Montana Film Office

Montana Film Office • 301 South Park Ave Helena, MT 59620 • tel: 800.553.4563 • 406.841.2876 • fax: 406.841.2877 • montanafilm@mt.gov AFCI Member

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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.

  • Cities and Towns
  • Old West Towns & Sets
  • Lakes & Reservoirs
  • Dams
  • Rivers
  • Waterfalls
  • Mountains
  • Ski Areas
  • Performance Roads
  • Railroads
  • Mansions
  • Prisons
  • Unusual Locations

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

 

Cities and Towns

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.
CITIES AND TOWNSAREA CONTACTPhone
AnacondaChamber of Commerce406-563-2400
Big SkyChamber of Commerce406-995-3000 
Big TimberChamber of Commerce406-932-5131
BillingsBillings CVB406-245-4111 
BozemanBozeman CVB406-586-5421
Browning - East GlacierBlackfeet Tribal Counci406-338-7521
ButteButte CVB406-723-3177
ChoteauChamber of Commerce406-466-5316
Cooke CityChamber of Commerce406-838-2332
Cut BankChamber of Commerce406-873-4041
Deer LodgeChamber of Commerce406-846-2094
DillonChamber of Commerce406-683-5511
EnnisChamber of Commerce406-682-4388
GlasgowChamber of Commerce406-228-2222 
GlendiveChamber of Commerce406-377-5601
Great FallsGreat Falls CVB406-761-4434
HamiltonChamber of Commerce406-363-2400
HardinChamber of Commerce406-665-1672 
HavreChamber of Commerce406-265-4383 
HelenaChamber of Commerce406-447-1530
KalispellFlathead CVB406-756-9091
LewistownChamber of Commerce406-535-5436 
LibbyChamber of Commerce406-293-4167 
LivingstonChamber of Commerce406-222-0850
Miles CityChamber of Commerce406-234-2890 
MissoulaChamber of Commerce406-532-3250
PolsonChamber of Commerce406-883-5969 
Red LodgeChamber of Commerce406-446-1718 
ShelbyChamber of Commerce406-434-7184 
SidneyChamber of Commerce406-433-1916 
Virginia City/Nevada CityChamber of Commerce406-843-5555
West YellowstoneChamber of Commerce406-646-7701
WhitefishChamber of Commerce406-862-3501
kalispell missoula butte helena bozeman great falls havre billings glasgow miles city

Dams

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.
DamsLocation / AreaSpillwayOwner
Black EagleGreat FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
Canyon FerryHelenaMiddleBureau of Reclamation
CochraneGreat FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
Fort PeckFort PeckTopArmy Corps of Engineers
GibsonAugustaMiddle (arch)Bureau of Reclamation
HauserHelenaTopPPL Montana LLC
HebgenWest YellowstoneTopPPL Montana LLC
HolterHelenaTopPPL Montana LLC
Hungry HorseHungry HorseBottom (arch gravity)Bureau of Reclamation
KerrPolsonTop (arch)PPL Montana LLC
LibbyLibbyBottomArmy Corp of Engineers
MadisonEnnisTopPPL Montana LLC
MoronyGreat FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
Mystic LakeColumbusTop (arch)PPL Montana LLC
RainbowGreat FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
RyanGreat FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
Sun RiverAugustaTopPrivate
SwiftDupuyerMiddle (arch)Private
Thompson FallsThompson FallsTopPPL Montana LLC
YellowtailBillingsBottom (arch)Bureau of Reclamation

Lakes and Reservoirs

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.
AreaNameMountain BackdropHeavy ForestOpen Plains
BillingsBig HornX
BozemanDaileyXX
FairyXX
HyaliteXX
BrowningDuckXX
Lower St. MaryXX
SwiftXX
Butte / AnacondaEast Fork RiverXX
EchoXX
GeorgetownXX
Georgetown (Snow)XX
StormXX
DillonClark CanyonX
LimaX
RubyXX
EnnisEnnisXX
Glacier Nat'l ParkBowmanXX
McDonaldXX
Many GlacierXX
St. Mary'sX
SherburneXX
SwiftcurrentXX
Swiftcurrent (Snow)
Two MedicineXX
GlasgowFort PeckX
Great FallsBeanXX
BynumXX
ElwellX
FrancesX
FreezeoutXX
GibsonXX
NilanXX
HamiltonComoXX
Painted RocksXX
HardinBighornX
HelenaCanyon FerryXX
HauserX
HolterXX
Kalispell / WhitefishAshleyX
FlatheadXXX
HollandXX
Little BitterrootX
McGregorX
SwanXX
TallyXX
Thompson LakesX
WhitefishXX
LewistownCrystalXX
LibbyBullXX
KoocanusaXX
MissoulaMcDonaldXX
PlacidXX
SalmonXX
SeeleyX
UpsataXX
Red LodgeBeartoothXX
CooneyXX
East RosebudXX
LongX
West RosebudXX
West YellowstoneCliffXX
HebgenXX
QuakeXX
WadeXX

