Located between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, Great Falls, Montana, is surrounded by natural beauty and recreational opportunities. A local author and outdoor enthusiast has written that “You can travel in any direction from Great Falls and within two hours be in remote, spectacular country.”
The Missouri River flows through town and offers some of the country’s best fly fishing. The nearby and dramatic Rocky Mountain Front offers unbeatable hiking. Bird and big game hunting are popular pastimes. In winter, powder skiing is an hour’s drive away in the Little Belt Mountains. Without even leaving town, you can walk, jog, skate or bike along the River’s Edge Trail, a 25-mile path along the Missouri River.
Great Falls is also rich in cultural opportunities. The Great Falls Symphony and its resident chamber ensembles have a strong presence in the community. Great Falls is known as the Western Art Capital, and it also boasts a dynamic contemporary art museum. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center and other museums represent the fascinating history of the area.
Great Falls is known for its good schools and for being a safe place to raise a family. The sane pace of living and lower cost of living make it a wonderful place to call home. Its affordable housing market didn’t reach the highs much of the country experienced and therefore remains strong. That means that in Great Falls the “good life” is within easy reach.
The Missouri River
Downtown Great Falls, MT
Great Falls was founded in 1883 by Paris Gibson and railroad tycoon James J. Hill. The city was established to generate power from the nearby waterfalls. In the early days it was known as a businessman’s town. Industries and the supply business were flourishing. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company was the largest employer.
Significant growth occurred with the construction of a military base in the 1940’s. However, during the late portion of the century, declines in the rail transportation business and the farming population as well as the shutting down of the smelter reduced the city’s population. In 1950 a citizen filmed what he perceived to be a UFO. The claim received national attention and is considered to be one of the first major UFO incidents in the country.
Points of Interest
- Children’s Museum of Montana
- Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
- Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum.
- C.M. Rusell Museum features the home of Charlie Russell, the renowned cowboy artist.
- First Friday Art Walk.
- The Cowboy Museum is an authentic log cabin and contains a vast number of artifacts.
- Giant Springs Heritage State Park includes one of the biggest natural cold water springs in the entire world.
- The city’s water falls are notable attractions.
- Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is an attractive structure made from sandstone and is a National Historic Landmark.
- Cascade County Historical Society Museum features exhibits on the history of the region’s cowboys.