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Leading them Home. Montana© Holly KucheraLeading them Home. Montana
© Holly Kuchera
Known for decades as "Big Sky Country," Montana is a great destination for anyone who loves to ride, cycle, paddle, hike, fish or ski in a variety of stunning landscapes.

The plains of eastern Montana slowly crumple into foothills as the state rises towards the Rocky Mountains in the west. For an unforgettable drive, follow the Going-to-the-Sun Road, an 83-kilometre (52-mile) highway that takes you over the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park. It's one of the few roads in this spectacular park; instead of endless pavement, you'll find an 1100-kilometre (700-mile) network of hiking and horseback riding trails that will bring you close to the park's many lakes, waterfalls and namesake glaciers.

The truly intrepid can retrace the path of explorers Lewis and Clark through Montana by canoe, bike or foot. (The less adventurous can settle for learning more about the famous pair's journey at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls.)

Montana is classic cowboy country, and many ranches offer city slickers the chance to join a cattle drive or wagon train, or simply trade stories around a campfire. You can also thrill to the exploits of rodeo stars at events across the state, even in winter—the Northern Rodeo Association Finals take place every February in the MetraPark Arena in the state capital, Billings.

Hay rake at dusk, Montana© Alan ScheerHay rake at dusk, Montana
© Alan Scheer
In Virginia City and Nevada City, former ghost towns restored to their gold rush glory, you can get a taste of frontier life in the 1860s. To learn about yet another aspect of Montana's history, visit the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, which displays an excellent collection of Blackfeet artefacts.

For history that predates the cowboys, the gold hunters and the Native Americans, check out some of the 13 stops on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, which include museums, excavation sites and laboratories.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF