The landscape of Montana is the epitome of a majestic and breathtaking view, and the waterfalls in Montana are the crowning jewels. This state has it all, from the perfect mix of verdant pine forests to snow-capped mountains.
You’ll love Montana if you’re an outdoor (or waterfall!) enthusiast. There are so many impressive waterfalls in this amazing state…120 named waterfalls, to be exact! Whether you want to traverse the Highline Trail or go fishing in a spring-fed creek, there is a waterfall in Big Sky Country just waiting for you.
10 BEST WATERFALLS INSIDE GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
RUNNING EAGLE FALLS
While not the tallest or the grandest, Running Eagle Falls is a stunning fall that will capture your attention for hours if you have the time. It’s an easy walk from the parking lot, accessed via the Two Medicine entrance. Fun fact: This is actually two waterfalls, which is how they got their nickname “Trick Falls!” They meet together to form a 40-ft drop. As you get closer you can see that the falls rumble through a window in the rock.
Though it looks deep enough to jump into (and a ranger in another area of the park said so) the water is freezing cold! It felt even colder than Crater Lake, which is 50-degrees. But the water is crystal clear and simply gorgeous.
VIRGINIA FALLS & SAINT MARY FALLS
One hike; two amazing waterfalls. Of all the waterfalls you can get up close and personal with, these are my favorites! St Mary Falls is the first one you come to after a fairly easy hike of about a mile, give or take depending on which parking lot you find an opening at. You’ll hike along the south bend of St Mary Lake toward the fall, with water so turquoise in color that it looks unreal.
If you’re crunched for time, you can turn back here. But I encourage you to progress up the trail (about .8 miles) a little further to Virginia Falls. The falls plunge 50 ft onto the rock, where you can hold out your hand and feel the water. Don’t stop at the upper section only…be sure to scramble down the rocks to the lower section, as well. It’s a different vantage point that can’t be missed.
Details: Browning, MT 59417 | Website
FLORENCE FALLS, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Florence Falls is an adventurer’s dream. This trail is 9.5 miles long and moderately complex, so it’s definitely for people who like to be active and see nature’s beauty. Due to the path’s length, you should plan to hike the falls and back in one day.
On the journey to Florence Falls, you will pass through heavy forests before getting to one of the most picturesque falls on our list. Pack your hiking shoes and get ready to trek.
Planning a National Parks road trip? The America the Beautiful Pass covers entrance for an entire year to all the US National Parks and over 2,000 federal recreation fee sites. Fees are covered for everyone in the car for per-vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites. This is a no-brainer, friends. While fees vary, you’ll likely break-even after two visits. Plus, REI will donate 10% of pass sale proceeds to the NPS Foundation.
REDROCK FALLS GLACIER
Besides providing incredible views, Montana waterfalls attract a variety of wildlife. Also, Red Rock Falls offers the most chance of seeing the park’s grizzly bears.
RedRock Falls is located in Many Glacier and is accessible by hiking up Swiftcurrent Pass. The trail leads directly to the stunning cascading waterfall at less than two miles.
One of the prettiest waterfalls in Montana is Baring Falls. A short, easy hike! The walk is only about six miles roundtrip from the parking lot, making it relatively easy. Along the stream and beneath the falls are pleasant spots to stop and rest. You can also merely enjoy the waterfalls.
The left side of the falls has a small cliff carved out of the rock if you’re feeling adventurous. You can reach the waterfall from there. Take the trail just past the waterfall if you have extra time and water shoes. You will be able to set down your stuff at Saint Mary Lake, take a seat on a fallen log, and enjoy these gorgeous views!
TRAIL OF THE CEDARS
Mother Nature has made this mossy waterfall gorgeous. A highlight of the trail is this small waterfall. Visitors to Baring Falls can walk the mile-and-a-half there and back with just a 160-foot climb after parking their cars. You won’t have to hike to see beautiful falls. This fall drops 40 feet, and you will likely see water ouzels as they dive to catch food in the water.
Details: West Glacier, MT 59936 | Website
GRINNELL FALLS & SALAMANDER FALLS
A hike on the Grinnell Glacier trail is the perfect way to see a glacier up close. There are spectacular views, alpine meadows, and the park’s only glacier reasonably reachable by the trail, making the steep trek worthwhile. You can reach Grinnell Glacier either on foot or by boat.
Your camera will come in handy because you will probably see a lot of wildlife during the trip. As you arrive at Grinnell Lake, you will see icebergs from the retreating Grinnell Glacier floating in the lake.
10 BEST WATERFALLS IN MONTANA THAT ARE NOT INSIDE GLACIER NPS
In Montana, Kootenai Falls is one of Montana’s most famous waterfalls. And it is understandable why. Kootenai Falls was a setting in the Oscar Award-winning movie The Revenant. Over 300 feet of water drop from the waterfall, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in the state. The waterfall is sacred to the local Kootenai tribe.
An observation bridge near the falls crosses the river below them, giving you incredible views of the waterfall and its surroundings. Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife while you’re up there. Deer, elk, bighorn sheep, black bears, and moose are frequent visitors to the area.
In Big Sky Montana’s South Fork Overlook, you’ll find a wooded alpine canyon, several rapids, and the spectacular Ousel Falls. It includes scenic views, a picnic area, and a swimming pool for hikers.
Ousel Falls has a 50-foot cliff that can be seen from all angles as it bobs up and down along the river’s shallows, looking for aquatic insects. It is named after the dipper bird often seen shaking along the shallows seeking aquatic insects.
