History buffs find their perfect vacation in Virginia City while outdoorsmen flock to the area for some of the best blue-ribbon fishing. While the Madison is the region’s more well-known treasure, the Ruby Valley is home to the confluence of three popular rivers (Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby) to form the Jefferson, making Twin Bridges and Ennis perfect fly-fishing destinations.
Virginia City and Ennis Area Communities
Alder is steeped in mining history. At the end of the 19th century, Alder was the site of a major gold rush, the same rush that brought thousands to Virginia City. Despite the gold deposits drying up, visitors can still try their hand at mining using screens to sift for garnets and other gemstones at Red Rock Mine. A visit to Alder would be incomplete without exploration of Virginia and Nevada Cities.
Cameron sits along Highway 287 Northwest of West Yellowstone. The agricultural land around Cameron extends all the way to the Madison Mountains. Sphinx Mountain towers over the community making a stunning backdrop. Cameron also offers ready access to the Upper Madison River and visitors will find plenty of opportunity for wildlife watching in the Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Ennis is the perfect location for a Montana getaway. Flanked by mountains on three sides and located on the edge of the blue ribbon trout-filled Madison river; Ennis is ideal for nature-lovers. After spending a day in the great outdoors, stop by Burnt Tree Brewing or Willie’s Distillery to relax and connect with the community. In addition to being surrounded by beautiful scenery, it is a town rich in history.
Harrison was named after the ranching family that first settled in the area at the end of the 19th century. Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the community and farmers and ranchers from across the valley meet at the local cafe. Visitors will find Harrison along Highway 287 and at the foot of the Tobacco Root Mountains, one of the direct routes to Yellowstone National Park.
Melrose is a town famous for its close proximity to the Big Hole River and the quality trout fishing the location provides. Melrose is located near Bannack, as well as Beaverhead Rock State Park, named for the large stone landmark known as Beaverhead Rock. Beaverhead Rock was recognized by Sacajawea during her time with the Corps of Discovery, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Located just 6.5 miles north of Ennis, the small community of McAllister sits along US Highway-287. When the post office opened in 1869 the agricultural community was named Meadow Creek but was renamed in 1896 for James Alexander McAllister Jr., son of one of the earliest settlers in the area. Most notably. Here, you will find access to the Bear Trap Wilderness Area.
Nevada City is best known for its historical significance in connection with the goldrush. Along with Virginia City, Nevada City is home to the Alder Gulch diggings, which is the location of an especially rich gold placer deposit. It is the perfect example of a boomtown, which died down to nothing after the gold was depleted. Today the town is a popular destination for those wishing to visit the open air museum and watch live historical reenactments.
Norris is an ideal location for visitors to take a break after an adventurous visit in Yellowstone. Norris is known for its relaxing hot springs, which are heated using the same geothermal energy that is responsible for the fascinating features found in the park. Live music is a staple at the hot springs, and visitors can plan to spend their days hiking or rafting in the nearby wilderness areas.
Pony is a small picturesque deserted mining town, located at the foot of the Tobacco Root Mountains. Known for its captivating scenery, Pony is perfect for those looking to take a break and step into nature. Pony provides a beautiful backdrop for fishing and hiking expeditions, and is conveniently located for visitors to quickly travel to or from Norris Hot Springs and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.
As with many Montana towns, Sheridan is a classic destination for a day in nature. Sheridan can be found in the Ruby River Valley, a location known for being surrounded by seven different mountain ranges. This Montana classic offers a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from backpacking and fishing to hunting and camping. Ruby Valley Brew is the perfect stop for visitors to relax and refresh after a long day in Montana’s wilderness.
The third oldest town in Montana, natives claim that Edward, Prince of Wales, the son of Queen Victoria, spent three days in the Silver Star Hotel during his visit in 1878. Silver Star provides day access to the Jefferson River, a fly fishing destination. Several unique craft and gift shops make Silver Star a fun place to stop and browse for a while.
Twin Bridges is characterized by the Jefferson River, formed by the convergence of the Ruby, Big Hole, and Beaverhead Rivers. This makes it an ideal location for those looking to fish or float the rivers. Full of Montana charm, Twin Bridges is home to the unique Floating Flotillas Fish Fantasy river parade, as well as a beautiful summer farmers market, a fair, and a rodeo.
Virginia City was the second Territorial Capital of Montana and home to one of the biggest gold rushes in the state, drawing thousands of miners to the area and quickly outpacing Bannack. Virginia City has been well maintained and restored, offering a good look into the old west gold rush past that is so ingrained into the Montana culture.
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