Unplugging in Montana: Discovering the Best Picnic Spots to Chill and Decompress

Montana, the land of wide-open spaces and untamed beauty, offers a plethora of picturesque picnic spots where you can escape the hectic pace of life and unwind. Whether you're seeking solitude or a place to gather with loved ones, these comfortable corners will transport you to a state of pure relaxation.

1. Lake McDonald (Glacier National Park) - Nestled amidst Glacier National Park's majestic peaks lies Lake McDonald, an idyllic spot for a lazy afternoon picnic. Spread your blanket on its pebbly shore and feast your eyes on the crystal-clear waters reflecting snow-capped mountains. As you savor local delicacies like huckleberry pie and bison burgers, let Fenton MacLeod's "Big Sky Country" inspire your soul.

2. Giant Springs State Park (4803 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls) - Just outside Great Falls awaits an unexpected oasis at Giant Springs State Park. Take respite from exploring Lewis & Clark's historic trail by settling down near one of America's largest freshwater springs. The gurgling water provides a soothing soundtrack as you munch on locally sourced cheese from Flathead Valley or sip on ice-cold craft beer brewed nearby.

3. Bannack Ghost Town (Bannack State Park, Dillon) - For those seeking a unique experience steeped in history, head to Bannack Ghost Town in Dillon—a former mining town turned preserved relic frozen in time since 1864. Spread out your checkered blanket amidst dilapidated buildings while contemplating Ivan Doig's captivating novel "This House Of Sky," which chronicles his childhood growing up among Montana’s solitary ranches.

4. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park (25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Rd., Whitehall)- Venture underground for an extraordinary picnic experience at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. After marveling at the stunning limestone formations on a guided tour, emerge into daylight and enjoy a picnic surrounded by panoramic views of the Jefferson Valley. Let Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It" remind you of Montana's wild allure.

5. Red Lodge Mountain (305 Ski Run Rd., Red Lodge) - Escape to higher altitudes at Red Lodge Mountain, where a picturesque mountaintop picnic spot awaits you. Take in sweeping vistas of rugged peaks as you indulge in locally sourced charcuterie and wine from nearby vineyards—letting Jack Kerouac’s beatnik spirit infuse your daydreams.

6. Kootenai Falls (Kootenai National Forest, Libby) - Prepare to be humbled by the raw power and beauty of Kootenai Falls near Libby. Find solace amidst towering cedars while enjoying smoked trout caught fresh from local streams or sipping on coffee brewed strong enough to rival Hemingway's preferred Cuban blend.

As you venture to these corners that embody Montana's untamed spirit, remember to tread lightly, respecting nature and leaving no trace behind. So pack your basket with local delights, grab your favorite literature inspired by this wild land, and embark on an adventure that will nourish both body and soul.


- Glacier National Park: www.nps.gov/glac

- Giant Springs State Park: stateparks.mt.gov/giant-springs

- Bannack Ghost Town: bannack.org

- Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park: stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns

- Red Lodge Mountain: www.redlodgemountain.com

- Kootenai Falls: visitmt.com/listings/general/natural-feature/kootenai-falls.html

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Glacier National Park

United States

4803 Giant Springs Road
Great Falls, MT
United States

Bannack State Park

Dillon, MT
United States

25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Rd.
Whitehall, MT
United States

305 Ski Run Rd.
Red Lodge, MT
United States

Kootenai National Forest

Libby, MT
United States