Montana has long been a place for many to get away from it all, taking the time to unwind and relax in nature. And that’s even more true this year as travel reopens and people are anxious to get out and adventure under the big sky. But as you begin to prepare for a trip to Montana in 2021, there are a few considerations to plan for to make sure you’re ready for a trip in a post-pandemic world that is busier than ever. Come to Montana to get away, and know what to expect when you get here.
As the number of visitors to national parks continues to grow, some parks have implemented new policies to protect these wild resources. Reservations are now required in Glacier National Park between May 28 and September 6, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. These $2 tickets are on top of the park pass needed for entry, either an annual America the Beautiful pass or a Glacier-specific pass. You can buy entry tickets online, and you must purchase in advance. If you aren’t able to snag a ticket for the dates you need, don’t worry. A reservation with a tour company or a rental operator inside the park will get you in as well, so consider taking a cultural Glacier Sun tour or a classic boat tour to help you get access and deepen your experience at the same time.
At the time of writing, masks are no longer required in the state of Montana if you’re fully vaccinated. However, they are still required on planes and public transportation, and some businesses may have their own policies. Despite the loosening restrictions, it is still a good idea to practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently and carrying hand sanitizer. You can find up-to-date information on changing restrictions on the state website.
Worsening wildfire seasons around the country have been making an appearance in Montana, too. Fortunately, following local guidance, keeping an eye on wildfire maps in areas you plan to visit, and maintaining a flexible schedule can help you stay safe and still have fun. Be sure that any campfires you light (if allowed) are dead out before you leave them, and follow other posted regulations as you recreate.
With so many people visiting Montana’s wide-open spaces, planning transportation in advance should be another consideration if you visit during the busy summer season. With a rental car shortage caused by an abundance of visitors, alongside pandemic-caused supply chain issues, it can be challenging to book a rental at the last minute. Fortunately, there are other options. Turo (often called the Airbnb for cars) allows you to rent the cars of private owners in many cities in Montana for a daily rate. Cities like Kalispell, Missoula, and Bozeman also have Uber and Lyft for rides to and from the airport. To go further out of town, tour operators often offer transportation from cities for excursions like fly fishing, floating the rivers, hiking tours, and more. When in towns like Bozeman, you can easily get around to most areas by walking, renting a bike, or a Blink Rides scooter. Whatever you do, do your research and plan early so your trip can go as smoothly as possible.
State parks alone have experienced a 78% increase in visitation between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. And Yellowstone isn’t far behind, with a 40% jump. Many visitors mean amped-up competition for hotels this summer, especially in the communities around Glacier and Yellowstone. Advanced planning is your best friend when it comes to scoring a top place to stay. Highline Adventures properties in National Park gateway communities offer a cozy and sustainable option.
When planning your trip to Big Sky Country, whether this year or in the future, book your Montana stay with Highline Adventures to lock in your adventure reservation.