Mansions

Grandiose, Historic, Rustic: Montana living offers as much in variety as in scenery.
MansionsLocationOwner
Art ChateauButteButte / Silver Bow County
Avalanche RanchKalispellPrivate
Barrister Bed & BreakfastHelenaPrivate
Big Arm EstateElmoPrivate
The CastleWhite Sulphur SpringsMeagher County
Coleman MansionDeer LodgePrivate
Conrad MansionKalispellCity of Kalispell
Copper KingButtePrivate
Daly MansionHamiltonState of Montana
Jim Nabors HomeWhitefishPrivate
King MansionBozemanPrivate
Kline SchmidtHelenaPrivate
Lehrkind MansionBozemanPrivate
Le Petit ChateauBozemanPrivate
Moss MansionBillingsCity of Billings / Montana
Old Governor’sHelenaHistorical Society
Rappaport MansionHelenaPrivate
Roberts MansionHelenaPrivate
Sanders MansionHelenaPrivate
Story MansionBozemanCity of Bozeman
Wintergreen MansionBozemanPrivate

Mountains

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.
RangeElevationLocationDescription
Absaroka11,206 ft.S of Livingston, SE of Bozeman, N of Yellowstone National ParkHigh 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 Range10,793 ft.SW of Anaconda, N of WisdomThe 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.
Beartooth12,799 ft.S of Red Lodge, N of Cooke City, SW of BillingsAlpine vistas, treeless tundra plateaus, jagged peaks, lakes and waterfalls.
Big Belt9,472 ft.N – NE of HelenaLimestone cliffs, intricate rock formations, grassy meadows and pine forests.
Bitterroot11,393 ft.W of Hamilton, SW of MissoulaJagged pinnacles, rocky peaks, deep canyons and lush forest.
Bridger9,666 ft.N of Bozeman, NE of LivingstonAbrupt steep peaks above timberline and lakes
Cabinet8,738 ft.S of LibbyCraggy mountain peaks, lush forest slopes below timberline. A cedar forest.
Crazy11,214 ft.NW of Livingston/Big TimberRises up from plains. Peaks, serrated ridges; 23 peaks above 10,000 feet.
Gallatin10,992 ft.S of Bozeman, SW of LivingstonWaterfalls, lakes and creeks and forested with jagged, rocky peaks.
Glacier National Park10,466 ft.NE of Kalispell/Whitefish, W of BrowningMassive peaks lead to forested lower slopes, broken cliffs and walls sculpted by glaciers, and many lakes and streams.
Gravelly10,000+  ft.S of Virginia City, SW of Ennis, SE of AlderFrom 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 Belt8,801 ft.SE of Great Falls, E of HelenaLow ridge system with timbered and talus domes, lush forests, and high grassy meadows.
Madison11,316 ft. E of Ennis, SW of Bozeman, N of West YellowstonePrecipitous mountain peaks and many lakes. Yellowstone National Park lies to the south.
Mission9,820 ft.N of Missoula, S of Kalispell and Polson, W of Seeley LakeAbrupt rise from valley floor. Beautiful lakes on both east and west sides.
Pryor8,786 ft.E of Red Lodge, S of Billings, W of HardinFlat benches, high deserts, mesas, buttes and deep limestone canyons. Partially forested.
Rocky Mountain Front9,392 ft.E of Great Falls, Augusta, Choteau, BrowningTowering limestone walls, deep canyons, peaks rising up from plains, grassy meadows, buttes, rivers and creeks.
Ruby9,000+ ft.E of Dillon, SW of AlderA 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)9,356 ft.S of Bigfork, N of Seeley LakeRugged mountain peaks stretch in unbroken line for 100 miles.
Swan (north)
Tobacco Root10,600 ft.N of Virginia City, NW of Ennis, E of Twin BridgesA 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.

