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Montana: State Facts, Interesting Trivia, Must See Places and Mementos

Updated on June 15, 2017
Montana [1]
Montana [1]

Montana State Facts - Just Some Basics

Montana - 41st State in the Union [2]
Montana - 41st State in the Union [2]
Montana State Flag [3]
Montana State Flag [3]
Montana State Seal [3]
Montana State Seal [3]
Montana State Quarter [3]
Montana State Quarter [3]

State Abbreviation: MT

State Birthday: Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889.

State Size: Montana is the 4th largest state with 147,042 square miles.

Origin of the State Name: the state name Montana comes from the Spanish word montaña for mountain or mountainous country.

Name for Residents: Montanans

State Flag: the state flag is the Montana state seal centered on a blue background.

State Capital: Helena

State Motto: Oro Y Plata (Gold and Silver)

State Nickname: Treasure State / Big Sky Country

Border States: Montana is bordered by the state of Idaho to the southwest and west, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east and Wyoming to the south.

Border Country: Canada

Montana is one of the least densely populated states in the country with an average of only six people per square mile; elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber humans.

Flathead Lake, named after the Flathead Indians and located south of Kalispell, is the largest freshwater lake between the Mississippi River and Pacific Ocean.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Montana's Roe River is the world's shortest river, measuring only 201 feet long.

For those who enjoy bird watching, Montana is a haven for various species of migratory birds: white pelicans at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, snow geese and tundra swans at the Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area and bald eagles at the Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area.

Montana History in Photos


"Flathead Family" (no date)

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation are composed of the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreilles (pronounced pond-oray) Tribes, otherwise known as the Flathead Indians. Although referred to by this name, these tribes did not engage in head flattening rituals as other tribes did. The tipi (also spelled tepee or teepee) in the background was their traditional home as they were nomadic and followed the lifestyle of many Plains Indians of the time.


"Old car driving through snow three miles south of Browning." (no date)

Snow and Montana are rather synonymous. But it is truly hard to imagine the difficulties of driving one of these old cars through heavy snow that could send a much large vehicle into the ditch.

Montana State Symbols

Click thumbnail to view full-size
State Bird: Western Meadowlark [4]State Tree: Ponderosa Pine [5]State Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass [3]State Flower: Bitterroot [6]State Animal: Grizzly Bear [3]State Fish: Westslope or Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout [3]State Butterfly: Mourning Cloak [7]State Gemstone: Sapphire [8]State Gemstone: Montana Agate [x]State Fossil: Duck-Billed Dinosaur [9]
State Bird: Western Meadowlark [4]
State Bird: Western Meadowlark [4]
State Tree: Ponderosa Pine [5]
State Tree: Ponderosa Pine [5]
State Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass [3]
State Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass [3]
State Flower: Bitterroot [6]
State Flower: Bitterroot [6]
State Animal: Grizzly Bear [3]
State Animal: Grizzly Bear [3]
State Fish: Westslope or Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout [3]
State Fish: Westslope or Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout [3]
State Butterfly: Mourning Cloak [7]
State Butterfly: Mourning Cloak [7]
State Gemstone: Sapphire [8]
State Gemstone: Sapphire [8]
State Gemstone: Montana Agate [x]
State Gemstone: Montana Agate [x]
State Fossil: Duck-Billed Dinosaur [9]
State Fossil: Duck-Billed Dinosaur [9]

State Bird: Western Meadowlark

State Tree: Ponderosa Pine

State Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass

State Wildflower: Bitterroot

State Animal: Grizzly Bear

State Fish: Westslope or Blackspotted Cutthroat Trout

State Butterfly: Mourning Cloak

State Gemstones: Sapphire and Montana Moss Agate

State Fossil: Duck-Billed Dinosaur

State Song: “Montana”

"I Didn't Know That!" - Some of Montana's Little Known Facts

Famous Montanans

Dirk Benedict (actor - Helena)

Gary Cooper (actor - Helena)

Patrick Duffy (actor - Townsend)

Myrna Loy (actress – Helena)

Michelle Williams (actress – Kalispell)

Phil Jackson (basketball coach – Deer Lodge)

Evel Knievel (stunt motorcyclist - Butte)

Jeanette Rankin (first women elected to Congress - Missoula)

David Lynch (filmmaker - Missoula)

Chet Huntley (TV newscaster - Cardwell)

George Woolf (Seabiscuit's jockey - Babb)

Dana Carvey (comedian – Missoula)



By 1905, the Centennial Brewing Company, only one of Butte’s five largest breweries, was pouring almost 1,000,000 pints a day for the locals!



