woman standing near the lake surrounded by mountains for fall in Montana

My trip to Montana last week literally felt like I was in a real life painting! I’ve never seen so many beautiful fall trees with bright yellow, orange and red leaves. In Dallas, I have one tree on my street that gets bright yellow leaves on it in the fall but that lasts for maybe one week…sigh. I tried to take a ton of pictures, but also wanted to take it all in and not be behind a camera the entire trip. These pictures don’t even do Montana justice because it was so breathtaking!

So I randomly won this trip to Montana back in June at a press event with Glacier Montana and Destination Missoula (almost didn’t attend the event!). When I got the email saying I won I knew my dad would LOVE to go on this trip. Since he has taken me on so many trips in the last thirty years I figured I should invite him and my mom on the trip. If you watched any of my Instagram stories you saw he didn’t take off his cowboy hat through almost the entire trip, haha. But if you are in Montana why not?

FALL IN MONTANA: PACKING GUIDE

Cowboy hat
Flannel shirt (or 3…)
Denim shirt
Hiking boots
Water resistant coat

woman wearing denim jacket and tights outside for fall in Montana

We split our time between Missoula and Whitefish which was perfect because the drive up was amazing. I do wish we would’ve had one more day because there was so much to do. I’ll share everything we did with you all below. Plus, the weather was absolutely perfect and I did not want to come back to the Dallas humidity.

After landing in Missoula on Monday afternoon we decided to take the afternoon to explore the cute town. We grabbed a bite to eat and then went on a distillery tour at Montgomery Distillery where I wore this fur jean jacket. By far the best purchase for this trip!! Did y’all know whiskey gets it’s color from the wood barrels being charred on the inside?! Learn something new everyday!

TIP:

There is now a direct flight to Missoula on American Airlines! Super quick and easy from DFW!

woman trekking near the muddy river banks for fall in Montana

The next day my dad and I went fly fishing about an hour outside of Missoula. I grew up on the lake fishing so I felt pretty good about catching a fish. Although I’m not a very patient person so can’t say I’d be down to do this all day long, ha. (BTW…We had to have bear spray while hiking around the river!!) My dad caught a fish on his second cast! #showoff 😉 I got the hang of the casting thing fairly quickly… Probably because I was freezing my butt off and was eager to catch a fish so I could get back in the car. Low and behold I finally caught one!

woman caught a fish in the river for fall in Montanaman holding a fish he caught while fishing for fall in Montanawoman holding a glass of beer and wearing jeans, shirt, and white jacket for fall in Montana

There are a TON of breweries in the area!

We could’ve done an entire day of brewery hopping if we had more time. We actually found a beer my mom liked which was a huckleberry cider so that’s an accomplishment. **They are known for huckleberry in Western Montana so literally EVERYTHING was “huckleberry this or huckleberry that” but I’m a huge fan now. My shirt kinda matches the huckleberry theme! Also, this white teddy bear coat came in clutch on the trip.

woman and horse in the outdoors for fall in Montana

I think the horseback ride through the countryside and river was my absolute favorite thing we did in Montana. I wasn’t expecting to be so adventurous because most horseback rides are pretty low key. Ummmmm…no we were galloping up the mountainside and trotting through a river!

woman holding a white pumpkin with pumpkins on her background for fall in Montana

Stopping at Sweet Pickins Pumpkin Patch on our drive to Whitefish was a highlight of the drive up! Like how stinkin cute is this place?! I was definitely the oldest “kid” at this place but I didn’t care one bit. When I become a grandma I’m so opening a little pumpkin patch like this place.

pumpkin picking store for fall in Montana

three people standing near the lake for fall in Montana

I don’t know how many lakes or rivers there are in Montana because there are sooooo many… However, I do know Flathead Lake is the biggest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi (I think?). We drove around the east side of the lake on the way up to Whitefish because it’s a bit more scenic.

woman standing in the pedestrian and holding a coffee

We made it to Whitefish late afternoon where we stayed at The Lodge at Whitefish.

This place was everything you could imagine a lodge would be… There was a huge fireplace in the lobby and a giant bear statue when you walked in. It overlooked Whitefish Lake which had the most beautiful sunset views.

Okay the actual town of Whitefish was the cutest mountain town I’ve ever been to. My mom and I had so much fun popping in and out of all the little shops. I’m 100% coming back up here for ski season because I know it would be so pretty when it’s snowing out.

woman standing in the Glacier National Parkwoman walking around the Glacier National Park.

The biggest reason to visit Western Montana is to go into Glacier National Park.

We almost didn’t get to go!! They got 10 inches of snow the night before we were planning to up and do a hike. I was soooo bummed because I had been looking at photos all week on Instagram and I was determined to get a photo up there…success!!!!!

Y’all… I know I’ve said everything was so pretty but this was the icing on the cake. It was BEAUTIFUL! Even though we could only go up into the park about 16 miles it was absolutely worth it. There was snow on the ground and even though it was a little cloudy it didn’t matter. Everywhere you looked it was pretty. I really really really wanted to do a real hike, but my parents were not going to make it on a 2 mile hike. Next time next time…

On our way back down through the park we finally found “the spot” where I took the picture at the very beginning of this post. Even though the area had just had major wildfires and a lot of the mountainside was burnt it was still picture perfect.

woman standing near the fireplace

woman spending fall in Montana and drinking wine in the outdoors

I know most people would probably want to go up to Montana in the summer when it’s perfect weather… Especially if you live in the south. However, I really would encourage you to go around the end of September to see these fall colors. It’s a little colder but this was a trip I’ll remember for a lifetime.

WHAT TO DO IN MONTANA

Fly Fishing
Horseback Ride at Dunrovin Ranch
Distillery Tour
Drive around Flathead Lake
Sweet Pickins Pumpkin Patch
Dinner/drinks at The Lodge at Whitefish
Shopping in Whitefish
Plan a hike in Glacier National Park!!!!!!!

I don’t have a ton of restaurant recommendations because nothing was “omg good”, but this trip was more about all the things to do so I didn’t care about eating (which is odd…). Just make sure to get all the things huckleberry!

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