Philipsburg is one of those charming small towns with which visitors cannot help but fall in love. The drive into the quaint 19th century mining town is equally as impressive. As you drive down Montana Highway 1 – the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Byway – your breath will be taken away. Winding through the pined forest, overlooking the gorge, and following the road along Georgetown lake, you will be met with ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Within a 30-minute drive of Philipsburg sits Discovery Ski Hill. With ski season just around the corner, one of our favorite Southwest Montana trips starts with an overnight stay at Fairmont Hot Springs just outside of Anaconda. Following a relaxing evening soak, we pack the family up and hit the slopes for a morning of crisp downhill skiing. Mid-afternoon we are all ready for a break and follow Montana Highway 1 to spend the afternoon in Philipsburg.
That might be the perfect winter weekend, but the area also offers a wide variety of fair-weather activities. From water recreation on Georgetown Lake to hiking and rock hounding there are activities to please the entire family.
Upon arriving in Philipsburg there is a spread of activities, and it might be hard to decide where to start. Usually we hit one of several restaurants on main street: The Silver Mill, Doe Brothers, or UpNSmokin BBQ House to name a few. With a full belly, this is the perfect time to wander through the unique shops found in town.
You won’t find any large box stores or chains in Philipsburg, but main street (Broadway) has everything you could possibly be looking for – coffee shops, galleries, a candy shop, a fly shop, antiques, pottery, knickknacks, a florist, boutiques, and more. As you window shop, you are more than likely to be met with genuine Montana Hospitality, welcoming you into the shop and striking up a conversation.
A family favorite is always the Sweet Palace, a destination candy shop with Victorian decor will give you a taste of nostalgia. (**closed on Saturdays – plan accordingly)
While you are in the area, it would be a crime to miss one of the most unique ghost towns in the area: Granite. Unlike other boomtowns, this particular site is unique in that the majority of the buildings were constructed in brick rather than wood, leaving an intricate labyrinth of walls and doorways for visitors to explore. Discovered in 1872 by a prospector named Holland, the Granite Mine would prove to be the Richest Silver Mine on Earth, producing $33 million in silver (today that would be nearly $800 million).
Having had a full day of exploration, the best way to conclude this excursion is to return to Philipsburg for a cold one at one of Montana’s favorite micro-breweries: Philipsburg Brewing Company.