Montana’s Basecamp for Art & Adventure provides many experiences you can only get in Great Falls.
Sip ‘n Dip Lounge | 17 7th Street S | 406-454-2141
The #1 bar worth flying for, according to GQ Magazine and home to Montana’s only live mermaid show, Famed lounge singer Piano Pat, and Montana’s Best Tiki Drink! Sundays feature mermaid brunch, and reservations are suggested. Behind the bar of this famed lounge is a glass wall to view the mermaids and mermen perform in the mid-century modern pool. You never know who might turn up; the original mermaid, Darryl Hannah, has been seen here!
Electric City Water Park | 100 River Drive S | 406-771-1265
Open seasonally when the weather gets warmer, the Electric City Water Park provides the opportunity to cool off with the only 3-in-a-row Flow Rider in Montana, the Lazy River, Power Tower slides 20 feet above the park, and the state’s largest children’s water play structure. The Electric City Water Park is set inside a beautiful park complex with trees, grass, plenty of shade, and concessions.
Riverside Rail Yard Skate Park | 500 River Drive N | 406-771-1265
The Railyard’s size, 27,000 square foot places it among the 20 largest skate parks in the country and is ranked among the top 5 in the Northwest. The park, packed with dips, curves, spines, fun boxes, rails, and 100 transfers to ease between the features appeals to rookies and extreme sports enthusiasts alike. Premiere features include bowls that are 5, 8 and 9-feet deep with sides that become vertical to the ground, along with the prized ‘over vertical,’ where the edge of the bowl curves like a cresting wave. What makes the park unique is a full-pipe funnel that connects the two largest bowls with the intermediate 5-foot-deep bowl. Tony Hawk has even tested the fun here.
Giant Springs State Park | 4803 Giant Springs Rd | 406-727-1212
Giant Springs State Park is home to one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. The springs flow at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day and the water stays at a temperature of 54 degrees. Over 500,000 visit Giant Springs State Park each year, making it Montana’s most visited state park. Accessible from The River’s Edge Trail, the park boasts views of Black Eagle Falls, a variety of bird life, a fish hatchery, and fishing ponds.
Historic Trolley | 100 1st Avenue N | 406-453-6151
The Great Falls Trolley highlights several Great Falls landmarks, including the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Rainbow Falls, the downtown historic district, and Gibson Park. Trolley tours are the perfect way to experience the best of Great Falls, and to be inspired to explore more of our great city! In the comfortable climate-controlled trolley, you will enjoy a memorable experience with warm hospitality in the scenic Electric City. Tours depart from the O’Haire Motor Inn, 17 7th Street S, and tickets are available through the Downtown Great Falls Association, located inside the Chamber of Commerce at 100 1st Avenue North.
First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park | 342 Ulm Vaughn Rd Ulm, Montana | 406-866-2217
First Peoples Buffalo Jump tells the story of one of the largest prehistoric bison kill sites in the United States and captures a portrait of daily life for Montana’s first peoples. For more than 600 years, native peoples stampeded buffalo over the cliffs on three sides of the enormous u-shaped jump, risking their lives to obtain life-sustaining buffalo meat and hides. First Peoples provides a glimpse of the plains they called home. Atop the cliff, accessed by a 3.5-mile [5.5 km] hiking trail or a short drive, you can take in a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountain Front, the Missouri River Valley, and the buttes that make this Montana landscape so memorable. Enter a full-sized tipi and listen to the murmur of the plains and the song of the meadowlark. Try your hand at wielding an early Indian weapon, the atlatl, a dart-throwing tool that uses leverage to increase the speed of the dart.
River’s Edge Trail
With nearly 60 miles of paved and single-track trail along the Missouri River, the River’s Edge Trail provides the perfect opportunity for walking, hiking, jogging, skating, and biking. The trails surround spectacular views of the mountains, prairies, river canyons, waterfalls, and reservoirs. Connecting to Great Falls’ historic downtown, parks, restaurants, and attractions, the River’s Edge Trail is the perfect way to experience Great Falls. Trail highlights include 22 public art pieces, panoramic views of Great Falls at the Warden Park Gazebo, Singletrack trails built to IMBA standards, Access to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and the world’s largest freshwater springs and shortest river at Giant Springs State Park. Access to the trail is available from 18 parking lots, and has tables, trash receptacles, and restrooms facilities along the way.
Freezeout Lake | Highway 89, 5 minutes North of Fairfield, Montana | [automated waterfowl update hotline] 406-467-2646
Freezeout Lake is Montana’s primary snow goose staging area, where as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans gather and rest before flying onward. In Spring, the snow geese head for Alberta and central Saskatchewan in Canada. The Snow Geese reach Freezeout Lake in early March, where they rest up from a nearly 1,000-mile [1,609 km] flight from California. Freezeout Lake offers year-round opportunities for viewing wildlife, including upland game birds and raptors in winter, waterfowl migrations in spring and fall, and waterfowl and shorebirds in summer.
Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge | 922 Bootlegger Trail | 406-727-7400
The gently rolling terrain of Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by native prairie grass and surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides. Benton Lake protects, enhances, and restores the Nation’s wildlife heritage. Covering 12,383 acres, the Refuge is a 6,000-acre shallow wetland created by the last continental glacier thousands of years ago. By Executive Order of President Herbert Hoover in 1929, Benton Lake was set aside as a “refuge and breeding ground for birds.” Today, you can take a leisurely drive to the Refuge, walk on the deck that surrounds the Refuge, and enjoy the variety of birds, wildlife, and natural beauty that surrounds you.
Smith River State Park | 1005 Smith River Rd | 406-454-5840
Located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest and a scenic drive from Great Falls, Smith River State Park offers gorgeous scenery in a remote setting. Renowned trout fishing is just one of the recreational opportunities available. The coveted permit-only float trip on the 59-mile Smith River an unforgettable experience. The permit process provides for a quality, multi-day float in relative solitude. Prepare your camera for memorable landscapes at the Smith, regardless of a permit! Outfitter packages are available through select providers. If you wish to hire the services of an outfitter, do not apply for a private permit in the drawing, since each outfitter is allocated a specific number of launches for specific days of the week and month.
Roe River | Giant Springs State Park, 4803 Giant Springs Road | 406-727-1212
Running between Giant Springs and the Missouri River, the Roe River has the distinction of being the world’s shortest. At just 201 feet long and 8 feet deep, the Roe River’s source is Giant Springs, the largest freshwater spring in America. Today, you can enjoy the breath-taking scenery of the Roe River at Giant Springs State Park. The crystal-clear water provides a view of the natural plant life that thrives in the water.
The longest river in North America, with headwaters 160 miles south of Great Falls, flows through the heart of Great Falls. During westward expansion, The Missouri became the central part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Missouri River contributed to Great Falls’ nickname as the Electric City. Boasting 5 falls, and today, 5 hydroelectric dams. The Missouri River today provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and fun. From boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more, the Missouri River is an ideal location for your genuine Montana adventure and most easily accessible from Broadwater Bay and Broadwater Bay Park.
White Cliffs of the Wild and Scenic Missouri River
Downstream from Great Falls, the river runs through a rugged series of canyons and badlands known as the Missouri Breaks. This part of the river flows through the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument, a 375,000-acre preserve comprising steep cliffs, deep gorges, arid plains, badlands, archaeological sites, and whitewater rapids on the Missouri. The Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River is comprised of three contiguous segments and can be used to float and fish. Float one or all segments on your own, or outfitters are available to assist.
Segment 1 is a 42 mile [70 km] stretch from Fort Benton to Coal Banks Landing. Entrenched in a milewide, steep-walled valley composed of black-colored Marias River Shale, the river has a meandering habit, with bottomlands and islands, many covered with lush groves of cottonwoods. This segment of the river is largely bounded by private land, so off-river hiking opportunities are limited.
Segment 2 is a 46 mile [75 km] stretch from Coal Banks Landing to Judith Landing. Stephen Ambrose described the White Cliffs as “one of the most beautiful places on Earth.” Along this stretch, floaters pass three Lewis and Clark campsites, Indian habitation sites, and several still-standing homestead buildings dating to the 1900s.
Segment 3 is a 61 mile [100 km] stretch from Judith Landing to Kipp Recreation Area. Occupying a 1,000-foot-deep [305-meter-deep] canyon, this rugged stretch of the river is the wildest and the least traveled, making it a personal favorite of many. Excellent opportunities to view herds of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep exist, and elk are sometimes seen.
Bob Marshall Wilderness
‘The Bob’, a Congressionally designated wilderness area, can easily be accessed one hour west of Great Falls, Montana. The Bob Marshall Wilderness extends for 60 miles [97 km] along the Continental Divide and is the fifth-largest wilderness complex in the lower 48 states. Ranging in altitudes of 4,000 to 9,000 feet [1,219 to 2,743 meters], the highpoint of the Bob is the Chinese wall, an escarpment that averages 1,000 feet [305 meters] from its base and extends for 22 miles [35 km]. With numerous waterfalls, lakes, and dense forests, the wilderness is prime Grizzly bear habitat, and the population density of this species is higher than anywhere else in the US outside of Alaska. The Bob is home to many other large mammals, such as moose, elk, black bear, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, wolverine, mountain lion, lynx, and wolf. All this makes the Bob a great spot to hike and enjoy the splendor that is classic Montana. Motorized vehicles are not allowed, so you can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors in solitude. Fishing is allowed with a state license. Wilderness areas in the Bob allow in-season hunting with a permit. Get maps from the US Forest Service office or the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation to easily plan your day hikes or backpacking trips. Outfitters are available to provide backcountry excursions.
