In Butte, Copper is King. Often called “the richest hill on earth,” the mines of Butte brought together a diverse population of immigrants who in turn shaped Butte’s culture which remains today. Butte’s unique landscape provides countless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. If that isn’t enough, Butte is home to the largest National Historic Landmark District in the country.
Butte Area Communities
Basin sits along Interstate-15 between Butte and Boulder. Like so many of our communities, Basin began as a mining town, at one point boasting a smelter and mill, both of which closed in the 1920s. Basin has a number of specialty shops, a couple of restaurants, and a number of historic buildings. The radon health mines are a large draw to the area as well as the access to recreation in the Elkhorn Mountains.
Butte is a town rich in Montana history and unique culture. The World Museum of mining provides visitors the opportunity to learn and appreciate the role mining played in Montana’s past. Butte was formed from a conglomeration of cultures, specifically influenced by the heavy presence of Irish immigrants. This Irish influence seeps into everyday life and plays a major role in the town-wide celebration which occurs each year on St. Patrick’s Day.
Cardwell is settled along the Jefferson River and offers a stunning drive along Montana Highway 2 where you will find the Lewis & Clark Caverns, Montana’s first State Park. The caverns offer tours of the limestone caves, miles of hiking trails, a campground, and an interpretive center. If you are in the area, check out the LaHood Park Steakhouse or fuel up at Moose Crossing.
Established as a station on the Union Pacific, Divide sits at the mouth of the Big Hole Valley, where it served as the hub for shipping into the Valley. The Big Hole Special Management Area extends 35 miles upstream and 38 miles downstream of Divide. From the access points around Divide, float the Big Hole, or fish this blue ribbon trout stream, a bucket list must for any passionate angler.
Walkerville, a historic district adjacent to Butte, was home to some of the earliest mining sites in the area. Copper and silver were most commonly mined. Present day Old Lexington Stamp Mill and Gardens marks the site of Butte’s first smelter. The major features remaining at the Lexington include the steel headframe over the shaft, the hoist house, and a steel idler tower.
Whitehall sits centrally in the Southwest Montana Region along Interstate-90. Like many of Southwest Montana’s communities, Whitehall offers incredible access to high-quality fishing with the storied Beaverhead, Big Hole, and Madison rivers flowing within an hour of town and small streams even closer. Lewis & Clark Murals can be found throughout town, and offer a fun afternoon stroll for visitors.
We’re committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. As you enjoy all the area has to offer, please join us in following these guidelines for responsible recreation.
- Know before you go
- Practice physical distancing
- Plan ahead
- Play it safe
- Explore locally
- Leave no trace
- Build an inclusive outdoors