anaconda-Pintlar Range lies between Anaconda to the north and the Big Hole Valley to the south. Nearly 40 miles long, it extends west to the Bitterroot Valley. Many wilderness lakes and peaks from 9,000 to over 10,000 ft. are located on the range.
Beartooth 12,799 ft. S of Red Lodge, N of Cooke City, SW of Billings Alpine vistas, treeless tundra plateaus, jagged peaks, lakes and waterfalls.
Big Belt 9,472 ft. N – NE of Helena Limestone cliffs, intricate rock formations, grassy meadows and pine forests.
Bitterroot 11,393 ft. W of Hamilton, SW of Missoula Jagged pinnacles, rocky peaks, deep canyons and lush forest.
Bridger 9,666 ft. N of Bozeman, NE of Livingston Abrupt steep peaks above timberline and lakes
Cabinet 8,738 ft. S of Libby Craggy mountain peaks, lush forest slopes below timberline. A cedar forest.
Crazy 11,214 ft. NW of Livingston/Big Timber Rises up from plains. Peaks, serrated ridges; 23 peaks above 10,000 feet.
Gallatin 10,992 ft. S of Bozeman, SW of Livingston Waterfalls, lakes and creeks and forested with jagged, rocky peaks.
Glacier National Park 10,466 ft. NE of Kalispell/Whitefish, W of Browning Massive peaks lead to forested lower slopes, broken cliffs and walls sculpted by glaciers, and many lakes and streams.
Gravelly 10,000+  ft. S of Virginia City, SW of Ennis, SE of Alder From the floor of the Madison Valley, the Gravelly Range seems a less rugged and gentle range of mountains approximately 40 miles in length. A well-maintained road follows the ridgeline, winding in and out of flower-covered meadows and forest groves, emulating a Sound of Music look. Black Butte looms up at the south end of the range.
Little Belt 8,801 ft. SE of Great Falls, E of Helena Low ridge system with timbered and talus domes, lush forests, and high grassy meadows.
Madison 11,316 ft.  E of Ennis, SW of Bozeman, N of West Yellowstone Precipitous mountain peaks and many lakes. Yellowstone National Park lies to the south.
Mission 9,820 ft. N of Missoula, S of Kalispell and Polson, W of Seeley Lake Abrupt rise from valley floor. Beautiful lakes on both east and west sides.
Pryor 8,786 ft. E of Red Lodge, S of Billings, W of Hardin Flat benches, high deserts, mesas, buttes and deep limestone canyons. Partially forested.
Rocky Mountain Front 9,392 ft. E of Great Falls, Augusta, Choteau, Browning Towering limestone walls, deep canyons, peaks rising up from plains, grassy meadows, buttes, rivers and creeks.
Ruby 9,000+ ft. E of Dillon, SW of Alder A small range of mountains approximately 15 miles long between Virginia City and Dillon. Highest peak is over 9,000 ft. The ownership is primarily Bureau of Land Management.
Swan (south)
Swan (north)
9,356 ft. S of Bigfork, N of Seeley Lake Rugged mountain peaks stretch in unbroken line for 100 miles.
Tobacco Root 10,600 ft. N of Virginia City, NW of Ennis, E of Twin Bridges A dense concentration of peaks rise over 10,000 ft. Mt. Jefferson at 10,600 ft. is the highest. Has 40,000 acres of roadless area with numerous alpine lakes and old mining claims pocketed throughout. Best access is in the Meadow and Willow Creek drainages and the S. Boulder River.

We Got Roads

Montana’s magnificent scenery plays the backdrop to our highways and roads. Find meandering lake side highways,  or roads cut through rolling hills easing up from the plains and dramatic two lane switchbacks twisting through towering snow-covered mountains. Whatever you’re looking for, our highways and roads will lead you there. But since Montana is such an enormous state, we couldn’t possibly list all our highways. And of course, we also have plenty of gravel, or just plain dirt, roads that can take you to remote areas.

