Montana’s Wide Open Geography

Montana is a state known for its wide open spaces, its striking mountain landscapes. Montana is one of the largest states in the United States of America. It’s the largest landlocked state in the USA. Montana’s large size encompasses vast and varied geographies. With a population of barely 1 million, it has a low population density. Montana borders Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and British Columbia to the north.

Its name comes from the Spanish word for mountain. And there are certainly plenty of mountains in Montana. The name Montana, however, has some irony to it.

Montana has mountains. It also has so much more.

While mountains are certainly an important part of Montana’s geography, it isn’t the largest part of the state’s land. Believe it or not, the Great Plains makes up 60% of Montana’s land area. The Great Plains region of Montana has a few isolated mountain ranges.

This is how Montana geography can be summed up. The western 1/3 of the state consists of the Rocky Mountains, with a few valleys in between those mountains. Cities like Missoula, Helena (the capital of Montana), Bozeman, and Butte are located in this region. This part of Montana shares its borders with British Columbia (in Canada), Idaho (to the west/southwest), and Wyoming to the south. Northwest Montana is separated from Washington state by the northern Idaho panhandle, by a distance of about 45 miles at its narrowest point. The eastern 2/3 of the state consists of the Great Plains. Great Falls and Billings (the largest city in Montana) are located among the plains. The geography of Montana east of the Rockies is similar to South Dakota and North Dakota (two states Montana borders). Large expanses of rolling prairies and some isolated mountain ranges.

National Bison Range

Montana is where the Inland Northwest, the Rockies, and the Great Plains meet. Missoula is roughly equidistant between Spokane (in Washington state, which Montana doesn’t share a border with) and Bozeman (a fellow Montana city located in the same region as Missoula). Eastern Montana has badlands, just as South Dakota and other parts of the Great Plains do. The Clark Fork River, which goes through Missoula, flows into Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho, where the Pend Oreille River starts and flows into British Columbia and into the Columbia River. The Missouri River( the longest river in the USA) starts in Montana, flows through Great Falls, and then continues until it flows into the Mississippi River, at St. Louis, Missouri. Montana

Ninepipes Bird Refuge. Montana has some wetlands.

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