5 Best Things To Do in Billings, Montana

A woman on a bike near Billings, Montana

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure and a cool western city vibe, Billings, Montana is a great place to visit. Out of Montana’s 12.5 million visitors each year, an overwhelming majority are concentrated in western Montana and the areas around Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

If you prefer to get away from these types of crowds, Billings and Southeast Montana are your tickets. We couldn’t believe how easy it was to find solitude, even on the trails right in town! There are plenty of things to do in Billings, from hiking and biking trails to fishing spots and water-based activities on the Yellowstone River.

Discover the top 5 things to do in Billings, Montana for outdoor adventure and culture.

1. Check Out The Trail Systems Around Town

Billings has 45 miles of multi-use trails for biking, dog walking, or any other activity you might enjoy. Many of these trails are located on the Rimrocks, a wall of sandstone cliffs that stretch across the northern edge of the city.

We spent an afternoon exploring Zimmerman Park on mountain bikes and were impressed by the trail quality, views, and the lack of crowds. I imagine sunset up on these trails would also be killer.

If you’re visiting the area sans-bicycle look up The Spoke Shop where you can rent a bike for the afternoon. I’d suggest choosing a small SUV for your rental car so you can fit a bike or two in the back.

Other trail networks that are worth checking out around the city include Swords Rimrock Park and the stunning 6.2 mile out-and-back Chief Black Otter Trail and Phipps Park, which is home to more hiking and biking trails.

Mountain biker standing next to bike on rocky overlook at Zimmerman Park in Billings, Montana
The mountain bike trails at Zimmerman Park offer some great views over Billings and the Rimrocks

2. Explore Billing’s Beer Scene

Whether you love a hoppy IPA, a hearty stout, Belgian wheat, or a crisp cider, beer lovers could spend an entire weekend exploring Billing’s Walkable Brewery District. Right in the heart of downtown, you’ll find 6 breweries, two distilleries, and a cider house all within a few blocks of one another. Many of them have great outdoor patios and tasty menus to boot.

Local favorites are Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill for drinks and dinner. They have over 8 ciders on draft (all made in-house) ranging from very dry to super sweet.  The “Flathead Cherry “and the “Full Montana” are crowd favorites.

We also heard great things from the locals about Angry Hank’s, and Uberbrew.

Grab a pint and cheers to independent local brew!

Outdoor patio at cider house in Billings, Montana
The outdoor patio at Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill

3. Head To The Beartooth Mountains

Billings isn’t dubbed “Montana’s Trailhead” for nothing. Billings is the gateway to the Beartooth Mountains, home to Montana’s highest peaks. Rising just over 12,800 feet, the Beartooths give alpine enthusiasts endless terrain to explore.

The Beartooth Highway, which cuts through the range, typically opens in late May for the summer season. I recommend taking a drive to the top of the pass at a minimum. The engineering that was required to build this road, which first opened in 1936, is mind-boggling.

Along the road, you’ll find tons of hiking, camping, and even the Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Resort.

Kristen holding dog with snow-covered Beartooth Mountains in background
Driving up the Beartooth Highway is a must for anyone visiting Billings, Montana

4. Float The Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River runs right through the heart of Billings and is the last free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. You can look for peregrine falcons from the top of the cliffs at Four Dances Recreation Area, fish for walleye on the river’s banks, or float the Yellowstone River. If you don’t have your own kayak or paddleboard, you can rent one from Sunshine Sports in Billings.

View of the Yellowstone River outside of Billings, Montana
The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states

5. Learn About Western History

The Battle of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand took place right outside of what is now Billings, Montana. The battlefield is now a National Monument, operated by the National Park Service, and is open to the public.

The history of Billings goes even further back to the early 1700s when the Crow Indian Tribe settled in the region. Pompey’s Pillar National Monument – a sacred Native American site on the Yellowstone River – is about 45 minutes from downtown. This is also where Captain William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) landed in 1806. 

For those interested in learning more about the history of Billings, Montana, check out the Western Heritage Center, a small museum in Billings.

Wall mural on side of building in Billings, Montana that reads "Next Door: Historic Montana Avenue"
Billings, Montana is full of rich history

Have you visited Billings or are you planning a trip? What are your favorite things to do in Billings, Montana? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re planning a trip to Billings, be sure to check out our 7-day itinerary for Southwest Montana.

Written by Kristen Bor

Hey there! My name is Kristen, and this is my outdoor blog. I discovered the power of the outdoors in my 20s, at the time I needed it most. Now 15 years later, prioritizing that critical connection with nature continues to improve my life. My goal at Bearfoot Theory is to empower you with the tools and advice you need to responsibly get outside.

6 comments on “5 Best Things To Do in Billings, Montana

  1. Kristen, next time your in Montana, stop in Big Timber, MT and give yourself one night at the Grand Hotel. Amy, the chef will cook some of the best meals ever, and Sunday brunch is the best. Beautiful back drop with the Crazy Mountains. Lots to see and great places to camp.

  2. I love Montana! Did not spend time in Billings though.
    I am also digg’n yournew van, looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see you on your travels; I am a fan ❤️

  3. Next time you’re in Montana try stopping over at Chico Hot Springs out of Livingston Montana while the place to to relax Western sites Yellowstone River is right next to it great Place to relax in the hot springs.

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