Welcome to Montana
The wide open US state of Montana, bordering three Canadian
provinces, boasts no major big cities, but is the fourth largest
state in the Union, stretching across the prairie of the Great
Plains, known as 'Big Sky Country'.
Plains? 'Montana' is Spanish for mountains, and indeed the State
is usually regarded as mountainous because the Rocky Mountain chain
traverses its western zone. Sixty percent of the state, though, is
prairie. Agricultural lands provide Montana's bread and butter, and
some of the USA's most attractive and renowned national parks,
wildlife refuges and forests provide a tasty topping.
In Montana are the renowned Yellowstone National Park, the
Glacier National Park and the Bighorn Canyon, to name just a few
natural attractions under the big sky. Yellowstone, with more than
two million acres of geysers, is the largest and most famous
national park in the world, spilling over into Idaho and Wyoming,
while the magnificent Glacier park covers one million acres of
rugged mountain terrain, forests, waterfalls and glaciers.
Montana is thus an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with a
multitude of opportunities for hiking, riding, hunting, and fishing
in summer, and skiing in winter. Native American culture also
features high on its list of attractions, the prairies having been
home to legendary tribes like the Cheyenne, Crow and Blackfeet. The
various reservations are strongholds of their heritage where
traditional dress is worn, rituals are performed and arts and
crafts produced. Also fascinating for visitors is to explore the
'ghost towns' that were left behind after the 1862 gold rush, the
many museums and art galleries, and the historic buildings and
battlefields of this multi-faceted state.
Information & Facts
Montana's east and west regions, separated by the Continental
Divide, experience different climates, although generally the state
tends to be hot and dry in summer and cold in winter, with snow.
The west tends to have a milder climate than the east, with warmer
winters, cooler summers and lighter winds, and rainfall is more
evenly distributed throughout the year. The east, however, tends to
have less humidity than the west, as well as more sunny days on
average. Montana's cold winters are frequently broken by warm,
windy spells in the east, known as 'Chinook' weather, which can
last for several days at a time. The heaviest snowfall throughout
the state is from November to March, and most cities receive an
annual average of 30 to 50 inches (76 to 127cm). Rainfall is
generally light, with most falling between May and July.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT -7 (GMT -6 from March to November).