It’s that extraordinary time in Montana – a little something we locals call “summer”! Montanans live for their summers, and we do everything we can to make the most of them. When your average Montana adventure simply won’t do, may we suggest one of these adrenaline-charged activities?
Raging through the woods suspended high above the ground on nothing but cables and pulleys used to be an exclusive adventure reserved for rainforests. Not anymore! Ziplining has found its way into Montana, and it’s a great way to embrace your inner eagle and get the adrenaline pumping. There are zipline tours in West Yellowstone, Bozeman, Big Sky, and Anaconda, but we want to talk about our favorite zipline adventures, right here in Western Montana.
Glacier Ziplines, Columbia Falls: Located just outside Glacier National Park, Glacier Ziplines offers SEVEN lines that provide once-in-a-lifetime views of Badrock Canyon, the Flathead River, the Great Northern Railway, and YES, the occasional yeti! Ziplining from the 80-foot tower ought to get your ticker pumping, and if not, try climbing the sky ladder or walking the sky bridge across the Flathead River. Best of all, daredevils zip from platform to platform – no hiking required!
Whitefish Mountain Resort: Everyone knows that Whitefish Mountain Resort is one of the best-ranked ski resorts in the country. What may not be so widely known is all the equally exhilarating summer activities available on the mountain. WMR has six ziplines, one of which is the longest in Montana! The lines span the slopes, ravines, and treetops of the mountain, providing astonishing views and many adrenaline-fueled opportunities. Why stop there? Check out WMR’s aerial adventure park, mountain biking adventures, alpine slides, scenic lift rides, and nature center.
Glacier Highline: Located just a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park in Coram, Glacier Highline’s zipline experience brings the grandeur of GNP together with an unforgettable adrenaline-charged experience. Boasting five lines of varying lengths, there is something for every ability and comfort zone. This family destination also has water activities and a high-line rope course.
Snowbowl Ziplines: For Missoulians and visitors of the Missoula area, Snowbowl offers a unique zipline experience that allows people to zipline in pairs! Stretched high above the slopes, you and a friend can zip 200 quick feet or go for the full 1000-foot experience, or enjoy all four lines on the same day!
Ready to move from the rock climbing gym to the real thing in the great outdoors? Western and Northwestern Montana provide countless opportunities for bouldering, top-roping, and sport climbing. In the Bitterroot Valley, you can get your rock-climbing adrenaline rush in Lost Horse or Blodgett Canyon. Lolo Pass has approximately 11 established climbing routes. Between Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse, the Berne Park Boulders offer free climbing and bouldering. In Northwestern Montana, Kila Crags – located a quick 8 miles from Kalispell – is a destination for beginner, intermediate, and sport climbers. A half-hour outside of Whitefish is home to Point of Rocks, where climbers of all levels and interests will find a route that is just right for them.
Few things will get your heart pounding faster than an exhilarating trip down Montana’s river rapids. For a whitewater trip you’ll never forget, consider booking a guided trip with Zootown Surfers and ask for the Alberton Gorge trip. The Alberton Gorge, located 30 miles out of Missoula, treats whitewater rafters to an 11-mile section of Class III whitewater all year long. This experience is definitely worthy of your Montana adventure bucket list.
Another item for that list is a whitewater rafting trip on the Flathead River outside of Glacier National Park. Located in West Glacier, Glacier Raft Company has been guiding trips down the Middle and North Fork of Flathead River since 1976. There is a view and experience that you get from these pristine rives that is hard to replicate elsewhere.
If you’re really after a next-level adrenaline rush, why not strap in for a helicopter ride? Glacier Aviation Services offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences by flying their guests over some of the most spectacular scenery Montana has to offer, while carefully considering other outdoor enthusiasts on the ground and the safety of their passengers. Guests can choose from helicopter tours or helicopter rides for photographers. Is this the year you will join the select few who have experienced Montana’s jaw-dropping scenery from the sky?
Hang-gliding is for adrenaline junkies looking for a more personal flight experience, which involves piloting the aircraft from a seated position in a harness and steering with hand controls. Mount Sentinel in Missoula is the oldest registered inland hang-gliding site in the U.S., with Mount Jumbo (accessible only on foot) as a runner-up destination. While most of us would view an activity of this nature as somewhat terrifying and definitely adrenaline-inducing, most participants describe the experience as extremely peaceful. If you are interested in hang-gliding around Missoula, be sure to reach out to Glide Missoula first.
If you are a thrill seeker looking for an adrenaline rush this summer, Western and Northwestern Montana have more than enough heart-pounding adventures to satisfy your craving! What we love about all these options is that nearly all these activities offer levels for all types of abilities and comfort levels. So get out there, and get your adrenaline on!
Kat Hobza has lived in Montana since she was nine, and was raised in the mountains west of Victor, Montana. There she learned to hunt, fish, shoot competitively, chop and stack firewood, and drive on icy or muddy roads. Kat has over two decades of experience in professional writing, content and digital marketing, and is the Marketing Director for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. When she’s not working, she’s either hanging with her hilarious adult kids or soaking up the sun somewhere – a riverbank, a golf course, or her deck.