Explore the trails, which are open year-round and meander along the Gallatin River, and spend time exploring all four so you can see the falls from multiple perspectives. From Highway 191, take Ousel Falls Road for an easy hike of 1.6 miles to Ousel Falls. Summer months are shaded and relaxed on the trail leading to the falls overlook, crossing three bridges.
CROW CREEK FALLS
If you’re looking for a camping getaway, Crow Creek Falls is the place for you. Several campgrounds along the trail leading up to the falls are popular among locals and tourists in the Helena National Forest near Radersburg, Montana. It takes about three miles to get to Crow Creek Falls, and it provides excellent views of the Crow Creek valley and the Elkhorn Mountains.
There is a magnificent waterfall that spills into a large pool where you can enjoy swimming or fishing. Above the waterfall, there are even pools you can explore. Crow Creek Falls is a 50-foot waterfall that bounces around boulders like a pinball, appearing and disappearing in a pool of water.
Along the way, you can observe various ecosystems, from the river bottom to meadows to deep trees. The hike is easy to moderate, with brief steep sections interspersed with gradual ascents.
Montana offers many hiking trails with steep ascents and long and challenging climbs. Some days, however, you are just too tired or pressed for time to hike all day. That’s when Grotto Falls can be a valuable alternative.
When you find yourself in Bozeman, you can take advantage of all the benefits of hiking with just one short and sweet trail. Visitors to Hyalite Canyon should not miss Grotto Falls. This hike features a well-maintained trail, swimming holes, and a spectacular, powerful waterfall that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
The mile-long trail that leads to Grotto Falls is located near Emigrant, Montana, and offers stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and waterfalls. The path is common for locals and tourists to stroll, jog, and mountain bike. Make Grotto Falls a winter bucket list destination. It’s a winter wonderland.
HOLLAND LAKE WATERFALL
The fall is nestled in a forest not far from Condon, Montana. The area around Holland Falls and Holland Lake is picturesque, with larch, pine, and fir forests.
Many people enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, and canoeing around the lake and falls. Within a mile, the trail ascends and crosses a bridge.
After a short time, you will have views of the Swan and Mission Mountains, as well as the Swan Valley, before suddenly hearing the sound of water. Approximately 50 feet tall, the falls are pretty close.
Do you plan to stay longer to explore the site? There is a lodge set up on the lakeshore next to the falls. You can get a hearty meal, spend the night in a comfortable bed, and take full advantage of the waterfalls area the following day.
Morrell Falls is a moderately traveled trail accessible via the Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail in the Lolo National Forest. This trail leads to Morrell Falls, a double waterfall that plunges 90 feet into Morrell Creek at the end of the course. Morrell Creek runs through Swan Mountain Range.
In addition to offering hiking and camping opportunities, Morrell Lake offers swimming, fishing, and stunning views of the surrounding area. Visitors can also engage in horseback riding and mountain biking.
Woodbine Falls offers a peaceful hiking experience due to its remote location. Get ready for a unique adventure as you trek to one of the tallest waterfalls in Montana.
The waterfall, located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, is easy to reach. However, it is tucked away in a relatively quiet area of the state, so it rarely gets crowded with tourists. This makes visiting these very tall falls even more enjoyable because you will be able to take in all of the natural beauty without getting hassled by other visitors.
The cascades and falls drop nearly 300 feet to the Stillwater River from a ravine. There are many gorgeous places for picnics and to enjoy the scenery, but come along with your bear spray just in case. The round trip is only about 1.5 miles.
NATURAL BRIDGE FALLS
You can watch the tremendous force of water at this Forest Service day-use area. It is a spectacular waterfall, which spews over a limestone layer 105 feet tall at high water.
When the river is low, the entire flow travels underground through eroded channels carved by thousands of years of water pressure, erupting several times below the falls. The river appears to be bursting from the cliff edge in its reemergence.
Explore the falls both above and below using one of the trails, and you’ll be able to take pictures from different perspectives. The trails feature signs describing the geology and history of the area.
In addition to walking trails, the site also has picnic tables. The trailhead for the Green Mountain Trail provides views of the Boulder Valley, the Main Boulder Valley, and the river-fed corridors. Even though the waterfall is most impressive in the summer, you’ll have the chance to explore ice caves if you come during the winter. During this time of year, the waterfall slows down.
Details: Big Timber, MT 59011 | Website
One of the most exciting waterfalls in Montana for families is Palisade Falls. Most families with small children visit this place since it’s accessible to everyone.
An easy half-mile paved path leads to the falls near Bozeman, and the hike is suitable for most people who do not have much hiking experience. This waterfall is large and towering, descending 80 feet from Palisade Mountain. There are columns of basalt, and ancient lava flows covering the vertical drop.
The trail is from FS 3163 off Hyalite Canyon Road, near the Hyalite Reservoir campground. Avoid the crowds by arriving before the sun rises or in the off-season. Wheelchair accessibility is available. Although the falls are pretty busy, parking shouldn’t be an issue since there is a big parking lot and public restrooms at the trailhead.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO MONTANA
- BOZEMAN: 12 Amazing Things To Do In Bozeman, MT
- WHITEFISH: 9 Truly Adventurous Things To Do In Whitefish, MT and the Surrounding Communities
- MISSOULA: 19 Amazing Things To Do In Missoula Montana
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