9 Top-Rated Waterfalls in Montana (2023)
When they brag about the richness of nature in Montana, they literally mean everything, Waterfalls as well. Amidst countless unnamed cascades, there are 120 named and known waterfalls in Montana. Being a mountains state, there are tall, lush and gorgeous waterfalls within the boundaries of Big Sky Country. While most of them are found in and around the Rocky Mountain region, quite a few are also housed within Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. From seasonal falls to large roaring ones or the smaller and safer ones, waterfalls in the Big Sky State are of variety.
The hunt for waterfalls in Montana is quite exciting. Travellers chase them through highly scenic trails and sometimes via the off-beaten paths. Some waterfalls are easier to reach, whereas others require a fine bit of trekking. Though whatever it takes, the process of seeking waterfall and the end result; both are appealing on their own.
The Best Montana Waterfalls
For anyone who is looking for adventure in the state of Montana, here are some of the most famous waterfalls they can visit. Have a look:
1. Florence Falls
Hidden beside a bit of off-beaten path, the Florence Falls is every hiker’s hot spot. It isn’t a very common stop in every traveller’s itinerary. If you can take pain for splendid rewards, do take the trail to Florence Falls. The trailhead begins at the Jackson Glacier Overlook right off the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The trail is 4.7 miles one way, growing largely through the forest. On your way, you will observe Deadwood Falls, a smaller waterfall and views of the surrounding mountains. Further, you will reach Florence Falls, which is at its best during monsoon and spring. There are a few campsites nearby for someone who wants to stay back.
2. Virginia and St. Mary’s Falls
Virginia and St. Mary’s Falls are the two Montana falls located in proximity. You can’t just visit one and miss the other. The trail begins off the Going-to-the-Sun Road and is considered short and easy. Passing through a couple of small and unnamed falls, it first leads to St. Mary’s Fall views. Hikers often stand at the bridge that crosses the creek and soak into the gorgeousness of St Mary. Further, with a little more hiking efforts, one can ultimately reach for the views of powerful-looking Virginia Falls. The entire hike is no more than 2.5 miles and is comfortable for everyone to walk. Along the way, there are a few lakes for swimming and endless locations for a picture-perfect opportunity.
3. Kootenai Falls
You may have seen Kootenai Falls in the Oscar-winning film ‘’The Revenant” if not in person. The waterfall is within the Kootenai River just east of the Idaho Panhandle within the wild stretches of forest. With several small cascades, Kootenai Falls feature a drop of over 300 feet, one of the largest in Montana. The best way to grab the views of the fall is from a swinging bridge that crosses the river just below the fall. Upon standing at the bridge, one can observe the beautiful fall, the incredible views of nature and maybe some wildlife around. Wild animals are often spotted here, including beer, bighorn sheep, whitetail deer, elk, moose, and mule deer. It is also a great area for fishing and wildlife viewing.
4. Apikuni Falls
Apikuni is a small and skinny waterfall, but when you look at it during spring, the views definitely impress. With the highest drop of 150 feet, Apikuni cascades from several rocks and ledges. Even under the main fall, much smaller falls and cascades make for picture perfection. Hike to the Apikuni falls begin from one of the parking lots of Glacier National Park, and it is around 1.7 miles for a round trip. Upon hiking on the trail to Apikuni fall, you will come across the scenic allure of the surrounding forest and the valley underneath. When the first snow melts, the trail to the fall remains quite populated.
5. Woodbine Falls
Woodbine Falls is a twisting waterfall located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. It is one of the largest Montana falls, with the tallest cascade not less than 300 feet. It floats down further into the Stillwater River, another gorgeous observation of the place. Woodbine Falls is located near Nye, Montana and reaching the ultimate stop is quite easy. It is no more than a 1.5 miles round trip, pretty basic, short and yet scenic. Though it still isn’t one of the most visited falls due to its setting in the quiet part of the state. The area around Woodbine Falls is also great for afternoon picnicking; just stay safe from bears.
6. Natural Bridge Falls
The Natural Bridge Falls is an off-beat yet must-visit waterfall in Montana. It is located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest and stays at an impressive action during spring and monsoon. This 100 feet waterfall disappear under a bedrock and then re-emerge from a collapsed cave system. Hiking up to the fall is suitable for hikers of all ages and skills. On the way, you will come across incredible scenery, and breathtaking views that are a must be photographed. Even though the region has less cell accessibility, travellers often choose to explore it. Natural Bridge Falls is known for the waterfall and is also a popular picnic area in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
7. Ousel Falls
However, Ousel Falls is just 50 feet but by far the best waterfall in Montana. Hikers can take four different trails leading to the fall, all providing a different perspective of nature. While one trail provides the best views, the other leads towards the top of the fall, providing a ravishing overlook. Though all the trails are open year-round, the best time to be here is during the spring season. If you are planning to cover the Ousel Falls, make sure you go prepared with anti-slip shoes. On the way or while observing the fall from different angels, you may come across several slippery stones. It is also a decent picnic spot in case you want to stop, relax, and eat.
8. Special Mention: The Weeping Wall
Located right along the Going-to-the-Sun Road in the Glacier National Park, the Weeping Wall is a surprising geological formation. It is basically a unique waterfall that escapes from the Garden wall and the side of Haystack Butte. The Weeping wall is basically 100 feet long, with several small and tall waterfalls lined one after another. It is fed by snowmelt, and thus it appears its best during the early and mid of Spring season. As the season progress, the fall simply disappears, leaving no signs behind. Travellers passing the Going-to-the-Sun Road often stop here to soak under the fall, observe the views or simply for clicking some beautiful pictures.
9. Other Popular Waterfalls to Visit in Montana
- Rubbing Eagle Falls (It is located in Two Medicine Valley in the Glacier National Park. The drop here, though, aren’t high but gorgeous enough to hike for).
- Pinkham Creek Falls (It is one of the best waterfall hiking options for advance level hikers. You can reach it in the northwest region of Montana, in Rexford).
- Palisade Falls (It is the most accessible waterfall ideal for taking wheelchairs and strollers as well. As long as your dog is on a leash, the trail behaves dog-friendly as well. You can reach Palisade just outside Bozeman in the Hyalite Recreation Area).