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When to Go
Most visitors to northwest Montana come in July and August, enticed by lakes, rivers, golf courses, trails, and fresh mountain air. Arts festivals, rodeos, powwows, and farmers' markets fill the summer calendar. Even during this busiest season, though, you're unlikely to feel cramped among Montana's wide-open spaces. Winter is the second peak season; deep snows attract snowboarders and skiers to the region's six alpine ski areas. It's also an excellent time to explore cross-country-ski and snowshoe trails through the light, fluffy snow.
Spring and fall are the quiet seasons, but they're becoming increasingly popular. In spring wildlife sightings include newborn elk calves, fawns, and an occasional bear cub. Mountain air cools the nights, and the occasional late-spring storm can cloak the region in snow, if only for a day. Fall's dry, warm days and blessedly cool nights offer the best of weather; there are few other tourists, and most attractions are still open. Lodgings offer off-season rates and there are no crowds, unless it's at a local high-school event, where nearly the entire town shows up. No matter the time of year, keep in mind that weather in this part of the world can change rapidly. Be prepared with extra clothing.
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