Great Falls is a city that boasts grand traditions, rich history and superb recreational and cultural amenities. It’s also a city that’s known for its excellent public schools and affordable housing.
Tourist Attractions In Great Falls, Montana
Located in northwest Montana on the banks of the Missouri River, Great Falls is a vibrant and historic community with grand traditions, superb recreational and cultural amenities. This city is home to a number of world-class attractions, and the people are truly friendly.
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The Great Falls Bridge is a must-see attraction and a great place to snap a photo of the beautiful Montana skyline. It stretches across the Missouri River for a total of 1,130 feet and is considered one of the longest open-spandrel ribbed concrete arch bridges in the country.
Take a day to explore the Great Falls area and discover all of the things that make this a special place. You’ll discover museums, art galleries, shopping, and a lot more.
For families, the Children’s Museum of Montana is a must-see. It has a hands-on approach and teaches kids about math, science and the history of Montana. It also features interactive exhibits, like a play hospital and play credit union.
You can spend an afternoon or a whole day at the Great Falls Zoo or if you’re a fan of nature, check out the Montana Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a 12,000-acre sanctuary that’s home to hundreds of migrating bird species.
You can also visit the Valeria Public Library, the oldest in the state, and check out the Finding List, a soft-bound book that lists all of the materials it holds. The library is free and open to anyone.
Located on the Missouri River, Great Falls is the largest city in Montana. It is home to numerous dams that create hydroelectric power.
River’s Edge Trail #1
Whether you’re strolling or biking, River’s Edge Trail is a perfect destination for exploring the great outdoors. The 60-mile paved and single track trail provides spectacular views of mountains, prairies, river canyons, waterfalls, reservoirs and five hydroelectric dams while also connecting to downtown Great Falls and numerous parks, dining options and attractions.
To learn more about this award-winning urban trail, visit the River’s Edge Trail Foundation website. They’re a nonprofit organization that works with agency partners to develop, extend and maintain the trail system. The foundation’s mission is to provide trails for people to explore Great Falls’ outdoor opportunities and to improve the community’s quality of life.
They work hard to ensure the trails are safe and ADA accessible, with a variety of amenities to make your experience enjoyable, including benches, picnic tables, shelters, rest rooms, mileage/directional markers, and scenic overlooks.
Several interpretive panels were recently funded by local and state Conservation Districts along the trail, offering information on wetlands, shore and water birds, habitat, early railroads, aquatic invaders, and the role of Conservation Districts. This multi-agency cooperative approach is crucial to the success of the Trail and it’s future development.
C.M. Russell Museum #2
Russell Museum is a national landmark that displays the work of artist Charles Marion Russell. It features Russell’s 1903 log studio and his 1900 home, as well as collections of paintings, sculpture, and illustrated letters.
Known as “America’s Cowboy Artist,” Russell’s work portrayed the western landscape, range cowboy life, and Plains Indian culture. He also painted a number of scenes from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The museum also has a library that is used for research purposes. There are books about Russell’s art as well as other Western artists. It takes about three hours to visit the museum and see everything.
You should also visit the gift shop for a wide selection of Russell mementos and postcards. Russell’s paintings are very detailed and it’s a good idea to take your time. The museum is clean and the staff are very friendly.
|Address||400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, USA|
Giant Springs State Park #3
Giant Springs State Park is home to one of the largest freshwater springs in the country and is a popular destination for visitors from all over. Founded in the 1970s, the park includes a trout hatchery and an extensive network of recreational trails along the Missouri River.
Giant Spring originates in the Little Belt Mountains where rainfall and melted snow filter down through cracks in the Madison Limestone on its flanks. Water then flows underground and emerges at a rate of 242 cubic feet per second or 150 million gallons per day.
The springs are surrounded by 4,500 acres of land that is home to a variety of recreational activities. You can walk the scenic Rivers Edge Trail, enjoy a picnic by the Missouri River, check out Black Eagle Falls, visit the fish hatchery and visitor center, and more.
The visitor center right across from the springs features taxidermy mounts of grizzly and black bears, educational features on fish and bird recognition, wildlife photographs, and a mini theater that shows animal videos. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
|Address||4803 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, USA|
|Management||Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks|
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center #4
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a large museum facility built into a bluff overlooking Montana’s Missouri River. It’s located within Giant Springs Heritage State Park and offers information and exhibits about the 1803-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition that traveled across the West, bringing the United States to the western frontier.
