First Snow in Montana: The Earliest and Latest First Snows on Record

Written by Megan Martin
Updated: August 30, 2023
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When it comes to the first now in Montana, there is a lot to learn. Home to the Northern Rocky Mountains and several different national parks, Montana is considered unofficially the “Last Best Place.” It also just so happens to be one of the snowiest and coldest states in the entirety of the continental United States.

If there’s one thing that Montana knows better than the beauty of the outdoors, it’s snow. From the earliest first snow to the average snowfall, we’ve compiled this complete guide to introduce you to everything you need to know about the winter wonderland that is this state’s climate.

Ready to learn more about the first snow in Montana, as well as other local climate facts? Let’s dive in!

About Montana

Montana is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. It is a mountainous state, with one of its several unofficial nicknames being “Land of the Shining Mountains.”

This state is considered one of the main areas for ecotourism in the United States. It is most known for its national park, Glacier National Park. However, it also contains entries into additional parks, including three different entries into one of the most iconic national parks in the United States: Yellowstone National Park.

Known as an ecotourism hotspot, Montana’s unofficial name is “Land of the Shining Mountains.”

©Scott Wilson Photography/

The Typical Climate of Montana

When considering the typical climate of Montana, it’s important to realize just how diverse this state is. With half of the state consisting of badlands and plains and the other half of mountains, climate can vary depending on the exact location in Montana that you’re looking into.

Overall, Montana has a mild climate. Daytime temperatures range from 28 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, although recordings have sometimes reached well into the triple digits. Winters in mountainous areas can be severe. Montana holds the record for the coldest temperature in the continental United States.

Earliest First Snow Ever in Montana

Although it may seem strange, it can snow in Montana almost all year, thanks to its high altitudes. While it certainly is rare, Cooke City, a small city nestled in the mountains of Montana, has had snowfall in June.

Snowfall in July or August is rare, especially towards the eastern side of the state, where the terrain is lower. As a result, it’s most common to find snow sometime in September, usually before the first official day of fall. 

In many eastern areas, snow may be delayed by the last of summer and fall rain. However, you can still expect measurable snowfall before winter begins in full swing in many of the cities here. 

Latest First Snow Ever in Montana 

It’s very rare to see fall come and go without any measurable snowfall in Montana. In fact, it’s rare to see fall come at all without the accompaniment of at least a few inches of snow in the majority of the state. As a result, the last first snow usually falls at the end of September. 

snow in montana

It’s very rare to see fall come and go without any measurable snowfall in Montana.

©Corrado Baratta/

How Much Snow Does Montana Receive on Average?

Because Montana is so vastly diverse, getting a single average can be difficult. As a result, it’s best to divide the state into a western portion (mountainous terrain) and an eastern part (badlands and plains).

It is the center and western portions of Montana that get the most snow on average. This state region is located in the Northern Rocky Mountains, which feature higher elevations, colder temperatures, and, as a result, increased snowfall. Here, you can find many popular snow-sport centers, such as ski resorts and more. The average snowfall in the height of the mountains can reach heights of nearly 300 inches. In the cities, this number is reduced drastically to around 50 inches per year, although this is still impressive. 

In the eastern portions of the state, snow is not as common. While it’s expected to see a few snow flurries here and there throughout the colder months of the year, the eastern portion aligns with many other northern states in that it receives around 20 inches of snow in the year.

However, if you were to find an overall average for the state, it would be around 49 inches. This is more than the national average, which combines the average annual snowfall for all states and territories in the United States. However, other states, such as Alaska, still get more snow than Montana!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Galyna Andrushko/

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About the Author

Megan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is birds, felines, and sharks. She has been researching and writing about animals for four years, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in biology and professional and technical writing from Wingate University, which she earned in 2022. A resident of North Carolina, Megan is an avid birdwatcher that enjoys spending time with her cats and exploring local zoological parks with her husband.

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