The whitewater rushing through the undergrowth, a secret pool hidden between the rocks, the sound of a waterfall crashing as the light shimmers: this and more is the reward for reaching one of the many, gorgeous waterfalls in Montana.
If you thought Montana had little to offer regarding falls, think again. In this guide, I’ll get you through my favorite waterfalls in the state, from the more majestic and touristic ones to the lesser-known and secluded ones.
5 Waterfalls in Montana’s Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park Area
One of the most popular destinations within Flathead National Forest, Running Eagle Falls stands out due to its unique feature: it consists of two waterfalls almost stacked on top of one another.
The two falls cascade underneath in a pool of clear water surrounded by greenery, which creates a magical and spiritual atmosphere.
During the summer you’ll probably be able to see only the lower waterfall, while during springtime, because of the more frequent rain, you’ll be able to enjoy both falls. While being extremely beautiful, the spot is usually not crowded.
I recommend checking out the Running Eagle Falls if you’re traveling toward Two Medicine Lake and you’re looking for a fun and gorgeous location take a break mid-trip.
The trailhead is located on Two Medicine Road, around 1 mile after the Two Medicine entrance point.
Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail starts from a convenient parking lot and leads you into Glacier National Park, long Twin Medicine Creek for 0.3 miles.
The whole trail, both going and coming back is around half a mile long and very beginner-friendly, well-maintained, and always clearly marked.
A more challenging hike leading to a very interesting waterfall is the trail for Redrock Falls.
Redrock Falls is located within Glacier National Park, near Lake Sherburne and the border with Canada.
The best way to reach Redrock Falls is to take Swiftcurrent Pass Trail from the trailhead located near the Many Glacier Campground, on Route 3.
The hike is not challenging in the form, as it’s not too steep, but it is pretty long, lasting about 1 hour and 20 minutes one way.
While the falls are of course the main goal of the hike, visitors love to spot wildlife along the trail, nestled in an area hosting several species, from deer to moose, bulls and cows, squirrels, and even grizzly bears.
The falls are not high, but they’re large and a very impressive sight, while the nature surrounding the falls is gorgeous.
Additionally, the backdrop, characterized by the Glacier National Park mountains, is simply to die for.
Almost 500 feet high, Bird Woman Falls is one of the tallest and most impressive waterfalls in Montana and in Glacier National Park and can be admired from a distance, granting amazing photo opportunities.
There is no trail leading directly under the falls, although it is still possible for very experienced hikers to try and explore the area surrounding the falls and try to get closer to the water.
The best spot to appreciate the falls is the Bird Woman Falls overlook, where you’ll be able to clearly see the falls, as well as Mount Oberlin and Mount Cannon on the sides.
The overlook is located on Going to the Sun Road, which is currently open and will stay open until the winter season.
Apikuni Falls is perfect for those looking for a short but satisfactory hike culminating in a gorgeous waterfall frosting between the rocks and evergreens.
The falls are somewhat split into two segments, the first one that drops straight from an opening in the rock, and another underneath, which cascades more pleasantly into the pool underneath.
The hike leading to Apikuni Falls can be a bit challenging because it’s quite steep, however, you just need to give your all for a short time as the trail is only 1.8 miles long in total.
The trailhead is located on Route 2 MT, only 2 miles from Many Glacier Campground. If you’re staying at the campground, you’ll be able to reach the trailhead by car in about 5 minutes.
Something to note is that the parking lot at the trailhead is very small, with only about 10-12 spots available.
I recommend checking out this location early in the day to avoid finding the parking lot already at capacity.
For those who love to hike and travel with their dog: know you cannot enter Apikuni Falls with pets so unfortunately you’ll have to leave your nonhuman friends at home for this trip.
Holland Lake Falls can be found at the end of a short yet stunning hike.
The hike begins at the East Holland Lake Connector Trail #415 trailhead and covers approximately 1.6 miles to reach Lake Holland.
