We LOVE Montana, and we’ve driven all over the state through many small cities such as Missoula, Bozeman, and Great Falls.
Great Falls may not be on your bucket list, but if you find yourself traveling through on your way to Glacier National Park or Yellowstone, you’ll be surprised at how enjoyable this little city can be.
Keep reading to find out what you can do in a few days in Great Falls, Montana!
Visit the Falls
It’s called Great Falls for a reason! The Missouri River tumbles over multiple falls in this area. You can see these from various viewpoints.
There are actually five separate falls along this stretch of the Missouri River: Great Falls, Crooked Falls, Rainbow Falls, Colter Falls, and Black Eagle Falls.
However, there are also multiple dams along the river, and one of them submerged Colter Falls.
Charlie Russell Museum
The Charlie Russell Museum was our favorite thing to do in Great Falls.
Charlie Russell and Frederick Remington are America’s two most famous western artists.
Charlie Russell lived in Great Falls, Montana. His cabin/studio has been preserved and is now part of the C.M. Russell Museum.
Cheryl had no desire to see this museum, but I insisted, and she was so glad I did. We both loved seeing his artwork!
The museum is very nice and houses some of America’s most famous paintings.
It also has other exhibits, including The Bison: American Icon. This is a very educational exhibit. If you don’t know anything about the story of the American Bison, you really need to check this out.
Fun fact: Charlie also frequented the Lake McDonald Lodge (at the time called the Bull Head Lodge) in Glacier National Park! In fact, the restaurant in the lodge is named after him: Russel’s Fireside Dining Room.
Some of Russell’s work is also housed in Cody, Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, as well as the Montana State Capitol Building.
- Learn the 12 best things to do in Montana!
See the shortest river in the world
Here’s a quirky site in Great Falls: the Roe River. It’s only 201 feet long and at one point was listed by the Guinness World Records as the shortest river in the world.
It was contested by Oregon and apparently, Guinness doesn’t list that category anymore.
Giant Springs State Park
The Roe River can be seen at Giant Springs State Park. Giant Springs is located right along the Missouri River.
Giant Springs State Park is a great little spot with easy parking and free entrance.
From here you can see the hot springs and falls, the Missouri River, and even visit the fish hatchery. Even if you’re not into fish or fishing (like me), fish hatcheries are interesting experiences!
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center tells the story of Lewis and Clark, who traveled UP the Missouri River.
This area was especially challenging for them because of the Falls.
The museum is larger than you’d expect because it is run by the National Park Service as part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
The museum is also located along the Missouri River. You can walk down to the river from the back of the museum.
This is a must-do historical museum in Great Falls.
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Bike along the River’s Edge Trail
Cheryl and I rode our bikes along the River’s Edge Trail and absolutely loved it. The views were awesome and it was a great way to see more of the city and the Missouri River.
Admire the art
The River’s Edge Trail was also a great way to see some enjoyable public art.
Great Falls has a lot of exciting art and sculptures all around, including a very strange-looking Bison/Fish creature!
Have an alien encounter at the ballpark
We LOVE minor league baseball games because they provide a great insight into the city’s culture.
The Great Falls Voyagers are so-named because there was once a famous UFO sighting here. The Mariana UFO Incident occurred in 1950 right here on the baseball field!
Today, the team really hams it up! The mascot is an alien. They serve space ice cream. And the burgers are shaped like UFOs!
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park
We didn’t make it to this Buffalo Jump, but we’ve visited Buffalo Jumps at other locations in the west.
If you’ve never heard of a Buffalo Jump, it’s where Native Americans used to create a bison stampede and run them off a cliff, providing an efficient way of killing many bison at once.
Things to do nearby
There are many beautiful things to see in the Great State of Montana. Here are just a few near Great Falls.
Glacier National Park
Most people who travel through Great Falls are probably on a road trip to or from Glacier National Park.
Glacier is an absolutely gorgeous place. Please visit our Glacier Page for all our trip-planning resources for Glacier National Park.
Bozeman & Yellowstone
Many travelers start their Montana adventure by flying into Bozeman. Bozeman is also the jumping-off point for many Yellowstone visitors.
If you’re headed to either of these places, make sure to check out our article on Bozeman & Southern Montana, as well as our Yellowstone Trip Planner.
Located in Lewistown, Montana is the visitor center for an interesting new experiment called The American Prairie Reserve.
This is a nonprofit organization that is trying to buy up private land, that is near public land, and turn it into a giant prairie for wildlife.
It’s easy to love and protect mountain areas. But the overlooked prairies housed most of the wildlife before they were settled and farmed.
The American Prairie Reserve is trying to fix that by restoring the prairie.
Helena is the state capital of Montana. In addition to visiting the Montana State Capitol building, there are Lewis and Clark sites, ornate churches, and gorgeous scenery in and around Helena, Montana.
Is there anything else I should know?
Great Falls, Montana is one of the great places to visit in Montana, but there are others! Head on over to our Montana page for all our resources on visiting this great state, including its two national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone.