Montana is one of the most popular states in the United States. It is located somewhere in the Western United States region. The state capital of Montana is Helena. Moreover, there aren’t a lot of people in this area. However, it doesn’t stop tourists from visiting this wonderful state, due to its unique and beautiful mountain scenery. In fact, the state is home to one of the most beautiful terrains in the country!
Aside from the beautiful sceneries, Montana is also home to some of nature’s most unique wildlife. All in all, it’s a really fun and unique place to visit during a holiday. But just like any place in the world, there are some interesting facts that you’d probably like to know beforehand. Therefore, we have compiled a list of awesome facts about Montana that you should really look at.
1. Montana is the Fourth Largest State by Area, But Third Least Densely Populated State
If you look at a map, you’ll notice that Montana is quite large compared to other states. In fact, Montana is ranked as the fourth largest state in the country. At a size of 147,039 square miles, Montana is only smaller than Alaska, Texas, and California.
Despite its fairly large size, there aren’t that many people to populate the area. After all, Montana has an average of just six people per square mile. Seeing as most of the people who are living in Montana are people who worked in the line of agriculture, it makes perfect sense to have such numbers. After all, most families will own a large land to cultivate cereal grain and raise cattle. That makes Montana officially the third least densely populated state in the country!
2. Montana’s Cattle Population Overshadows Its Human Population
It’s a well-known fact that the main economy for the state of Montana is agriculture. Besides cultivating cereal grains, Montana residents also raised cattle, and we do mean a lot of it! As of 2022, there are 2.5 million cattle in Montana alone. If we make a comparison towards the population of humans living in the area, which clocks in at 1,5 million, then the cattle will outnumber them by a ratio of 2.51. Officially, Montana ranks in the third place as the state with the highest cattle-to-human ratio.
3. Grizzly Bear: Everyone’s Favorite Animal Here
Grizzly bears are a cute breed of animal. However, you might not want to think about intimidating them, especially when you encounter a large number of bears at the same time! That’s the reason why you can’t be too careful of grizzly bears, especially when visiting Montana. In fact, Montana is home to most grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. All in all, there are over 1,000 grizzly bears in Northwest Montana. Most of them can be found on the Glacier National Park or nearby forested wilderness.
The love for grizzly bears doesn’t stop there. Besides its overwhelming number, the people there have chosen the awesome animal as its official state animal, effective since 1983. On April 7th, 1983, then Governor Ted Schwinden signed the bill while wearing a grizzly bear cap.
4. Montana was the First State to Elect a Female Congress
Jeannette Rankin, that’s her name. The first congresswoman to be elected as a representative for Montana on April 2nd, 1917. It is also amazing to learn that this milestone event happened before women had the right to vote in the USA! She served during two periods in the congress, in 1917 and 1941.
During her time in the House of Representatives, Rankin was the only member to vote against the United States’ involvement in both world wars. She also fought for improving the working conditions of women.
5. Montana is Also Home For Steer Montana
It turns out that Montana is associated with different species of animals! Our latest fun fact points out that there is another famous animal that had a role in popularizing the state of Montana. It is, in fact, a steer, and what a large one this particular steer turns out to be. The local Montanans know him as Steer Montana, one of the largest ever steer in the world.
Measuring at ten-foot-four inches long and weighing about two tons, Steer Montana was only smaller than Old Ben (six-foot-four inches tall and 4,500 pounds). During his lifetime, Steer Montana was exhibited in over 60 state fairs. After he died, his owner had his skin mounted and continued to exhibit him. Now, you can see the legendary animal in the O’Fallon Museum.
6. Montana is The Largest Landlocked State
Previously, we have mentioned about the beautiful sceneries that you can enjoy when visiting Montana. However, you shouldn’t expect any marine-related scenery such as oceans or beaches. After all, the fourth largest state in the country is also known as the largest landlocked state in the United States of America. Well, it’s even larger than some of the landlocked cities in other countries, such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
For your information, a landlocked state is a part of a country (or a state, in this case) which is surrounded entirely by land, without any coastline or seaport nearby. Overall, it will take a total of 10 hours if you want to drive across the state, which spans for 559 miles from the east to the west.
7. Montana Was The Richest Place In The World
Montana is never the most populated state in the United States. However, it is astonishing to learn that it was, at one point, the favorite place for millionaires. In fact, in 1888, Montana had the most millionaires per capita in the world. Yes, in the world, not just the country! How is this possible, you may ask? Well, many Montanans back then earned their money from mining gold. In Helena alone, the estimated population in 1887 is 13,000 people with over $615 per capita!
8. Unmarried Women: Don’t Come Here If You Plant On Fishing
The wonderful state of Montana is not without its weaknesses. In fact, there are some questionable laws that control the area. One of the weirdest and often brought up regulations is the law that forbids unmarried women to go fishing alone. Even if you’re married, you still can’t go out to fish on a Sunday.
While it’s nice to go out with friends and have fun together while enjoying a beautiful lake, people are still wondering why this particular regulation only forbids one gender. Let’s hope that it’ll get an update or revision that will loosen the prohibition.
9. Montana is The Only Place In The State With A Triple Divide
Yep, Montana is known for a lot of things, one of them being the only home to the only triple divides in the state. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a triple divide is a point on the Earth’s surface where three drainage basins meet. In Montana’s case, the triple divide is the Triple Divide Peak. It can be found in the Lewis Range, part of the Rocky Mountain.
From this unique place, rain and melted snow will flow into three directions: the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean via the Hudson Bay. The park also serves as the headwaters for a large portion of the continent!
10. The Most Dramatic Temperature Change Happened Here
A dramatic temperature change occurred in Loma back in 1972. The extreme temperature shifted from -54 to 49 degrees Fahrenheit in just a matter of 24 hours, making it the world’s most dramatic temperature change ever. Although the world record of extreme temperature change happened during that 24-hour period, the temperature spikes actually occurred for the whole month of January in Loma and its neighboring city, Great Falls.
There are a lot of factors that contributed to this weird phenomenon, such as: pressure, swing time, front lines, and shift work.
11. Make Sure To Visit Montana’s Dinosaur Trail
For those of you who’re thinking of visiting the state of Montana, make sure to include the Dinosaur Trail in your itinerary. This unique vacation spot is divided into 14 museums, state parks, and dinosaur-themed attractions that are spread all across the state. Each year, over 300,000 people visit these places to learn more about dinosaurs as well as enjoying the fun attractions.
Aside from exhibitions of real dinosaur fossils or their replicas, there are a lot of awesome programs that you can try, such as field digging that is also open to the public. Who knows, you might even find a new breed of dinosaur!
12. The Largest Snowflake Ever Landed In Fort Keogh
This unique and awesome incident happened more than 100 years ago, but it still astounds people up until this very day. In fact, a ranch owner discovered the largest ever snowflake back in 1887. This largest reported snowflake was measured to be about 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick! It’s really hard to imagine one being that big, but the ranch owner was quoted as saying that the snowflake was “larger than milk pans” in a monthly weather review magazine.