As local communities continue to update Covid-19 regulations, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for the latest information.

7 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Montana

By Trent Jonas

7 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Montana

Only in a few places is fall more gorgeous than it is under the Big Sky. The trees cloak themselves in their stunning fall coats, fat trout are running, and people gather to celebrate autumn. When the calendar flips to October, these are some of our favorite fall activities in Montana.

Chase huge browns on the Madison River

In the fall—October through November—big brown trout spawn in the Madison River. And just before the spawn, they are super aggressive, defending territory and consuming sufficient food to fuel their upstream run. For fly anglers, big streamers are the way to get one of these monsters on the end of the line. Need some help finding the honey holes? Madison River Fishing Company and Gallatin River Guides can both put you on the fish.

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Take a fall foliage paddle in Glacier National Park

As winter creeps onto the higher elevations in Glacier National Park, the park’s aspens and larch burst into their full autumn glory. Grab a kayak and paddle out onto Bowman Lake to take advantage of a vista that includes sky-blue water, snow covered peaks and golden fall foliage. Glacier Park Boat Company offers rentals in the park.

Swallow your fear at Field of Screams, Victor, MT

Field of Screams, on the outskirts of Victor, is a terrifying trek through a creepy corn field. As you wend your way among the stalks, you’ll be greeted and frightened by all manner of ghouls, ghosts and haunts. Each turn you take will fill you with dread until all you can think about is whether you’ll make it to the end. Sounds fun, eh?

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Join a team and Race for the Montana Cup

All Montana residents are welcome to participate in the Montana Cup, a cross-country team event that changes locations each year. Runners compete on behalf of one of seven towns (whichever they live closest to)—Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell or Missoula—and run a course that ranges from five to eight kilometers. The races take place near the end of October.

Hike Hyalite Canyon

The Hyalite Recreation Area, a part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, becomes a stunning palette of autumn colors in the fall. Hike the Hyalite Canyon trail, along Hyalite Creek. You’ll see towering peaks cloaked in red, gold and orange as you make your way through the canyon to the stunning 80-foot Palisade Falls. As you hike, though, remember that you’re in grizzly country. Bear spray and a couple of hiking buddies are always a good idea.

Get lost in the Applestem Corn Maze

Walk into 20 acres of six-foot-tall corn and try to find your way out. Or don’t. Let your feet and your mind wander as you stroll at your own pace among the stalks. Every year, the folks at Apple Stem Corn Maze (and Pumpkin Patch) carve their 20 acres into a new design, so it’s different every time you come back.

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Guided hunt with Swan Mountain Outfitters

For over three decades, Swan Mountain Outfitters has been bringing locals and visitors on memorable hunting trips. Mule deer, whitetail, elk—you name it. Check the Swan Mountain Outfitters website for rates and dates and get booking! 

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As local communities continue to update Covid-19 regulations, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for the latest information.

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