While the trail for the most part isn’t overly challenging, as you approach the base of the falls, the terrain becomes a bit rockier and occasionally slippery.
For this reason, I recommend wearing comfortable hiking shoes to ensure the best grip.
The falls themselves are undeniably gorgeous, but what will truly take your breath away is the overview of Lake Holland and the surrounding mountains of Flathead National Forest.
For the best experience, I suggest visiting this location early in the morning.
Depending on the season, you can enjoy this secluded spot in almost complete solitude and privacy until around 11 a.m.
3 Waterfalls in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest
Kootenai Falls is a short 20-minute hike from the trailhead. It is one of the most majestic waterfalls in Montana and the most popular attraction in Kootenai National Forest.
The falls are about 300 feet tall and offer a truly impressive spectacle of nature. The Kootenai River’s waters crash down with explosive energy, creating an atmosphere dense with the force of nature.
This place has always been sacred to native populations, and it is easy to reconnect with nature here.
The best place to admire the waterfalls and to snap the best pictures for your memory albums or Instagram stories is the famous Swinging Bridge or Suspension Bridge.
Walking on the swinging bridge is a cool experience you’ll hardly forget, although it is noteworthy that some might experience some vertigo due to the height of the bridge over the falls.
It’s important to remember that while this is a great place to enjoy the view of the falls and the freshness that comes in proximity to the crashing waters, this is not a spot to bathe in.
It’s not allowed to swim in Kootenai Falls for safety reasons and I recommend being careful around the water and not taking unwarranted risks.
7. Yaak Falls
Another great spot within Kootenai National Forest, Yaak Falls is the gem of the Yaak area.
If you want to catch a break from the summer heat and travel to one of Montana’s most gorgeous swimming holes, Yaak Falls won’t disappoint.
Yaak Falls are not high but they are very scenic and still worth visiting. Along the falls you’ll find a natural slide as well as several spots where one can dive and bathe easily.
The area between the Yaak River and the Kootenai River is also great for fishing, as one can easily find here some brook trout.
If you like to spend the night in a wonderful setting, you can book a campsite at the Yaak Falls Campground and wake up only a stone’s throw away from the falls.
Nestled in a fairy-tale-like pine forest, the natural setting of Little North Fork Falls unfolds like a fairy tale, where crystal-clear water gushes from the rocks and flows underneath in a small pool.
A hidden gem within the vast Kootenai National Forest, Little North Fork Falls offers a serene escape for those seeking a pleasant afternoon in perfect communion with nature.
The hike to reach these falls is pretty brief, although steep at times, and it takes less than 15 minutes to complete.
I would recommend this trip to beginner hikers who are looking to spend time in nature without having to embark on a challenging or overly demanding trail.
Waterfalls in Montana: 1 Bonus Destination for a Scenic Pic-nic
9. Ousel Falls – Custer Gallatin National Forest
Ousel Falls offers a brief and pleasant hike in a gorgeous location nestled in the heart of Big Sky.
The hike to Ousel Falls makes for a perfect nature-immersed day for the whole family.
The trail takes about 44 minutes to complete, and while being a bit long, it is well kept, and is not challenging, with even families with children being able to fully enjoy this trip.
Some even come here with the stroller and have little to no difficulties, while others enjoy this path even at 80+ years of age.
The ultimate reward at the end of the hike is the awe-inspiring Ousel Falls and its inviting pool beneath, perfect for a refreshing dip in the rushing water.
It’s worth noting that this spot can get quite crowded due to it being one of the most popular waterfalls in Montana.
Additionally, picnic tables are available in the vicinity of the falls, along with restroom facilities at the trailhead, making this a perfect destination for a 1-day getaway.
More Waterfall Adventures Await All Over The States
If you love to discover new destinations within the states and want to learn more about the gorgeous waterfalls around you, check out my guides on the most beautiful waterfalls in California, Kansas, Hawaii, and Lower Michigan.