The most isolated town in the Lower 48 is Jordan, Montana: 175 miles from the nearest airport, 85 miles from the nearest bus line and 115 miles from the nearest train station!

● Montana has some towns with amusing names:

  • Cowboy's Heaven
  • Blazing Place
  • Stovepipe
  • Hungry Horse
  • Number Seven
  • Birdseye
  • Pray
  • Hog Heaven
  • Volt
  • Opportunity
  • Muddy
  • Stoner Place
  • Nimrod
  • Pappas Place
  • Eightmile Saddle
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Gold Coin
  • Free Deal
  • Zero

● The largest snowflake ever was recorded at Fort Keogh in January 1887: it was almost 15 inches in diameter!

● The coldest temperature ever recorded in the Lower 48 was in a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass in January 1954: -70°F!

● Montana was the only state in the Lower 48 to not have a battleship named after it during World War II.

● More gem-quality sapphires are found in Montana than in any other state, the Yogo sapphires being named after the only place they are mined, Yogo Gulch. There are claims that Yogos were used in the crown jewels of England, but this can not be conclusively proven or disproven.

Interesting Places to Visit When in Montana

Museum of the Rockies © [10]
Museum of the Rockies © [10]


In Montana, a “Jack ditch” means “a Jack Daniel’s and water”!

Museum of the Rockies (MOR), located in Bozeman, is home to the largest and most important collection of dinosaur fossils in the world, housing 13 Tyrannosaurus rex specimens alone. Famous paleontologist, Dr. Jack Horner, not only produced this exhibit but is the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on all three of his Jurassic Park films.

C.M. Russell - "Buccaroos" [3]
C.M. Russell - "Buccaroos" [3]

► Charles Marion Russell moved to Montana when he was 16 and lived there the rest of his life. After working as a cowboy and wrangler for 11 years, he retired to pursue his real passion – painting the lives of cowboys, American Indians and landscapes. Today they sell for millions. Visit the C.M. Russell Museum to see one of the most complete collections of his art and memorabilia in the world.

Blackfoot Tipi Village [11]
Blackfoot Tipi Village [11]

► For those who find Native American culture fascinating, Browning, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, would be a definite point of interest. The Blackfoot Tipi Village gives its visitors a unique place to stay and a genuine view of Blackfoot Indian history, traditions, artwork, historic sites and even cuisine! Browning is also the home of the Piegan Institute and the Cuts Wood School, both organizations created to preserve the Blackfoot language and culture.

Beargrass in Glacier National Park [3]
Beargrass in Glacier National Park [3]

► See them while you can! Unfortunately, the glaciers after which Glacier National Park is named are rapidly melting due to global warming. So far there are still 25 named glaciers left, but some scientists predict that if current trends continue, even they may be gone by 2030. The spectacular scenery in this park is a “must see”.

► Virginia City and its sister, Nevada City, were both founded in 1863 during the gold rush to the area. Over 150 of the town's original buildings have been restored and are accessible to the public as open air museums.

Where to Find Those Interesting Places in Montana

show route and directions
A markerMuseum of the Rockies - Bozeman, MT -
get directions

B markerC.M. Russell Museum - Great Falls, MT -
get directions

C markerBlackfoot Tipi Village - Browning, MT -
get directions

D markerGlacier National Park, MT -
get directions

E markerVirginia City / Nevada City, MT -
get directions

And You Know You're From Montana When . . .

You know that although driving is sometimes better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, that's offset by the thick layer of ice on the roads that forms natural "speed bumps".

Your version of the four seasons includes: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.

You frequently use the trunk of your car as a deep freezer in the winter.

You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit and think nothing of trick-or-treating in a blizzard.

You know that there is nothing quite as fun as sledding off of your roof in the winter.

You don't even blink an eye when elk, moose, bear and other such wildlife invade your town's park.

Check out these Montana Hubs by other Hubbers:

Photo Credits:

[1] Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

[2] By TUBS, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[3] Wikipedia Public Domain

[4] By Kevin Cole, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[5] By Clyde frog, CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[6] Stan Shebs, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

[7] By Kymi, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[8] By Montanabw, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[9] By Nobu Tamura, GFDL or CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

[10] Courtesy of the Museum of the Rockies ©

[11] Courtesy of Angelika Harden-Norman

[12] Courtesy of the Montana Department of Transportation

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