77 Montana Facts and Weird Laws

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What is Montana popular for? Intriguing Montana facts involve its rich animal life, national parks, rivers, huge deposits of gold, coal, and copper. 

Did you know more than 11 million people visited Montana in 2020 alone? This stat is according to a study by the Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research, 2020.  

You can also visit Montana today and experience the beautiful scenery. But before packing for this adventure, acquaint yourself with this Treasure State.

Because we’ve exhausted every topic to bring you a compilation of one of the most famous American States, Montana state. Alongside geographical, historical, and cultural facts, you will find answers to the misconceptions about Montana.

Montana Facts – Politics

Montana governor signs bill banning transgender girls from girls’ sports in schools. Credit: CNN
  1.  The name “Montana” originated from the Eastern Spanish settlers. It means mountains.
  2. Montana has three electoral votes, and is mainly a Republican state. The only years it has been a  swaying state was  in 1996 and 2008.
  3. Montana’s one representative, represents the most number of people by any member of the U.S. House.
  4. Montana has a robust party system. Except for the judiciary, the governor, superintendent of public instruction, Secretary of State, state auditor are all Republican-leaning. The party also enjoys an overwhelming majority in both houses of the legislature.
  5. Montana has a unique institution of governance. The governor heads the executive and the topmost office in Montana. Thirteen officials, including the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, work with the governor.
  6. Montana became the first State to elect a woman (Jeanette Rankin) to Congress. She was a member of the Congress who voted against the world wars and  opposed the attacks on Pearl Harbour.
  7.  In Montana, the judiciary consists of a supreme court, a federal court, and trial courts with limited and general jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is the highest in the State. 

Montana Facts – Geography

Montana, the sold-out state New Yorkers can’t get enough of. Credit: Fox Business
  1. Montana is located in the Western United States.  The land borders North and South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, and three Canadian provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. 
  2. With 147,040 square miles, Montana is the largest landlocked State in the United States. It is fourth after Alaska, Texas, and California.
  3. The Continental Divide split Montana’s topography into Western and Eastern regions, with most mountain ranges occurring in the western part.
  4.  The Missouri Breaks and unique mountain formations in the Eastern part of the Divide complement the beauty of Montana.
  5.  Missouri river, which is the longest river in North America, goes through Southern Montana.
  6. Montana’s highest point – Granite Peak–  is 12,799 feet tall and occurs in the Beartooth plateau. This plateau is the largest continuous landmass in Continental USA. 
  7. Western Montana boasts more than 100 mountain ranges than Eastern region.
  8.  The Missouri river flows into the Mississippi river through South Dakota and North Dakota.
  9. Montana has valleys such as Paradise valley, Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Flathead Valley, and Gallatin valley are rich in agricultural resources and offer multiple opportunities for recreation and tourism.
  10. The Montana rivers and creeks are famous for fishing, especially the blue-ribbon trout fishing. The water resources are essential for hydropower, irrigation, recreation, water for human use, and mining.
  11. The Montana rivers feed three significant watersheds: the Hudson Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean. 
  12. One of the largest natural freshwater lakes in the U.S,Flathead Lake, is among the 3000 named Montana Lakes and reservoirs. 
  13. Fort Peck Reservoir is the largest reservoir on the Missouri River. Other reservoirs are Lake Koocanusa, Hungry Horse, Lake Elwell, etc.
  14.  Other than the Flathead lake, Yellowstone River also runs through Montana –it is the longest river without a dam in the lower 48 states.
  15. The Treasure state is the only state with the world’s shortest river (201 feet), Roe River.

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Montana Facts – Flora and Fauna

Credit: Etsy
  1. Forests take up to 25% of Montana.
  2. Flowers indigineous to Montana  include asters, daisies, lupins, primroses, poppies, lilies, columbine, orchids, dryads, and bitterroots. Many cactus, lichens, mushrooms, and sagebrush are also native to Montana.
  3. Of the lower 48 States, Montana is the only state that houses the largest population of grizzly bears. The grizzly bear is, without a doubt, the state animal of Montana. 
  4.  Five endangered  animal species and seven threatened species live in the Big Sky Country. The endangered species such as whooping crane, pallid sturgeon, white sturgeon, black-footed ferret, and least tern live in this amazing State. You’ll also find the Canadian lynx and bull trout.
  5. Montana is home to several bird species, including whitetail deer, elk, mule deer, ring-neck pheasant, gray wolf, pronghorn antelope, and gray partridge.
  6.   World’s first international peace park was formed from a union of Glacier National Park, Alberta, Canada, and the United States.
  7.  Montana boasts the largest migratory Elk herd in the United States.
  8.  Almost 8000 moose – considered existent- lives in Montana State.
  9. Every Spring, 10,000 plus striking white pelicans migrate to Medicine Lake from the Gulf of Mexico.
  10. Montana is home to the largest golden eagle population in the United States.
  11.  The Museum of Rockies, in Montana, has 13 T-specimens – dinosaur fossils.

