Any month of the year is worth coming to Livingston, Montana. But October is one of our very favorites. The month can offer a taste of every season, and there is plenty to do both outside and around town. The changing seasons are one of the reasons we love living here! Here’s a few reasons why we love October in Livingston.
Fall weather in Livingston has that special crispness in the air that you don’t get at really any other point in the year. The mornings can be downright chilly with a frost in the air. October brings with it the promise of either cold and snowy or warm and beautiful. This year has been a bit of an anachronism with the heat. It has felt more like early September than October! The air has generally cleared up by October too, the smoke of the summer fires having died down.
October is a month that prompts you to pack and prepare for everything. The weather can reward you or punish you, but either way it’ll make it worth it.
Our fall leaves really start changing around Livingston and Paradise Valley in late September. By the time October runs around they’re out in full force. The best displays of fall foliage you’ll see all year are happening right now. Our leaves don’t last forever (especially in our famed Livingston wind!) but the majority always stick around through the first few good frosts of the year.
Soak in the beauty of fall with a float trip down the Yellowstone River as all the cottonwoods and undergrowth are changing and you’ll see why we love October so much.
The Fall Fishing
The fall fishing brings anglers from all over the world. Water temps drop down, trout activity picks back up and hatches start back up again. The fall caddis and Baetis hatches offer some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. The streamer fishing is fantastic, as the brown trout enter a hyperphagic state as they prepare for the long winter. The fishing becomes much more technical due to the low water and the busy summer of pressure that the fish have just endured.
There is nothing better than casting small BWO patterns to rising fish under the colorful leaves as the sound of elk bugling fills the air. Fall fishing is a great send-off after a summer on the water before winter sets in.
Fall is the time of the rut for many animals in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. This means they’re more aggressive, more vocal, and put on grander displays that draw tourists from the world over. Have you ever heard an elk bugle? It’s a sound you’ll never forget and one that you’ll definitely hear in early October.
The wildlife of Yellowstone National Park and our local area is very active during the fall, and later sunrises and earlier sunsets mean that you don’t have to get up as early or stay out as late to enjoy prime wildlife viewing hours.
Fall Mountain Biking
We always recommend not storing your mountain bikes too early, as fall riding can be some of the best of the year. Cooler temps, no wildfire smoke, and less congested trails make for great days in the mountains. Always keep an eye on the forecast and be ready to change plans. At any moment you can expect old man winter to show up and drop feet of snow in the mountains.
When that big blast of snow comes to our valleys, don’t unpack those skis quite yet. The early snow has everyone dreaming of deep powder turns on untracked slopes, but there is a twist. These early snows equal zero base on the slopes. It may look enticing, but remember that is 12” of powder on rocks and stumps that are waiting to send you into carnage. Sometimes we can find safe slopes to ski but remember sending it early is a good way to injure yourself before the real season begins. However, fall is a great time of year to get your skis tuned and pick up any new gear before the season begins.
Summer is a busy time of year in Livingston. We love our visitors, and are blessed to share this wonderful area with as many people as we can. However, it can be very busy in some of our favorite places. By October, the bulk of the tourist season has wound down. The trailheads are much less crowded, Yellowstone National Park is a bit less packed, and town itself is winding down.
Even the most popular boat ramps are a bit more easy to get into. Floating and fishing on the Yellowstone River and other popular places around here gets a lot less pressure. Hiking is a lot more enjoyable with less pressure around. After struggling to find parking on summer weekends, you’ll be surprised at how uncrowded even popular trailheads can be.
October has a lot to offer here in Montana. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, especially if the warm weather extends late in the season like it has this year. Be ready for any conditions and any kind of weather and you’ll have a great trip. Please travel responsibly and realize that the entire world is under-staffed right now. Restaurants might be closed or have slower service. Hotels and cabins might be slow to respond. Planning ahead is a great strategy!
Enjoy October in Montana, and thank you for shopping local!