Montana Fast Facts & Trivia

Montana's name is derived from the Spanish word 'montaña' (meaning “mountainous”)

  • Montana has the largest migratory elk herd in the nation.

  • The state has the largest breeding population of trumpeter swans in the lower United States.

  • On the Rocky Mountain Front Eagle migration area west of Great Falls, more golden eagles were seen in a single day than anywhere else in the country.

  • North of Missoula is the largest population of nesting loons in the western United States.

  • The average square mile of land contains 1.4 moose, 1.4 pronghorn antelope and 3.3 deer.

  • The Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area contains up to 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans during the migration.

  • Up to 1,700 pelicans can be seen in the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge.

  • The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American jewel that has been included in the Crown Jewels of England.

  • By 1888, Helena had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.

  • 46 of the 56 counties of Montana are considered "border counties" with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.

  • Dinosaur eggs have been discovered at Egg Mountain near Choteau, supporting the theory that some dinosaurs are more like mammals and birds than reptiles.

  • Montana is the only state with a triple watershed that allows water to flow into the Pacific, the Atlantic, and Hudson Bay. This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

  • The notorious outlaw Henry Plummer was in the first prison built in the country.

  • No state has as many mammal species as Montana.

  • The moose, which today has more than 8,000 specimens in Montana, was considered extinct in the Rocky Mountains of southern Canada in the 1900s.

  • Flathead Lake in northwest Montana contains over 200 square miles of water and 185 miles of shoreline. It is considered the largest natural freshwater lake in the west.

  • Miles City is known as the Cowboy Capitol.

  • Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana and northern Wyoming was the nation's first national park.

  • The city of Ekalaka was named after the daughter of the famous Sioux chief Sitting Bull.

  • Fife is named after the type of wheat grown in the area, or, as some locals claim, Tommy Simpson's house in Scotland.

  • Fishtail is named either for a Mr. Fishtail who lived in the area, or as the Indians for some of the peaks in the nearby Beartooth Mountain Range, which look like the tail of a fish.

  • The Yaak community is the northwesternmost settlement in the state.

  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.

  • Near the Pines Recreation Areas, up to 100 Sage Moorhuhn perform their exceptional spring mating rituals.

  • The first toboggan run in North America was built in 1965 in Lolo Hot Springs on the Lolo Pass.

  • Combination, Comets, Keystone, Black Pine and Pony are names of Montana ghost towns.

  • Virginia City was founded in 1863 and is considered to be the most complete original city of its kind in the United States.

  • Montana is called the treasure status.

  • The bitter-root is the official state flower.

  • The density of the state is six people per square mile.

  • The highest point of the state is Granite Peak at 12,799 feet.

  • The most visited place in Montana is the Glacier National Park, known as the crown jewel of the continent. It is located on the northern border of Montana and adjacent to the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, making it the world's first International Peace Park.

  • Wild buffalo can still be seen in the National Bison Range in Moiese, south of Flathead Lake and west of the Mission Mountains.

  • Montana's first territorial capital, Bannack, was preserved as a ghost town park on the once gold-rich Grasshopper Creek.

  • The Old West is brought to life through the brush and sculpture of the famous Western artist Charlie Russell at the Charles M. Russell Museum Complex in Great Falls. The museum contains the world's largest collection of Russell's works, his original log cabin studio and his home in Great Falls.

  • The Rockies Museum in Bozeman became famous for the work of its chief paleontologist Jack Horner. Horner was the prototype for the character Dr. Alan Grant in the best selling novel / movie "Jurassic Park".

  • Montana's rivers and streams provide water for three oceans and three of the major river basins of the North American continent.

  • Just south of Billings, Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his troops made their last stop. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument features the Plains Indian and United States military involved in the historic battle.

  • The western meadow lark is the official state bird.

  • The first inhabitants of Montana were the Plains Indians.

  • Montana is home to seven Indian reservations.

  • Each spring, nearly 10,000 white nine-foot-long pelicans migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to Medicine Lake in northeastern Montana.

  • The Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.

  • Official animal of the state is the grizzly bear.

  • The motto of the state Oro y Plata means gold and silver.

  • Montana's name comes from the Spanish word mountain.

  • In Montana, the populations of moose, deer and antelope outnumber humans.

  • Glacier National Park has 250 lakes within its borders.

  • Hill County has the largest county park in the United States. Beaver Creek Park measures 10 miles long and 1 mile wide.

  • Competing against the D River in Lincoln City, Oregon for the title of the shortest river in the world, the Roe River flows near Great Falls. Both river lengths vary from 58 feet to 200 feet. The source for this small river is Giant Springs, the largest freshwater spring in the United States.

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