Montana Facts – Climate

Credit: memgenerator.net
  1. The Montana climate varies according to topography, elevation, and geography.
  2. Western Montana experiences  fewer winds, cool summers, and mild winters. 
  3. Loma city in Montana holds the record for the biggest temperature change in the world. The temperature changed by 103 degrees.
  4. Summer temperatures average 29.4 degrees Celsius in Montana.
  5. The hottest month ever recorded in Montana was July 2007.
  6.  Annual Montana rainfall averages 381mm.
  7. The 15-inch (diameter) Snowflake is the largest snowflake ever, and it was observed in fort Keogh, Montana.

Montana Facts – Demographic

Credit: MilesCity.com
  1. Montana State was formed before Washington. It is the 41st State formed.
  2. According to the United States Census Bureau, Montana has a population of about 1085407, with the largest being Native American origin. The Native American population in Montana is bigger than in most U.S. states.
  3. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, the District of Columbia, and Virginia can all fit in Montana.
  4. Montana offered one of the largest human resources contributions to the U.S. army. About 40 000 people joined the army from this region.
  5. Eastern Europeans, Finns, Germans, African-Americans, and Chinese also live in different counties of Montana.
  6. Like in other States, English is the official language in Montana. Montanan’s also speak Spanish and other languages.
  7. Montana has a low population density, with 46 out of 56 counties registering approximately six people per square mile.
  8. The population of cattle in Montana exceeds that of human beings.
  9. Montana, Big Sky Country, has its capital city is Helena, but the largest one in Billings, with a population of 100,000 plus compared to Helena’s 75,000.
  10. The first capital (terrestrial) of Montana, Bannack, is these days a ghost town.
  11. Interesting Montana Fact: about 65% of the people of the Big Sky are christians.

Montana Facts – Economic Activities

Credit: Reddit
  1. There were more millionaires in Helena (per Capita) than anywhere else in the world in 1888. A good number of these millionaires benefited from the gold.
  2. Fur trapping industry  was the first industry in Montana.
  3. Gold mining became a major industry when gold was discovered in present-day Helena.
  4. The discovery of large deposits of Copper at Butte promoted mining activities in the treasure state.
  5.  Montana’s leading source of income is agriculture and mining.
  6. To complement the beer-brewing industries, Montana has a rich deposit of natural resources such as coal, vermiculite, zinc, oil, lead,  manganese, silver, and timber.
  7.  Montana’s also fish on the Flathead lake, the largest natural freshwater lake.
  8. The only North American Gem in the crown jewels of England is the Montana Yogo Sapphire.
  9. Tourism is key to Montana’s economy. It reports ten million-plus visitors to its attractive tourist parks, rivers, and lakes per year.
  10. Glacier national park is  in Northwestern Montana, close to the two Canadian provinces.
  11. Yellowstone National Park is partly in Montana and records between 1000-3000 earthquakes per year. 
  12.  Glacier National Park is known as the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem” because of its pristine ecosystem.
  13.  The largest county park in the United States is in Hill county, Montana-Beaver Creek

Montana Facts – History and Culture

Credit: Memgenerator.net
  1.  Several tribes such as the Cheyene, Shosone, Blackfeet, and crow were already living in the Big Sky Country before the first Europeans arrived.
  2.  Lewis and Clark reached Yellowstone River in 1805.
  3. The national historic park at Little Bighorn houses Montan history. It is the site where the powerful General Cluster died in the Battle of Little Bighorn.
  4. The government, in the 20th century, encouraged settlement by allowing homesteaders to occupy the large tracts of land.
  5. This government directive led to the formation of ranching and farming sectors that still exist in Montana today.
  6. Agriculture and ranching forms the fabric of rural Montana’s cultural and social life. 
  7. The people of Montana are conservative and independent, but friendly to visitors.
  8. Montana is home to annual arts and cultural festivals to promote the region and celebrate its prosperity. Cultural events such as Bozeman, Shakespeare in the Parks, and Lame Deer are annual cultural events hosted in Montana.

Montana Facts – Sports and Recreational Activities

Credit: onlyinyourstate.com
  1.  The major sporting activities in the Treasure State includes Baseball, Ice hockey, and Football are the major sporting activities.  Colleges, and universities. 
  2.  Outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, watercraft recreation, golf, hiking, riding, cycling, skiing, and camping are available to visitors and residents alike.
  3.  You can also swim in the largest natural lake in Montana, Flathead lake.
  4. A visit to Montana is incomplete without skiing at the Big Sky Resort. This place is covered by snow, and skiers love it more.
  5.  Do you know that some of the beautiful artificial waves are located right in the city of Missoula? Surfers ride the waves from the Clark Fork River.

