This autumn, fly to Great Falls, Montana, your “basecamp” for art and adventure with seasonal treats, fall foliage, craft beers, and a cornucopia of outdoor activities. Play in the Applestem Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, choose from four golf courses, or mountain bike on any of the numerous trails that cater to all skill levels. You also can go hunting, fishing, rock climbing; kayak on the Missouri or Sun rivers; or play tennis, basketball, or pickleball at the city parks. When winter hits you can try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or downhill skiing.
Named by Meriweather Lewis, who described them as “...the grandest sight I ever beheld...,” the Great Falls are more than 80 feet high. Between 1890 and 1958, dams were built on all five of Great Falls’ waterfalls. The scenery is still dramatic, though, and there are several spots along River Drive to stop, take pictures, and enjoy the river, city, and fall colors. The River’s Edge Trail enables you to walk, jog, fish, or bike for over 50 miles along both sides of the Missouri River, the longest river in North America. Along the way you’ll see 24 pieces of one-of-a-kind art and the urban center of Great Falls. Montana's most-visited state park, Giant Springs, is also accessible from the River’s Edge Trail. Giant Springs is one of America’s largest freshwater springs, flowing at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day and 54 degrees year-round. A magnet for birders, the park also has a fish hatchery, fishing ponds, and nice views of Black Eagle Falls.
Great Falls boasts more museums per capita than any other city in the state of Montana. Visit the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum and Air Park, or the Montana Museum of Railroad History. The C.M. Russell Museum is dedicated to the famed cowboy artist’s work. Voted Montana’s best museum, it houses 2,000 Russell works of art and artifacts. Don’t miss the new permanent exhibit “The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture” featuring unforgettable Russell works. Speaking of bison, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park tells the story of perhaps the largest prehistoric bison kill-sites in the United States and captures daily life for Montana’s first peoples. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is artfully positioned on a scenic bluff overlooking the Missouri River and designed to blend into the landscape. The interpretive center has North America’s most extensive display of exhibits detailing the Lewis and Clark expedition. The centerpiece of the museum is a dramatic two-story diorama of the vessel that carried the explorers.
Aside from outdoor recreation, wildlife, and museums, brewers in Great Falls produce an amazing selection of craft brews. The city lies at the southern corner of the Golden Triangle, an area of Montana known for ideal wheat-growing conditions. Grab a 48-page Montana Brewery Passport with its tasting guide and complete list of breweries so you can take full advantage of the Great Falls microbrewery scene. Try the Celtic Cowboy, voted Montana’s best Irish pub. It’s in the same historic building as the Hotel Arvon and Dark Horse Hall and Wine Snug. For something completely different, visit the Sip ‘n Dip Lounge, hailed by GQ Magazine as the No. 1 bar in the world worth flying for. The lounge is home to Montana's only live mermaid show and Montana's best Tiki drink! Plus, you can sing along with Piano Pat to all your favorite classic and modern tunes.
Don’t forget the plush historic Mansfield Theater, known for its elegant architecture and excellent acoustics. It is home to the Great Falls Philharmonic Orchestra. Upcoming plays include the Broadway hits Jersey Boys” and Rent. Make Great Falls your great fall getaway this year!
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