Maybe I'm naive. But I thought one of Montana's best-kept secrets was still a secret. I'm wrong.

For a long time, the appeal of Montana was its winter and summer activities. Tourists would come to ski in Whitefish or snowmobile around Seeley Lake. Summer is when they'd come to visit Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

READ MORE: Montana Ski Town Will Get New Luxury Hotel in 2024

This meant that locals could enjoy these destinations when they were less crowded: in the spring and fall.

Case in point: My Montana in-laws who visit Yellowstone National Park every year have been booking their trips during September and October for this exact reason. They want to avoid the crowds. It's why they live in Montana. So they visit the park when it isn't peak season.

But Montana may not have slow seasons anymore.

Travel + Leisure published an article "The Best Times to Visit Montana for Beautiful Weather, Lower Prices, and Fewer Crowds" and you probably guessed it, they recommend going during what is called in the industry, the "shoulder seasons."

It's a quality article with good research and interviews with local businesses, but I can't help thinking that every Montanan who comes across this type of article might think first:


Followed by:


With standard tourists visiting in the summer and winter and now savvy tourists coming in the spring and the fall, what's a Montanan to do?

  • Keep the hidden gems hidden.
  • Visit the less popular but very cool places
  • Embrace the tourists, after all, they support local economies.
  • Take your vacation out of state.

Maybe the most important realization from all of this is that it's spring, and if tourists are now visiting Montana during the shoulder seasons, then tourist season just started. 

Buffalo Soldiers Bicycled 132 Miles Through Yellowstone In 1896

The Buffalo Soldiers who made up the volunteer Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry Regiment bicycled 132 Miles Through Yellowstinw in 1896.

Stunning Photos of Yellowstone National Park in the Fall

Take a "virtual visit" to the Park in autumn. Photos courtesy of the Nationa Park System and photographer Diane Renkin.

More From Z100 Classic Rock