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Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 7th least populous, and the 3rd most sparsely populated of the 50 U. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges.There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.There are some 3,000 named lakes and reservoirs in Montana, including Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States.See also: List of monocotyledons of Montana, List of coniferous plants of Montana, List of lichens of Montana, List of amphibians and reptiles of Montana, List of birds of Montana, Fish of Montana, Mammals of Montana, and List of taxa described from Montana Vegetation of the state includes lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine; Douglas fir, larch, spruce; aspen, birch, red cedar, hemlock, ash, alder; rocky mountain maple and cottonwood trees.Forests cover approximately 25 percent of the state.The Pend Oreille River joined the Columbia River, which flows to the Pacific Ocean—making the 579-mile (932 km) long Clark Fork/Pend Oreille (considered a single river system) the longest river in the Rocky Mountains.
Montana is one of few geographic areas in the world whose rivers form parts of three major watersheds (i.e. Its rivers feed the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay.The state spans from below the 45th parallel (the line equidistant between the equator and North Pole) to the 49th parallel, and elevations range from under 2,000 feet (610 m) to nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m) above sea level.The western half is mountainous, interrupted by numerous large valleys.Montana is one of the nine Mountain States, located in the north of the region known as the Western United States.It borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east.