Montana Authors & The Bookstore Trail

Portals to Adventure

We Love Our Independent Bookstores

Perhaps it’s the sweeping landscapes, the rich history, or the picturesque communities that inspire authors to create their complex characters and paint them in backdrops of rugged beauty.

Perhaps it’s the stillness of nature that roots authors here and inspires stories to emerge. Not only do we take pride in our natural spaces, but we also in the form of artistry that unfolds from the bound pages of the books contained on the shelves of our beloved bookstores.

There are more independent bookstores in Montana per capita than any other state. Often being a hub of community activity, bookstores offer a place to connect with fellow bookworms and occasionally local authors. They offer a quiet place to learn about Montana’s history, grow in our knowledge, and experience the world through the eyes of others.

In an age of short bits of internet content, it’s often easy to lose sight of the thrill of experiencing a story unfold across the pages bound in your hands. But so much can be learned and experienced from one page to the next. For visitors, locally authored books often offer a unique and personal perspective on Montana and its rich history. From true crime novels to nuanced lines of poetry, our locally-owned Montana bookstores offer a variety of Montana-penned material. As you explore the shelves of these bookshops, there is sure to be something to pique your interest.

Our locally-owned independent bookstores also offer a variety of maps, trail guides and other natural world interpretive items that will enhance your time in Montana!

From hiking books to wildflower identification guides, make your Montana vacation educational and rewarding.

Plus, the friendly bookstore keepers often have exquisite tips for traveling through Montana – from restaurant and café suggestions to tips on things to see and do in the area, we are sure you will find a visit to our bookstores to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience!

Book Cover - A River Runs Through It
Quote Character

In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing."

~ River Runs Through it - Normal McClean

Discover New Worlds

Discover new places on the Montana Bookstore Trail

As the quote widely attributed to St. Augustine states, “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” There is an undeniable connection between literary works and travel, as the truly effective literary works transport us from our comfy chair next to the window to new worlds in other eras with backdrops very different than our own.

From the oral traditions of the First Peoples in the area of present-day Montana, to the modern-day crime drama thrillers lining the New York Times Best Sellers shelves, humans have been telling stories about this place for centuries. Fortunately for you, the Montana Bookstore Trail provides a fun adventure for you to experience the place so many have written about.

You can make your own adventure while traveling along the Montana Bookstore Trail. As you travel on the trail, you will encounter towns of rich Western history fading into idyllic natural landscapes.

The independent bookstores on the Montana Bookstore Trail within Southwest Montana offer a great reason to visit the towns they reside in:

Augusta, Montana

The charming town of Augusta is on the edge of the Rocky Mountain Front and fondly maintains its “Cowtown” lifestyle as a small and memorable western destination surrounded by ranching and agricultural production.

Live the Adventure:

Helena, Montana

The present-day capital of Montana was founded as a gold mining camp in 1864. Quickly becoming a wealthy city, at one point it held the highest concentration of millionaires per capita in the world.

Live the Adventure:

Townsend, Montana

First established as a rail stop for the gold mining in the area, Townsend is a vibrant and friendly community at the southern end of Canyon Ferry Lake.

Live the Adventure:

Butte, Montana

Butte’s western history is deeply rooted in copper mining. Attributed as providing the copper that electrified America’s cities, the town was a destination for immigrants from around the world. Today, Uptown Butte is the largest US National Historic Landmark District and provides great historic tours and exciting community events.

Live the Adventure:

Dillon, Montana

Dillon was named after the Union Pacific Railroad’s president, Sidney Dillon, after being established as a railroad town and supplied nearby gold mining operations. Dillon now acts as a regional hub for the surrounding area, and offers a vibrant downtown, cool museum, and is a gateway to surrounding natural areas and landmarks such as Clark Canyon Reservoir and Bannack State Park.

Live the Adventure:

Quote Character

The hills and cliffs which we passed today exhibit a most romantic experience."

~ Meriwether Lewis, May 31, 1805 (Lewis & Clark Journals)

Map of the Bookstore Trail

Map image of the Montana Bookstore Trail

Montana Bookstore Trail Locations in Southwest Montana

Read All About It

A few of many recommended authors and books to look for

While there are many authors to discover (and we wish we could feature them all!), here are a few favorites that hopefully act as a starting place for your upcoming bookstore adventures!

Make sure to chat with the person behind the counter at your bookstore stops. They will likely have a vast array of recommendations and help you choose a book most suited to your reading interests.

Tops of books stacked together
Book Cover - Travels with Charley in search of America
Quote Character

I'm in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, and even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it's difficult to analyze love when you're in it."

~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Illustration of a young red haired girl reading a book

What Story Will You Discover Next?

Hop on the Montana Bookstore Trail today!