Our Towns: Great Falls, Montana
Posted on 02 October 2004
Great Falls, the Electric City
There’s a chunk of land in north central Montana where plains and mountains collide with an abrupt grace that is surprisingly captivating.
This is Russell Country, famed for its rugged history of settlers, cowboys and Native American culture.
It inspired the life and work of renowned artist and writer Charlie Russell and marks one of the most difficult and most beautiful segments of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Nineteenth century Montana is etched into the land and history in Russell Country and at the center of it all is the city of Great Falls. Established in 1888, Great Falls is the largest city in north central Montana and third-largest city in the state. With 56,690 people, Great Falls offers something for the history buff, the outdoor lover, the sightseer and the culturally inclined.
Enjoy a day of mountain biking or hiking along the River’s Edge Trail, catch a unique meal in an Art Deco atmosphere at 3D International, and relax with an evening of Manhattan-quality music by the Great Falls Symphony or a theatre performance at The Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts. Great Falls is home to must-see sights — like the five falls along the Missouri river that inspired the town’s name, the house and museum of western art legend Charlie Russell, the Children’s Museum of Montana and the historical Ulm Pishkun State Park and buffalo jump.
History enthusiasts can retrace the steps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s 8,000-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean at the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center. Experience first-hand the struggles of the expedition’s route around the great falls of the Missouri. The opportunities for adventure, activity and fun in this northern plains town are endless, and the surrounding area only adds to the appeal. To the north is Fort Benton, the world’s most inland port during the steamboat era. Towns like Conrad, Shelby, Havre and Chinook offer more historical attractions, access to wilderness areas and chances to experience Native American art and culture, as well as a quick route into Canada. Find outstanding winter recreation from snowshoeing to steep downhill skiing just over an hour south of town, not to mention hunting, fishing, ice boating and more. Discover scenic and historical Great Falls and begin an adventure into the culture, history and life of northern Montana.
— Lindsey Rhynard