Performance Roads

We Have 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.
AreaHighwayMountain BackdropRolling HillsOpen CountrySwitchbacksDips & CurvesLakes & RiversOther
Anaconda, ButtePintlar Scenic Route–State Hwy. 1XXXGeorgetown Lake
Pioneer Mountain Scenic Byway–Forest Hwy. 73XXforest, meadows
Big TimberU.S, Hwy. 191 (north)XXXXCrazy Mountains
BillingsU.S. Hwy. 87 (north)XXXbadlands
State Hwy. 3 (north)XXXno power lines
BIA Hwy. 91 (east)XXXbadlands, no fences or power lines
BozemanU.S. Hwy. 191 (south)XXXforest
Browning, East GlacierKiowa Highway–State Hwy. 49XXXXvast overlook into Glacier National Park
Kiowa Highway-State Hwy. 49 (Snow)
Heart Butte HighwayXXXXXno fences or power lines
Chief Mountain Hwy.–State Hwy. 17XXrock formations / buttes
St. Mary–U.S. Hwy. 89 (north)XXXXXXGlacier National Park
ButtePipestone Pass–State Hwy. 2XXrock formations
ChoteauU.S. Hwy. 89 (north)XXXXRocky Mountain Front
U.S. Hwy. 87 (south)XXXXRocky Mountain Front
Glacier National ParkGoing To The Sun Hwy.–Logan PassXXXengineering marvel
Great FallsRogers Pass–U.S. Hwy. 200XXXXXLewis & Clark route
U.S. Hwy. 89 (south)XXXXforest
HamiltonLost Trail Pass–U.S. Hwy. 93XXski area, forest
HelenaFlesher Pass–County Hwy. 279XXforest
I-15 (north)XXXXXinterstate, canyons
State Hwy. 141 (north)XXXXNevada Reservoir
Kalispell, WhitefishState Hwy. 35 (south)XXXFlathead Lake, forest
State Hwy. 83 (south)XXXmeadows, forest
U.S. Hwy. 93 (south)XXXFlathead Lake
LewistownU.S. Hwy. 191 (north)XXXno fences or power lines
State Hwy.s 80 & 81 (west)XXX

Prisons

Go to Jail: Montana has had its share of colorful characters throughout the years. Some of these historic hoosegows still operate today.
PrisonCity/TownPermit / Type
Anaconda JailAnacondaYes / County
Big Timber Jail & Police StationBig TimberYes / County
Deer Lodge PrisonDeer LodgeYes / State
Nevada City JailNevada CityYes / State
Old Butte JailButtePrivate Ownership
Old Montana PrisonDeer LodgeYes / State
Red Lodge JailRed LodgeYes / City

 

 

Railroads

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.
NameTunnelsTrestlesStation/YardLocomotive/CarsOther
Central MontanaYesYesYesYesbadlands, mountain backdrops
Montana Rail LinkYesYesYesYesmountain backdrops
RarusNoYesYes (period)Yesshop, turntable
Western MontanaNoYesNoYes
Montana ShortlineNoNoYes (period)Yesconnects Virginia City & Nevada City,
1911 Baldwin steam engine and tender
Charlie Russell Yes Yes YesYes dining entertainment cars, plains, mountain backdrops
Chew Choo

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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Rivers

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.
RiverMountain BackdropRanching/PlainsWhitewaterCanyons
BeaverheadXX
Big HoleXXX
BighornXX
BitterrootXXX
BlackfootXLimitedX
BoulderXXLimitedX
BullXX
Clark ForkXXX
Clarks Fork of YellowstoneXX
DearbornXXX
East RosebudXLimitedX
FlatheadXXXX
GallatinXXXX
JeffersonXXX
JudithXX
KootenaiXXX
MadisonXXLimitedX
MariasXX
McDonald CreekXLimited
MilkX
MissouriXXLimitedX
MusselshellX
PoplarX
PowderX
Rock CreekXX
RubyXX
SmithXXX
StillwaterXXXX
SunXXX
SwanXX
TetonXX
TongueX
Two MedicineXXLimitedX
WiseXX
YaakXLimitedX
YellowstoneXXXX

