While driving on Secondary Highway 279 from Helena to Lincoln, you might cruise right past the turn to Marysville without even noticing. That would be a mistake. Tucked away at the foot of Mount Belmont, and just twenty miles from Helena, this semi-ghost town shines as one of the underappreciated gems in Southwestern Montana. Like many Montana communities, Marysville boomed as a gold camp in the 1880s and '90s. Much of Marysville hasn't changed since the gold rush days, and several buildings have found their way onto the National Registry of Historic Places.
Great Divide Ski Area, a few miles west of Marysville, is exactly what a ski hill should be. The hill offers over 130 named trails on sixteen hundred acres of terrain. Great Divide has everything from expert-level backcountry to sweeping beginner bowl skiing. A terrain park and lit runs at night make the area an unforgettable experience. The lodge is simple, but comfortable and has none of the overdeveloped, over commercialized feel so common in ski hills. A day at Great Divide makes it clear why the hill is a favorite local haunt.
After a day of skiing, soak in the unique atmosphere of the ghost town while eating at the Marysville House, a local favorite. The no-nonsense presentation, the enormous portions, and the one-of-a-kind atmosphere in this former saloon prove that no one knows how to do steak better than Montanans. Marysville gives the visitor the perfect opportunity to have a deliciously local experience while relishing the adventure of the Continental Divide.
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