Nestled in the Pintler Mountains and connected by the beautiful Pintler Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Highway, the Anaconda-Philipsburg area offers a treasure trove of activities. A literal treasure trove, given the panning-for-sapphires opportunities in Philipsburg. It’s always difficult to make these “X Things To Do” lists–there’s so many great activities, narrowing it down is impossible! So let this list pique your interest, then head over to the Anaconda-Philipsburg Area and see how much more there is to do!
1. Sweet Palace
Of course the Sweet Palace is going to show up on this list. It’s a store jam-packed with every kind of homemade and old fashioned candy imaginable. Chocolates and fudge and saltwater taffy…there’s something delightfully Wonka-esque about watching taffy being pulled right before your eyes.
2. Montana Zipline Adventures
Opening May 21, 2021, Montana Zipline Adventures will offer the longest zipline experience in Montana with 9,300 feet of line soaring over the Pintler Mountains. Ziplining anywhere is an exhilarating experience and the panoramic views of the Pintlers are going to give thrill seekers a definite boost.
Some things are just inevitably going to show up on a list. In Southwest Montana those things are Ski Hills and Breweries. Let’s talk beer. If you’re in Anaconda, you’ll want to head over to Smelter City Brewing, which has been pulling pints since 2017 and has a regular line up of great live music. In Philipsburg, the Philipsburg Brewing Co. has a charming downtown taproom, as well as a huge patio and concert space just out of town.
4. Discovery Ski Hill, Echo Lake Ski Area and Disco Bike Park
Discovery Ski Hill is one of Montana’s top notch ski areas. Discovery features a huge range of terrain for skiers of all levels and abilities. Shooting down the slopes in the crisp snow is one of the most delightful ways to spend a winter day. In close competition for the best-winter-day title, cross country skiing offers a calmer – yet exhilarating in its own way – experience. The Echo Lake XC Ski area is in the Forest Service land that stretches between Discovery Ski Area and Georgetown Lake. The non-profit Echo Lake Trail Association maintains groomed and ungroomed trails, combing a wilderness experience and a close-knit community vibe.
During the off-season, Discovery Ski Hill operates the Disco Bike Park! The bike park is designed for riders of all ability and offers lift service. The professionally maintained park is located on the backside of Discovery and drops riders approximately 1,050 vertical feet. Lessons and rentals are available, be sure to call ahead!
5. Old Works Golf Course
On the site of the original Anaconda copper smelter, the Old Works golf course is a Jack Nicklaus signature course–considered among the best designed courses in the world–and is one of only a handful of Nicklaus courses open to the public. The course also features the premier practice facility in the state.
6. Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Byway
If you’ve spent any time on the blog, you’ll know how much we love road trips, and the Pintler Veterans’ Memorial scenic byway is superb. The byway passes through historic Anaconda and then climbs quickly to Georgetown Lake before descending down the picturesque Flint Valley and Philipsburg. It is pleasant drive showcasing classic Montana scenery–mining towns, soaring mountains, alpine lakes, and lush meadowlands.
7. Georgetown Lake
Nestled at the intersection of the Anaconda Pintlers, the Sapphires, and Flint Creek Mountains, Georgetown Lake covers is one of Southwest Montana’s best fishing destinations, summer or winter. With rainbow, brook trout, and kokanee salmon, Georgetown boasts more fish caught per person than any other lake in Montana. Beyond fishing, Georgetown is ideal for camping and all sorts of other water recreation.
8. Lost Creek State Park
Almost due north of Anaconda, Lost Creek State Park follows the course of Lost Creek as it flows out of the Flint Creek Range. Characterized by soaring limestone canyon walls and fast-flowing Lost Creek, the park is home to all manner of wildlife, including bighorn sheep. The park offers plenty of opportunities for camping and hiking. It is also a great day-trip destination for people who want to visit the park’s crown jewel–the spectacular Lost Creek Falls.
9. Copper Village Museum
Copper Village Museum, housed in the historic Anaconda city hall, not only features art exhibitions and events, it hosts the annual Art in Washoe Park. The annual three-day extravaganza fills the downtown Anaconda park with over 80 art and craft stalls, street food and festivities. Throughout the year the museum itself hosts events and classes.
10. Gem Mines
Panning for treasure can be a risky business. Most of the famous names of Montana’s gold rush made their fortunes selling goods to the miners, not actually mining themselves. And yet, there is something incredibly delightful about the process of searching for treasure. If you’d like to experience the joy of find gemstones, Philipsburg has not one but three gem hunting opportunities. You can pan for sapphires in the Sapphire Gallery, Montana Gems, and Gem Mountain.