Sluice Boxes State Park | 38 Evans Riceville Rd | 406-454-5840
Bring your camera to this rugged area of pristine beauty and see the remains of mines, a railroad, and historic cabins lining Belt Creek as it winds through a beautiful limestone canyon. Soaring cliffs and steep ledges mark the Belt Creek Canyon as it slices out of the Little Belt Mountains and winds toward Belt. This rugged area has seen its share of prospectors, miners, muleskinners, smeltermen, and railroaders building bridges. A primitive, unmaintained trail provides access to fishing, challenging floats, and wildlife viewing. This park is designed for bold adventurers, steep cliffs, rugged terrain, and cold, swift water may pose risks. Any free-spirited adventurer can take in the beauty from the scenic overlook resting high above the Park!
Memorial Falls Trail is an excellent one-hour round-trip hike with a ½ mile walk to two scenic falls just off Highway 89. The hiking trail winds along belt creek and provides numerous opportunities for sightseeing and photography along the non-motorized trail.
Silver Crest Recreation Area | US Highway 89, Kings Hill Pass | 406-236-5100
The Silver Crest Winter Recreation area provides groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months. Silver Crest is located in the northwest corner of the Kings Hill Winter Recreation Parking Area. Ski trails and snowshoe trails are marked accordingly. Winter Trails Day is hosted at Silver Crest trails. The event includes snowshoe hikes and cross-country ski opportunities.
Showdown Montana | US Highway 89 Neihart, MT | 406-771-1300
Montana’s first ski hill, Showdown has operated since 1936. Showdown is a small-scale ski area that offers all-natural snow, short lines, and friendly people. Showdown harkens back to an era when skiing was fun regardless of your income. The summit is 8,200 feet and Showdown features over 2 dozen runs and over 20 feet of snow annually! The Ski Area is near the Kings Hill Scenic Byway in a high elevation area of the Little Belt Mountains near Neihart.
Teton Pass Ski Resort | Lewis and Clark National Forest | 406-466-2209
At Teton Pass, you will find zero lift lines, oh-so-rare continuous vertical, and some of the friendliest folks around. Teton Pass Ski Resort has tremendous alpine touring terrain above the lift and great backcountry skiing access. Teton Pass is located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, along the Rocky Mountain Front, home to one of the most beautiful places in Montana. At Teton Pass Ski Resort, your dollars go much further than at a typical ski resort. The summit is 8,600 feet [2,621 meters] and Teton boasts over 40 runs. In the heart of Central Montana, Teton Pass is a treasure waiting for you to discover.
Historic Lower North Side Residential Walking Tour
A cornucopia of architectural styles is found on Great Falls’ historic Lower North Side: Stately Queen Annes, sprawling Colonial Revivals, Tudor, Second Empire, Arts and Crafts, and Prairie. The second-oldest neighborhood in town – and the grandest – the Lower North Side harkens back to the early days in Great Falls when the Electric City was expanding rapidly and bursting with promise. It’s early houses were modest wooden abodes and a building boom from 1890 to 1893 gave way to the beautiful homes that made the Lower North Side the city’s premier neighborhood. The north side mansions were as and stylish, elegant, and majestic as mansions Back East. This area is home still to residents who take pride in their historic dwellings. Gibson Park borders the district’s west end, the neighborhood is close to downtown, and the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll. Maps available at Great Falls Montana Tourism’s basecamp at 100 1st Ave N.
River’s Edge History Walking Tour
Walk through the history of Great Falls, along the Missouri River, at your own pace. Starting on the North Side of the River, this walk through time will engage you with the Grizzly Bear encounter of Capitan Meriwether Lewis, 2500-year old Native American archaeological site, railroads and the large-scale hard rock mining, along with dawn of water powered electricity. Much of River’s Edge Trail is built on former roads and railroad lines. We encourage you to explore these historic transportation routes.
The Central Business Historic District Walking Tour
Art meets business on this tour through The Central Business Historic District in Great Falls. The details of 25 buildings and the stories of the entrepreneurs behind them provide great insight to the tenacity still present in our Central Business District entrepreneurs today! Maps available at Great Falls Montana Tourism’s basecamp at 100 1st Ave N.
Railroad Historic District Walking Tour
The parks and structures that comprise the Great Falls Railroad Historic District reflect the community’s development into central Montana’s trade, service, and cultural center. With many of the buildings in use today, this tour walks you through three major construction periods, creating diverse architectural styles. The district remains a historically and architecturally cohesive reminder of significant forces that shaped Great Falls.
