The Dillon and Beaverhead Area encompasses some of Southwest Montana’s most pristine land, being home to a portion of the Continental Divide Trail, the Centennial Valley, the Pioneer Scenic Byway and Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The area’s fame, however, comes from the sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail and the site of the first major gold rush.
Dillon and Beaverhead County Area Communities
Bannack was Montana’s first Territorial Capital following a massive gold rush along Grasshopper Creek. The discovery of gold brought thousands to the area including the infamous sheriff Henry Plummer who is said to have been the leader of the lawless Road Agents. Bannack has been preserved as one of Montana’s State Parks, offering visitors the opportunity to wander the halls of nearly 60 structures.
Dell is a primarily ranching community, nestled between the Blacktail and Tendoy Mountains. This charming town was originally built along the Utah and Northern Railroad, and is now a perfect gateway into a backcountry Montana drive. The Big Sheep Creek Backcountry Byway is a scenic drive for those brave enough to travel down the 50 mile gravel road. The Dell Mercantile is the perfect pre-road trip stop for those visiting the byway.
Lewis & Clark passed through the Beaverhead on their 1806 Expedition. In fact, Dillon is famous as the site where Sacagawea recognized the land of her people at Beaverhead Rock. While in the area you can also visit Clark’s Lookout. Jackson and Elkhorn Hot Springs sit within an hour of town, as well as Clark Canyon Reservoir, Bannack Ghost Town State Park and the Centennial Valley.
Nestled between the Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers north of Dillon, Glen offers fishermen an ideal getaway. In addition to the blue-ribbon streams, Glen is just 10-miles from Brownes Lake which boasts wonderful rainbow trout fishing. The Corps of Discovery travelled the Beaverhead River near Glen which is where Sacagawea recognized Beaverhead Rock as a landmark of her people.
Jackson is known for its hot springs and outdoor recreation opportunity. Winter sport lovers will find the location and terrain of Jackson perfect for snowy adventures. Located in close proximity to a number of mountain ranges and the headwaters of the Big Hole River, Jackson is a hub of outdoor activity in both winter and summer. The Montana Snowkite Rodeo, a unique three-day experience, is an annual event based out of Jackson Hot Springs Lodge.
Beaverhead County is outlined by the Continental Divide. The community of Lakeview sits in the foothills of the Continental Divide 90 miles south of Dillon. Lakeview offers visitors a perfect entry point to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest for horseback riding, hiking, and fishing and a beautiful drive to the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge which offers an incredible array of wildlife viewing.
Originally named Allerdice, Lima is a community reliant upon its neighboring wilderness. Lima is a great jumping off point for those looking to go backpacking, hiking, camping, or birding in the nearby Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Red Rocks Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, Lima is a fly-fishing and river-floating destination with a number of guides and outfitters in the area.
Polaris is located on one of Southwest Montana’s Scenic Byways which winds through the Pioneer Mountains. Visitors will find a recreational paradise with a wide variety of trails, Maverick Mountain Ski HIll, and a number of campgrounds and picnic areas. Rockhounding is a popular activity at nearby Crystal Park and you can reward yourself with a soak at Elkhorn Hot Springs.
Located on Montana Highway 43, Wise River is the small town at the point where the Wise River flows into the Big Hole. This charming Montana town is home to decent pocket fishing locations, as well as a few scattered forest service campgrounds. The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway goes along the Wise River, offering travelers beautiful views of the mountains and a number of scenic turnout opportunities for the more adventurous souls.
Located in the middle of the Big Hole Valley, Wisdom is home to the Big Hole Battlefield. The battlefield is perfect for those looking to enjoy a beautiful walk and a nice picnic while learning about some significant Montana history. Wisdom has a number of restaurants and bars for visitors to enjoy, as well as coffee available at the Hook and Horn for a pick-me-up.
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