Great Falls is known as the "Electric City" because of its numerous dams and power plants. Montana's third largest city is located on the Missouri River among the five falls that were both a magnificent spectacle and formidable barrier to early river travel. This area held great significance for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The explorers were forced to spend nearly a month portaging around the falls in June 1805. Much of the Missouri River in this area remains as it was when Lewis and Clark first viewed it.
The Great Falls of the Missouri is now the site of Ryan Dam. There are actually several waterfalls on the Missouri. Crooked Falls and Rainbow Falls remain almost in their original state and can be viewed from River Drive just outside the city. Black Eagle Falls can be seen from River Drive en route to Giant Springs Heritage State Park.
Giant Springs Heritage State Park is a lovely park that preserves one of the largest natural, cold water springs in the world. Flow from the springs supports a state trout hatchery and also qualifies as the shortest river in the world, the Roe River. Enjoy a river drive, overlooks, picnic sites and visitor center in this area. This area of waterfalls may be viewed via an eight-mile, paved, non-motorized pathway known as the River's Edge Trail. It offers a unique experience to walk, jog, rollerblade or bike along three of the falls. There is also a paved road with scenic turnouts where the falls can be viewed by car.