Discover the Road Less Traveled in Southwest Montana
Southwest Montana’s most notable communities include Butte and Helena, but when it comes to small town charm, the region has so much more to offer. Some of our lesser known communities not only provide visitors with genuine hospitality, but serve as a basecamp to some of the state’s most pristine spaces. Whether your perfect vacation features a deep dive into history, an exploration of the arts, rest and relaxation or an adrenaline rush in the great outdoors, Southwest Montana is the perfect destination!
We can’t wait for you to uncover unforgettable memories in our backyard!
GET TO KNOW OUR SMALLER COMMUNITIES
Ennis, settled along the Madison River, is best known as a blue-ribbon fly fishing destination. Ennis is just over an hour from West Yellowstone and the area is home to Norris Hot Springs, a charming Main Street, an outdoor art walk, a famous distillery, and so much more!
Lincoln is settled in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley and offers visitors incredible access to endless public lands. One of the community’s most popular attractions is the Sculpture in the Wild, a stunning park that commemorates the rich history of the area. You’ll also find the Hi-Country Trading Post and Upper Blackfoot Historical Society just outside of town.
On the banks of the Missouri River just downstream from the Holter Lake Reservoir is the small community of Craig. This community is all about fishing and features a number of local guides. In the fall, the Applestem, Inc Corn Maze is a great addition to your itinerary and only a short trip from Helena.
Anaconda is a short drive from Butte and found its beginnings as the copper smelter in the area. Just outside of town visitors will find respite in nature at Georgetown Lake and Lost Creek State Park. Montana Zipline Adventure provides fun for the whole family with an incredible view of the Pintler Mountains. Enjoy Smelter City Brewery, the Copper Village Museum, a historic walking tour, and even a show at the historic Washoe Theater!
When it comes to the Montana lifestyle, Sheridan is the perfect example, it’s laid back and hardworking. Just a short drive from historic Virginia City and Nevada City, Sheridan offers visitors incredible access to the outdoors, history, charming accommodations and even a microbrewery.
Ovando can be found in some of the state’s best farm land and is settled along the fabled Blackfoot River – boasting more scenery per capita than any other small town in Montana, visitors won’t want to miss this stunning community. Grab a bite to eat at Trixi’s Antler Saloon or the Stray Bullet Cafe before exploring the Scapegoat Wilderness.
Home to a number of outfitters, Lima is the perfect basecamp for packing, hiking, and camping in the nearby Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest or birding in the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, Lima offers ready access to the fly fishing, floating and scenic vistas and of the nearly 70 miles of the Red Rock River.
Each year, Whitehall celebrates its heritage with Frontier days the last weekend in July. The Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed through the area which is commemorated by a series of murals around town. Just a short drive from Montana’s first and largest State Park, the Lewis & Clark Caverns, are a great day trip and the perfect way to stay cool during the summer.
Wisdom sits in the middle of the Big Hole Valley. Visitors will find the Big Hole National Battlefield just outside of town. In addition Jackson Hot Springs and Elkhorn Hot Springs are just a short drive from town and the Pioneer Scenic Byway is a favorite for travelers, providing access to fishing, hiking, camping, Coolidge Ghost Town and Crystal Park!
Philipsburg had its start in silver, but it is the Montana Sapphires that have kept the community on the map. As you enjoy the shops along Main Street, grab a beer at Philipsburg Brewing Company, and make sure that the Sweet Palace is at the top of your list! Try your hand at rockhounding, catch a show at the opera house and book a night in the historic accommodations around town. During the winter enjoy the Philipsburg Ice Rink or head over to Discovery Ski Area!
Virginia City is a largely seasonal community, with most businesses open May – September. This town was the second territorial capital of Montana and stands today as a living ghost town. Stay at a historic inn, catch a show at the opera house, attend a Grand Victorian Ball, dive into the history of the area and maybe you’ll meet a spirit or two along the way. As they say, “some folks made a fortune here, but what they left behind was priceless.”
Half way between Butte and Helena, Boulder was once an important stop along the stage couch routes. Throughout the summer you’ll find a number of events taking place, historic Boulder Hot Springs draws visitors from far and wide and Elkhorn State Park offers a glimpse of the gold rush era in Montana.
The Big Hole, Beaverhead and Ruby Rivers converge near Twin Bridges to form the Jefferson River, each of these rivers are considered blue-ribbon streams offering a diversity of fishing experiences. The famous RL Winston Rod Company calls Twin Bridges home, the town is home to a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Park, as well as the Bill White Bike Camp.
Augusta sits in the midst of spectacular scenery. To the east, the earth stretches out in miles of undulating prairie grass. To the west the earth rears skyward along the rugged Rocky Mountain Front, and Augusta is perfectly situated as a gateway to the sprawling Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Latigo and Lace is a historic boutique that offers visitors coffee, fine art, Montana gifts, clothing and more!
Townsend is located at the southern end of Canyon Ferry Reservoir making it a Mecca for boaters and fishermen year round. The town itself is home to a variety of restaurants, a microbrewery, and the unique Goose Bay Handblown Glass.
It was near Dillon at Beaverhead Rock that Sacagawea recognized the area as the land of her people as she accompanied the Lewis & Clark Expedition, as such there are a number of Lewis & Clark sites in the area. A short drive from Dillon, visitors will find Bannack State Park, Jackson Hot Springs and Clark Canyon Reservoir. In town add the County Museum, Andrus Hotel, and Patagonia Outlet to your itinerary!
Deer Lodge is a community steeped in history. The first settlers in the area were homesteaders and that heritage is commemorated at Grant-Kohrs National Historic Ranch. The town however is most famous as the home of the Old Montana Prison which stands as a museum complex, today the most popular exhibits being the prison itself and the Montana Auto Museum.
Where will your Southwest Montana Vacation take you?