Americans Hockey | Great Falls IcePlex, 4001 29th Street SW | 406-866-0247
The Great Falls Americans are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team that plays out of the Great Falls IcePlex. The players, ages 16–20, carry amateur status under Junior A guidelines and hope to earn a spot on a Canadian Major Junior, Collegiate, or minor professional team. Founded in 2011 as an expansion team, the Americans today host the annual Casey Cup and play a full season of games from October to March.
Great Falls Voyagers | Centene Stadium, 1015 25th Street N | 406-452-5311
The Pioneer League Champions, The Great Falls Voyagers are a highlight of summers in Great Falls. Playing other AAA minor league teams around the region, the Voyagers provide a fun experience at Centene Stadium from June to September. Join Orbit, the team mascot, before each game for autographs and picture opportunities. Member’s of Orbit’s Kids Club receive a FREE general admission ticket to a kids club game, along with 10% off merchandise, a welcome letter from Orbit, and the chance to throw out the first pitch before Kids Club Games. During the game, kids can enjoy watching the thrilling plays from the kid’s area equipped with a bounce house and enjoy ballpark concessions. The Voyagers are a Chicago White Sox affiliate and are named from the famed Mariana UFO incident in August 1950. This is when Nicholas Mariana, the general manager of the Great Falls Electrics, saw two spinning objects approaching at a seemingly high speed. Mariana recorded 16 seconds of footage of the unidentified flying objects.
Electric City Raceway | 2801 Old Havre Highway | 406-727-4884
Since 1952, Electric City Speedway has provided so much excitement, you can’t fence it in! Enjoy races every weekend April through September from some of the best drivers in the Northwest on the finest and fastest quarter-mile dirt track. This track brings stocks, sprints, modifieds and late models to race on a high-banked 3/10ths-mile clay oval with a wide 80-foot [24-meter] racing surface and concrete wall perimeter. A full catch fence, electronic scoring, 2,000 seat grandstand, and concessions make race nights an adventure in Great Falls.
University of Providence Athletics | 1301 20th Street South
College sports bring people together to cheer! Great Falls’ own Argos compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and have the following titles hanging in the hallways:
2009 Men’s Wrestling Champions
2006-07 Women’s Volleyball Champions
1981-82 AND 1982-83 Men’s Basketball Champions
1980-81 Women’s Basketball Champions
1973 NAIA Bowling Champions
Over the last 15 years, our Argo’s have made championship appearances in Rodeo, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Indoor Track and Field, Wrestling, Softball, Golf, and Soccer. Watch the Argos compete against some of the best in Rodeo, Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field, Wrestling, Softball, Golf, and Soccer.
Once upon a time, the buffalo roamed the plains in the hundreds of thousands. Their importance to the Plains Indians made them Monarchs of the Plain. The Buffalo Hunt project is a celebration of the Buffalo and the culture, history, and art of the area they once roamed. 26 life-size fiberglass buffalo and calves were created and sponsored, then artists painted their buffalo. Upon completion, the herd was unveiled in May 2005. Today, these buffalo reside around Great Falls, and a great way to see all the buffalo is by participating in the Buffalo hunt. The Buffalo Hunt is a celebration of artists and art, culture, and history, fun and friendship, community pride and participation. Let the Hunt Begin!
Electric City BMX | 1200 21st Avenue S | 406-217-8231
On a 1,100-foot [335 meter] track, Electric City BMX provides smiles, thrills, and spills to all ages. Bring a bike and ride with a free 1-day membership, or hang out, watch, and talk to riders and parents. If you don’t have your own equipment, loaner bikes and helmets for beginners are available. All riders must have long pants, long sleeves, and a helmet to be on the track. Ride at your own speed while you enjoy the views of Great Falls Montana’s diverse landscape from the track!
Glacier National Park
Use Great Falls as your Basecamp and head 2.5 hours north to Glacier National Park’s east entrance at St. Mary’s. The Crown of the Continent provides opportunities to experience breathtaking views, panoramic scenery, and abundant wildlife. The Going to the Sun Road is the best way to experience the alpine forest, glaciers, and meadows in the Park. The 52-mile [84 km] road takes you from one end of the park to the other, and along the way, you will see visitors from around the world, the famous red cars, and experience the natural history that formed the entire western half of the United States. Hiking, biking, and sightseeing adventures await.
Yellowstone National Park
America’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, has a celebrated and storied legacy. With 4 of the 5 park entrances in Montana, you can get to the entrance in Gardiner by traveling under 4 hours south of Great Falls, Montana. From the dramatic heights of Yellowstone Falls to Old Faithful, to Mammoth, Yellowstone offers the Montana you’ve always dreamed of seeing. Yellowstone National Park forms the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth. Greater Yellowstone’s diversity and natural wealth include the hydrothermal features, wildlife, vegetation, lakes, and geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.