Famous Locations in Montana

Credit: onlyinyourstate.com

1. Glacier National Park.

2. West Yellowstone National Park.

3. Flathead Lake – largest natural freshwater lake.

5. Waterton lakes national park

6. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

7. Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.

9. Great Falls.

10. Big Sky Resort.

11. Missouri river.

Famous People from Montana

  • Jeannette Rankin -was the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. She opposed the world wars.
  • Joe Medicine Crow – was an author born October 27, 1913, and died on April 3, 2016. He was also a historian and war chief of the Crow Nation.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich – American writer and political activist born on August 26, 1941. She is one of the most influential journalists of her generation.
  • Ryan Zinkie – a politician born on November 1, 1961. Before his resignation in 2019, Ryan served as the secretary of the interior in the Trump administration in 2017.
  • Bobby Petrino – a football coach who served as the Louisville Cardinals football team from 2014 to 2018. He joined Missouri State University as a head coach on January 15, 2020.
  • Steve Bullock- served as the 24th governor between 2013 and 2021.

Common Misconceptions about Montana

Credit: fakeposters.com

Most visitors have pleasant surprises waiting for them when they visit Montana. The most common misconceptions include cheap land, bad weather, and pet freedom in Big Sky county.

Weather is horrible there

Many people believe that the entire Montana State is cold all winter. The fact is West of the Continental Divide experiences the mildest winter weather you’ll ever find.

You may get eaten by grizzly bears

Although the Treasure State has the largest grizzly bear population in the world. Grizzly bear attacks are rare. For example, since 1872, there have been 8 grizzly bear fatalities in Yellowstone National Park.

You can let your dogs free in Big Sky County

Don’t even dream about doing that. A resident may shoot your dog for disturbing livestock, and that’s legal.

Weird Laws in Montana

Many of the laws below were passed a long time ago, but they still exist in many Montana cities, but many of them go unenforced. It is easier to pass laws than to revoke them, so some very strange laws remain on the books. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

Here are some of our favorites.

  1. It is illegal for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
  2. Balls may not be thrown within the city limits.
  3. It is illegal to raise rats is prohibited unless you are doing scientific research.
  4. A pool table must be clearly visible from the street if it is in a billiard hall.
  5. Unmarried women are not allowed to go fishing alone on Sundays in Montana, and married women are not allowed to go fishing alone on any day.
Do you know there are specific laws on women going fishing in Montana? Image: TiggerDroppings.com

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, there is something for everyone in this incredible State from Sports, beautiful animals, and amazing people.

Tell me what else you want to know about this sweet State. You can watch this video to learn more about Montana.

Montana Facts and Stats.

Population2020 (1,084,225)
GovernorGreg Gianforte (Republican)
Date Of Admission8 November 1889
US Senators Steve Daines (R)Jon Tester (D)
US House of Representatives1 (of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameThe Treasure State; Big Sky Country 
State MottoOro y Plata meaning Gold and Silver 
State SongMontana by Joseph E. Howard
State FlowerBitterroot
State FishCutthroat trout
State BirdWestern Meadowlark
State TreePonderosa Pine
State MammalGrizzly Bear
State SportBasketball
State MineralAgate
State GemYogo Sapphire 
State FossilDuck-billed dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum
Neighbor StatesSouth DakotaNorth DakotaWyomingIdaho

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 interesting facts about Montana?

The following makes Montana state unique and beautiful.

  • The largest grizzly population – Montana, Big Sky Country, boasts the highest number of grizzly bears.
  • Montana Yogo Sapphires is part of the crown jewels of England. Making Montana the only State in the United States of America to achieve this feat.
  • Montana is home to the shortest river, the Roe river.
  • Montana is home western meadowlark- a beautiful bird whose population is on decline.
  • Montana, in western United States, has the largest natural freshwater lake, the Flathead Lake.

What are the 10 facts about Montana?

  • Montana’s capital is Helena.
  • The current Montana governor is Greg Gianforte.
  • Montana’s State mammal is the grizzly bear.
  • The Montana name originated from Spanish meaning mountains.
  • World’s wealthiest mountain is Montana’s Butte.
  • Montana is home to the first female congress, Jeannette Rankin.
  • South Dakota borders Montana State.
  • Granite Peak- standing at 3,904m above sea level- is the highest natural peak in the United States.
  • Southern Montana is home to the Yellowstone river, Gallatin river, Rock Creek, and Bighorn river.
  • Glaciers paradise, Glacier national park, is in Montana.

What are the 5 misconceptions about Montana?

Cheap Land.

If you can drive along an unpaved road for 75 miles to the nearest food store or gas station daily, you can buy land here.

Not enough shopping malls. 

With Amazon, who cares about shopping malls anymore? Obviously, not Montanans.

No police departments

While law enforcement officials include the sheriff, his deputies, and the livestock inspector, some cities have quality police departments.

Grizzly Bears.

There is no grizzly bear behind every tree.

Bad weather. 

Montana is not cold all winter.

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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