Here are 12 lesser-known points of interest in the Treasure State that are a little unorthodox:
1. The Yaak Valley
The Yaak is nestled up into the northwest corner of Montana, so it’s not on everyone’s radar. It’s full of wildlife, lush, green forest, peaceful camping spots and huckleberries. The Yaak is often called Montana's only rainforest.
2. Havre Beneath the Streets
When most of the city of Havre was destroyed by a fire in 1904, business owners moved underground to carry on until the town could be rebuilt. Parts of the underground city have been preserved, and the Havre Beneath the Streets tour offers the chance to go back in time.
3. Earthquake Lake
You may have heard of Quake Lake, but did you know it was caused by an actual deadly 7.3 earthquake? In August of 1959, a quake sent 80 million tons of dirt and rocks into the Canyon toward the Madison River, trapping hundreds of vacationers and killing 28 people.
4. The Anaconda Smelter Stack
The Anaconda Smelter Stack was constructed in 1919 as part of a massive copper smelting operation. At 585 feet tall, it’s so big that the Washington Monument would fit inside.
5. The American Computer & Robotics Museum in Bozeman
The Museum of the Rockies gets the most attention, but Bozeman also has a museum dedicated to the history of the computer. In fact, this is one of only two museums in the country dedicated to computer history.
6. St. Marie
The tiny town of St. Marie is located in Valley County, and it was once the home of a working Air Force base in the 1950s. When it became inactive, most of the homes were abandoned. St. Marie’s lack of amenities and isolation makes it seem a little odd, and what’s even odder is that a group of anti-government sovereigners have recently taken over some of the houses in town.
7. O’Fallon Historical Museum in Baker
This is the home of Steer Montana, the world’s largest steer, who weighed 3,980 pounds at 5’9” tall.
8. Sacrifice Cliff in Billings
According to local legend, Sacrifice Cliff is named after two Crow warriors who once rode their horses over the cliff to their deaths. They had discovered a tribal encampment wiped out by smallpox and were sacrificing themselves in hopes of saving their people.
9. The Talking Penguin Statue in Cut Bank
Cut Bank claims to be the coldest spot in the nation, and the giant penguin welcomes people to town. But this is no ordinary penguin sculpture—when its speaker works, it talks.
10. The Miracle of America Museum in Polson
Polson has a museum dedicated to the preservation of collections from American history. Admission is only $6 for adults, and you’ll find all kinds of cool artifacts from our past.
11. The Radon Health Mines in Boulder
The general consensus is that radon is bad for your health. But every year people flock to the defunct gold and uranium mines in Boulder, south of Helena, who drink radioactive water and breathe in radon gas in hope of improving their health. They use the mines to treat their arthritis, asthma, lupus and other chronic conditions.
12. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee
This is exactly what it sounds like―a garden with nothing but Buddha statues. It was created to cultivate inner peace and preserve the ancient culture of Tibet.