The Interpretive Center brings the indomitable spirit of exploration to life through introductory videos, ranger programs and hands-on exhibits that tell the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s 8,000-mile journey.
The Center also explores the important experiences the expedition had with Plains and Northwest Native Americans, as well as the plants and animals documented by them.The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is free to visit until February, and offers a wide variety of activities and events for visitors of all ages.
There are introductory videos in the theater, ranger programs and an outdoor ranger tour that gives visitors a chance to see the Missouri River as it was during Lewis and Clark’s time. It also features several trails that are wheelchair accessible and have interpretive signs about the expedition’s travels and important experiences with the Plains and Northwest Indians.
|Address||4201 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, USA|
Missouri River #5
The Missouri River cuts through Great Falls, forming one of Montana’s most stunning natural wonders. It drops over 500 feet in a series of rapids and five breathtaking waterfalls that have earned the city its name.
Great Falls is the third-largest city in the state of Montana, with a population of over 60,000 people. It serves as a cultural, commercial and financial hub for central Montana. Several species of plants were also harvested in the area, including chokecherries, serviceberries and nodding onion.
Located near the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, the city of Great Falls was settled around the mighty Missouri River, which gives it its name. It is a cultural, commercial and financial center that is home to many different recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.
The Great Falls area was occupied by Native Americans before Europeans came to the region. Bison were common and the region was a favorite hunting grounds for both Nez Perce and Flathead Indians.
|Address||1130 17th Avenue South Great Falls, Montana, 59405|
Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art #6
The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is a great destination for those looking to explore the city’s rich history and culture. The museum is located in a historic building that was once used as a high school.
The museum focuses primarily on contemporary art. The exhibition galleries showcase the work of local, regional, and international artists. Visitors can also take part in a range of classes and workshops. These classes are offered for all ages and abilities.
The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is undergoing a collections assessment for preservation (CAP). This program provides museums with partial funding to conduct a general conservation assessment and receive an assessment report, highlighting prioritized recommendations for improving their collection care practices.
|Address||1400 1st Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, USA|
Gibson Park #7
Paris Gibson, one of the city founders, set aside land for a park when the town was platted in 1889. This beautiful park features walking paths, playgrounds, duck pond and other amenities. The park is also a great place to go for picnics and other outdoor activities.
It also offers a jogging path and a dog park for visitors to enjoy with their pets. This is a popular destination for both locals and travelers. There are several hiking trails and overlooks to explore, and the park is also home to a variety of birds and other wildlife.
A good spot for birdwatching & wildlife observation Large, leafy area featuring hiking trails, 160+ species of birds and an environmental center. It is a great spot to spend a relaxing day or two in a tranquil setting. The hike is short and easy, and the trail is surrounded by a lush forest.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center is offering free admission this January and February to encourage more visitors to come experience the park. This is a great way to help promote the center and make sure that people understand how it can be an important part of the community for everyone, no matter what season it is!
|Address||River, s Edge Trail, Great Falls, MT 59401, USA|
Sluice Boxes State Park #8
Sluice Boxes State Park is a popular hiking and camping destination that combines a rich history with scenic beauty. The park follows Belt Creek through a limestone canyon that features cliffs and ledges along with remnants of mining.
It also includes historic cabins and railroads. Back in the day, these areas served as pathways to mining towns in the Little Belt Mountains like Monarch, Neihart, and Albright. Hiking at Sluice Boxes State Park is excellent from spring through fall.
The 7.5-mile trails wind through the cliffs, Belt Creek and structures that are left from mining times. This is an all-time favorite among hikers, fishermen, history buffs, and wildlife enthusiasts.
The rocky terrain creates dramatic scenery as the creek is filled with wildlife. There are a few ways to access the park: by foot, by car, or by bus. Parking is free for Montana residents, and a non-resident fee is $8 per vehicle daily or $35 for a 7-day pass.
|Address||38 Evans Riceville Rd, Belt, MT 59412, USA|
|Management||Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks|
FAQs about Great Falls Montana
What is Great Falls known for?
Great Falls is a city in Montana known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is home to the famous Great Falls of the Missouri River, which provided a crucial point in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The city is also known for its history, culture, and vibrant arts scene.
Why is it called Great Falls?
Great Falls was named after the series of waterfalls located on the Missouri River, which provided a significant obstacle for early explorers and settlers. The falls are considered great because of their size and power, and they played a crucial role in the development of the region’s economy and transportation systems.