Oozing history and brimming with adventure, southwest Montana offers a lifetime of exploration and discovery.
Anchored by the cities of Butte and Helena, southwest Montana is truly defined by its sweeping open spaces filled with broad valleys, sky-topping peaks, and lots and lots of wildlife.
Walk the streets of authentic ghost towns like Bannack and see the mansions built by those who profited from mining. In Butte, head to the World Museum of Mining for a glimpse of what made this town the “richest hill on Earth.”
Helena is not just the state’s capital but also is home to some of the best mountain biking in America – singletrack begins at the end of every street and the city runs a free bus for bikers.
Tiny Dillon is home to incredible fly fishing – grab a fly rod and cast your line into famed rivers like the Big Hole and the Beaverhead. Prefer your fun on snow? Downhill skiing is down-home and dirt cheap at local favorites like Maverick Mountain, Discovery Basin, and Great Divide. Prefer your snow fun at a slower pace? Cross-country trails crisscross mighty ranges like the Pioneers and the Pintlers.
Nez Perce Creek in Montana
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Helena was awarded “silver” status by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and for good reason – the vibrant capital offers a lot to bikers. More than 20 trailheads access 75 miles of singletrack in downtown alone, and the region offers even more riding opportunities. Navigate limestone canyons in the Trout Creek area or take a short ride before dinner on Wakina Ridge and around Mt. Helena. Numerous shops in town rent bikes by the day.
Southwest Montana’s landscape is dotted with towns which lived hard and died young. Bannack State Park has easily-accessible and beautifully-restored ruins, while Elkhorn State Park is a ghost town where some people continue to live. Nevada City bustles with tourists by day while hard-to-reach Granite is a ghost town you’ll have all to yourself. Other ghost towns include Garnet, Alder Gulch, and Laurin.