Ski Areas

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.
ResortLocationVerticalAverageTelephone
Drop Snowfall
Bear Paw Ski BowlHavre900 feet140 inches406.265.8404
Big Sky ResortBig Sky4,350 feet400 inches800.548.4486
Blacktail MountainLakeside1,440 feet250 inches406.844.0999
Bridger BowlBozeman2,600 feet350 inches800.223.9609
Discovery Ski AreaAnaconda1,670 feet210 inches888.678.7669
Great DivideMarysville1,500 feet180 inches406.449.3746
Lookout PassSaltese1,150 feet400 inches208.744.1301
Lost TrailSula1,800 feet300 inches406.821.3211
Maverick MountainDillon2,020 feet180 inches406.834.3454
Montana SnowbowlMissoula2,600 feet300 inches406.549.9777
Moonlight BasinBig Sky4,150 feet400 inches877.822.0340
Red Lodge MountainRed Lodge2,400 feet250 inches406.446.2610
Showdown MontanaNeihart1,400 feet240 inches800.433.0022
Teton PassChoteau1,010 feet300 inches406.466.2209
Turner MountainLibby2,110 feet250 inches406.293.2468
Whitefish Mountain ResortWhitefish2,353 feet300 inches406.862.2900

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.
CharacteristicLocationFeature
Berkely PitButteopen pit mine
Black Hawk Modern HomeLivingstonunique house
Choteau MuseumChoteauMontana Historical Museum
First Peoples Buffalo JumpUlmbuffalo jump
Gatiss GardensCrestonpreserved garden
Glacier National ParkEast Glaciermountainous terrain
House of Mystery and VortexColumbia Fallsunique houses
Judith Gap Wind FarmJudith Gapwind turbines
Lady of the RockiesButtestatue
Makoshika State ParkGlendiverock formations
Medicine RocksEkalakarock formations
Model TrainLivingstonmodel train
National Bison RangeMoieseantler tower
Wildlife Refuge
Rock CityValierrock formations
Sip-N-Dip LoungeGreat Fallsbar and pool with mermaids
Sleeping GiantHelenarock formation
Wahkpa Ghu’gnHavrebuffalo jump
Yellowstone National ParkGardinergeyser basin

Waterfalls

While magnificent structures have been built to harness energy and reserve water, many falls still rush freely.
WaterfallLocation / AreaTypeAccess
BeartoothRed Lodge / Cooke Citycascadedrive to
CataractAugustacascadedrive to
Crazy CreekCooke Citycascadedrive to
Crow CreekHelenaplungewalk to, 2 1/4 mile path
Double FallsGreat Falls / Augustacascadedrive to
HollandSeeley Lakeplungewalk to, 1 1/2 mile path
Lost CreekAnacondacascadewalk to, 100 yard path
Natural BridgeBig Timberplungedrive to
PalisadeBozemanplungewalk to, 1/4 mile paved path
Running EagleEast Glaciercascadewalk to, 1/4 mile path
Silver StairsEssex / East Glaciercascadedrive to
SkalkahoHamiltoncascadedrive to
SwiftcurrentMany Glaciercascadedrive to
Yaak FallsLibbycascadedrive to

Old West Towns & Sets

The Wild West is Still Alive in 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 town-sites, and our old Territorial Prison.
SetLocation/AreaInteriorsOwner
BannackDillon (25 miles west)LimitedMontana State Parks
ElkhornHelena (45 miles south)LimitedMontana State Parks
GarnetMissoula (50 miles east)YesBureau of Land Management
Grant Kohrs RanchDeer LodgeNoNational Park Service
Hell Roarin' GulchButteYesPrivate
MarysvilleHelena (25 miles northwest)NoPrivate
MidasbergEnnis (20 miles north)NoPrivate
"Morning Star" FortBillings (10 miles north)No Private
Mule RanchAnaconda (15 miles south)NoMontana State Parks
Nevada CityEnnis (15 miles to the west)YesMontana Heritage Commission
Old Montana PrisonDeer LodgeYesPowell County
Pioneer TownScobeyYesDaniels County
Virginia CityEnnis (15 miles west)YesMontana Heritage Commission
Wapiti CityMissoula (50 miles northeast)YesPrivate
Wof-N-BarKalispell (20 miles west)YesPrivate

Location Breakdown

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Montana Film Office • 301 South Park Ave Helena, MT 59620 • tel: 800.553.4563 • 406.841.2876 • fax: 406.841.2877 • montanafilm@mt.gov