Area Highway Mountain Backdrop Rolling Hills Open Country Switchbacks Dips / Curves Lakes / Rivers Other
Anaconda / Butte Pintlar Scenic Route–State Hwy. 1 X X X Georgetown Lake
Pioneer Mountain Scenic Byway–Forest Hwy. 73 X X forest, meadows
Big Timber U.S, Hwy. 191 (north) X X X X Crazy Mountains
Billings U.S. Hwy. 87 (north) X X X badlands
State Hwy. 3 (north) X X X no power lines
BIA Hwy. 91 (east) X X X badlands, no fences or power lines
Bozeman U.S. Hwy. 191 (south) X X X forest
Browning / East Glacier Kiowa Highway–State Hwy. 49
Kiowa Highway-State Hwy. 49 (Snow)
X X X X vast overlook into Glacier National Park
Heart Butte Highway X X X X X no fences or power lines
Chief Mountain Hwy.–State Hwy. 17 X X rock formations / buttes
St. Mary–U.S. Hwy. 89 (north) X X X X X X Glacier National Park
Butte Pipestone Pass–State Hwy. 2 X X rock formations
Choteau U.S. Hwy. 89 (north) X X X X Rocky Mountain Front
U.S. Hwy. 87 (south) X X X X Rocky Mountain Front
Glacier National Park Going To The Sun Hwy.–Logan Pass X X X engineering marvel
Great Falls Rogers Pass–U.S. Hwy. 200 X X X X X Lewis & Clark route
U.S. Hwy. 89 (south) X X X X forest
Hamilton Lost Trail Pass–U.S. Hwy. 93 X X ski area, forest
Helena Flesher Pass–County Hwy. 279 X X forest
I-15 (north) X X X X X interstate, canyons
State Hwy. 141 (north) X X X X Nevada Reservoir
Kalispell / Whitefish State Hwy. 35 (south) X X X Flathead Lake, forest
State Hwy. 83 (south) X X X meadows, forest
U.S. Hwy. 93 (south) X X X Flathead Lake
Lewistown U.S. Hwy. 191 (north) X X X no fences or power lines
State Hwy.s 80 & 81 (west) X X X

Go to Jail

Montana has had its share of colorful characters throughout the years. Some of these historic hoosegows still operate today.

Prison City/Town Permit/Type
Anaconda Jail Anaconda Yes / County
Big Timber Jail & Police Station Big Timber Yes / County
Deer Lodge Prison Deer Lodge Yes / State
Nevada City Jail Nevada City Yes / State
Old Butte Jail Butte Private Ownership
Old Montana Prison Deer Lodge Yes / State
Red Lodge Jail Red Lodge Yes / City

 

 

 

Trains, Tracks, & Engines

Rails carve through-out the dramatic landscape of Montana. Private railroads chug over trestles, through tunnels, across badlands and along mountain ranges. When these trains roll down the track, they take you not just through pristine valleys and tidy little towns, but into the rail yards and back doors of gritty urban centers.

 

Name Tunnels Trestles Station/Yard Locomotive/Cars Other
Central Montana Yes Yes Yes Yes badlands, mountain backdrops
Montana Rail Link Yes Yes Yes Yes mountain backdrops
Rarus No Yes Yes (period) Yes shop, turntable
Western Montana No Yes No Yes
Montana Shortline No No Yes (period) Yes connects Virginia City & Nevada City,
1911 Baldwin steam engine and tender
Charlie Russell
Chew Choo
 Yes  Yes  Yes Yes  dining entertainment cars, plains, mountain backdrops

 

 

Montana Short Line

Photos of the Virginia City / Nevada City Short Line Steam Engine, an original steam locomotive. With a 17,000-horsepower engine, the Short Line barrels down a mile-and-a-half track connecting two authentic Western towns.

 

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A River Runs Through It

For every Blackfoot River of literary fame, there are dozens of less famous, but equally breathtaking, waterways in Montana. You can always count on the state for crystal clear streams and whitewater stretches, but we can also lead you to winding rivers that flow through scenic mountains, prairies and canyons.

River Mountain Backdrop Ranching/Plains Whitewater Canyons
Beaverhead X X
Big Hole X X X
Bighorn X X
Bitterroot X X X
Blackfoot X Limited X
Boulder X X Limited X
Bull X X
Clark Fork X X X
Clarks Fork of Yellowstone X X
Dearborn X X X
East Rosebud X Limited X
Flathead X X X X
Gallatin X X X X
Jefferson X X X
Judith X X
Kootenai X X X
Madison X X Limited X
Marias X X
McDonald Creek X Limited
Milk X
Missouri X X Limited X
Musselshell X
Poplar X
Powder X
Rock Creek X X
Ruby X X
Smith X X X
Stillwater X X X X
Sun X X X
Swan X X
Teton X X
Tongue X
Two Medicine X X Limited X
Wise X X
Yaak X Limited X
Yellowstone X X X X

Let it Snow

The charm of a local ski area is as accessible as the sophistication of a major resort. Each area boasts a unique type of mountain and its own style of snow. Lodge merchants range from hot dog vendors to furriers. Sleigh rides, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are often just around the bend.

