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Montana Geography

Montana's western third is covered by over 50 individual ranges of the Rocky Mountains, with the most significant being the Big Belt, Bitterroots, and Lewis. Glacier National Park, considered the most rugged place in the continental 48 states, is home to numerous (unclimbed) ice covered peaks.

The Continental Divide (an imaginary line) indicates the absolute highest points of land, where on either side of same rivers will flow downhill, east or west. That divide runs from northwestern Canada, south along the crests of the Rocky Mountains of Montana, then south all the way into Mexico, where it follows the peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

The Great Plains of North America slope east from the Rocky Mountains and cover the balance of Montana's land; rolling hills, wide river valleys and acres of prairie grass cover the landscape for as far as the eye can see.

The Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison Rivers come together to form the headwaters of the Missouri River as it rises in southern Montana and flows, in a winding path, all the way to St. Louis, Missouri, a distance of over 2,500 miles.

The Yellowstone River, beginning in southwestern Wyoming, flows across the state into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri.

Smaller rivers and streams are commonplace, as well as alpine lakes, tundra and glacier ice in the higher elevations of the northern mountains.

For a detailed look at the topography of Montana, view this topography map.

Montana Photographs

Wildflowers Growing in Mountain Meadow

Montana landscape...
by Christopher Talbot Frank
Buy This at Allposters.com

Montana Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Dillon Beaverhead 406
Hardin Big Horn 406
Harlem Blaine 406
Townsend Broadwater 406
Red Lodge Carbon 406
Ekalaka Carter 406
Great Falls Cascade 406
Fort Benton Chouteau 406
Miles City Custer 406
Scobey Daniels 406
Glendive Dawson 406
Anaconda Deer Lodge 406
Baker Fallon 406
Lewistown Fergus 406
Kalispell Flathead 406
Bozeman Gallatin 406
Jordan Garfield 406
Browning Glacier 406
Ryegate Golden Valley 406
Philipsburg Granite 406
Havre Hill 406
Clancy Jefferson 406
Stanford Judith Basin 406
Polson Lake 406
Helena Lewis and Clark 406
Chester Liberty 406
Libby Lincoln 406
Ennis Madison 406
Circle McCone 406
White Sulphur Springs Meagher 406
Superior Mineral 406
Missoula Missoula 406
Roundup Musselshell 406
Livingston Park 406
Winnett Petroleum 406
Malta Phillips 406
Conrad Pondera 406
Broadus Powder River 406
Deer Lodge Powell 406
Terry Prairie 406
Hamilton Ravalli 406
Sidney Richland 406
Wolf Point Roosevelt 406
Lame Deer Rosebud 406
Plains Sanders 406
Plentywood Sheridan 406
Butte Silver Bow 406
Columbus Stillwater 406
Big Timber Sweet Grass 406
Choteau Teton 406
Shelby Toole 406
Hysham Treasure 406
Glasgow Valley 406
Harlowton Wheatland 406
Wibaux Wibaux 406
Billings Yellowstone 406

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.