Great Falls Travel Guide

Browse 6 travel reviews, 2 travel blogs and 156 travel photos from real travelers to Great Falls.

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Great Falls Overview

Great Falls is a small city of about 59,000 (up 4% since 200; but really pretty consistent over the last few decades) located at the intersection of Interstate 15 and U. S. Highway 87 in Cascade County in West Central Montana. Great Falls was the largest city in Montana from 1950 to 1970; but the relatively flat growth rate allowed Billings and Missoula to surpass it. Paleo-Indians and later the Salish Tribe inhabited the Great Falls area seasonally starting about 11,500 years ago. No one stayed in the area permanently until the Piegan Blackfeet came in the 1600s. The first white person to see the Great Falls area was probably Meriwether Lewis who came here in 1805 and was accompanied by York a slave belonging to William Clark who was the first black person in the area. Various others (like Jim Bridger) passed through the area but none stayed. In 1880, businessman Paris Gibson came to the area, and upon noticing the many falls along the Missouri River here envisioned a great city powered by electricity generated by the falls. Great Falls became a reality in 1883. Artist C. M. Russell, quarterback Ryan Leaf, and actor George Montgomery (and a couple of female porn stars) all have ties to Great Falls. Great Falls is the county seat of Cascade County. Both the city and the county were named for the many waterfalls in the area along the Missouri River. The Cascade County Courthouse was completed in 1903 using a design by architects Black and Longstaff which combined elements of the French Renaissance, Classical Revival and other architectural styles. The courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Great Falls is a community of more than 55,000 people located near the geographical center of Montana. It is surrounded by the Little Belt Mountains to the east, the majestic Rocky Mountains to the west, and rich farmland just miles away.

Great Falls was settled around the Missouri River, which gave the city its name. As the river cuts through town, it drops over 500 feet in a series of rapids, and 5 waterfalls (the great falls of the Missouri).