Resort Location Vertical
Drop 
Average
Snowfall
Telephone
Bear Paw Ski Bowl Havre 900 feet 140 inches 406.265.8404
Big Sky Resort Big Sky 4,350 feet 400 inches 800.548.4486
Blacktail Mountain Lakeside 1,440 feet 250 inches 406.844.0999
Bridger Bowl Bozeman 2,600 feet 350 inches 800.223.9609
Discovery Ski Area Anaconda 1,670 feet 210 inches 888.678.7669
Great Divide Marysville 1,500 feet 180 inches 406.449.3746
Lookout Pass Saltese 1,150 feet 400 inches 208.744.1301
Lost Trail Sula 1,800 feet 300 inches 406.821.3211
Maverick Mountain Dillon 2,020 feet 180 inches 406.834.3454
Montana Snowbowl Missoula 2,600 feet 300 inches 406.549.9777
Moonlight Basin Big Sky 4,150 feet 400 inches 877.822.0340
Red Lodge Mountain Red Lodge 2,400 feet 250 inches 406.446.2610
Showdown Montana Neihart 1,400 feet 240 inches 800.433.0022
Teton Pass Choteau 1,010 feet 300 inches 406.466.2209
Turner Mountain Libby 2,110 feet 250 inches 406.293.2468
Whitefish Mountain Resort Whitefish 2,353 feet 300 inches 406.862.2900

Unusual Locations

If you’re looking for the odd, strange and perplexing, Montana has it as well. While famous for its mountainous grandeur, Montana is also the home of some seriously different locations —  you just won’t find “that spot” anywhere else.

Characteristic Location Feature
Berkely Pit Butte open pit mine
Black Hawk Modern Home Livingston unique house
Choteau Museum Choteau Montana Historical Museum
First Peoples Buffalo Jump Ulm buffalo jump
Gatiss Gardens Creston preserved garden
Glacier National Park East Glacier mountainous terrain
House of Mystery and Vortex Columbia Falls unique houses
Judith Gap Wind Farm Judith Gap wind turbines
Lady of the Rockies Butte statue
Makoshika State Park Glendive rock formations
Medicine Rocks Ekalaka rock formations
Model Train Livingston model train
National Bison Range
Wildlife Refuge
Moiese antler tower
Rock City Valier rock formations
Sip-N-Dip Lounge Great Falls bar and pool with mermaids
Sleeping Giant Helena rock formation
Wahkpa Ghu’gn Havre buffalo jump
Yellowstone National Park Gardiner geyser basin

Waterfalls

While magnificent structures have been built to harness energy and reserve water, many falls still rush freely.

Waterfall Location / Area Type Access
Beartooth Red Lodge / Cooke City cascade drive to
Cataract Augusta cascade drive to
Crazy Creek Cooke City cascade drive to
Crow Creek Helena plunge walk to, 2 1/4 mile path
Double Falls Great Falls / Augusta cascade drive to
Holland Seeley Lake plunge walk to, 1 1/2 mile path
Lost Creek Anaconda cascade walk to, 100 yard path
Natural Bridge Big Timber plunge drive to
Palisade Bozeman plunge walk to, 1/4 mile paved path
Running Eagle East Glacier cascade walk to, 1/4 mile path
Silver Stairs Essex / East Glacier cascade drive to
Skalkaho Hamilton cascade drive to
Swiftcurrent Many Glacier cascade drive to
Yaak Falls Libby cascade drive to

 

 

The Western Frontier is Montana

You’ll see it in homesteads on the plains and cabins in the hills. Standing sets, western towns and ghost towns remain in tribute to a way of life gone by. The personality of the wild frontier still can be found in functioning communities, turn-of-the-century structures, withering townsites and our old Territorial Prison.

Set Location / Area Interiors Owner
Bannack Dillon (25 miles west) limited Montana State Parks
Elkhorn Helena (45 miles south) limited Montana State Parks
Garnet Missoula (50 miles east) yes Bureau of Land Management
Grant Kohrs Ranch Deer Lodge no National Parks
Hell Roarin’ Gulch Butte yes private
Marysville Helena (25 miles northwest) no private
Midasberg Ennis (20 miles north) no private
“Morning Star” Fort Billings (10 miles north) no private
Mule Ranch Anaconda (15 miles south) no Montana State Parks
Nevada City Ennis (15 miles west) yes Montana Heritage Commission
Old Montana Prison Deer Lodge yes Powell County
Pioneer Town Scobey yes Daniels County
Virginia City Ennis (15 miles west) yes Montana Heritage Commission
Wapiti Village Missoula (50 miles northeast) yes private
Wof-N-Bar Kalispell (20 miles west) yes private

Location Breakdown

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