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Overview

High mountain valleys coursing with trout-rich streams, and ghost towns and mining centers from Montana's Old West heyday combine to make Southern Montana a picture-perfect destination for lovers of history and recreation. The headwaters of the Missouri River drain much of this big-as-all-outdoors Rocky Mountain landscape, forming prime habitat for lusty, hard-fighting trout and providing some of the most challenging, rewarding scenic fly-fishing in North America. In the 1860s, gold fever brought in a flood of prospectors, miners and colorful ne'er-do-wells to these remote valleys. Today, many of the mining camps now slumber as ghost towns ...

High mountain valleys coursing with trout-rich streams, and ghost towns and mining centers from Montana's Old West heyday combine to make Southern Montana a picture-perfect destination for lovers of history and recreation. The headwaters of the Missouri River drain much of this big-as-all-outdoors Rocky Mountain landscape, forming prime habitat for lusty, hard-fighting trout and providing some of the most challenging, rewarding scenic fly-fishing in North America. In the 1860s, gold fever brought in a flood of prospectors, miners and colorful ne'er-do-wells to these remote valleys. Today, many of the mining camps now slumber as ghost towns (Virginia City and Bannock) while others have grown into handsome, history-rich cities, such as Helena, the state capital. At Butte, rich veins of silver and copper earned this once-thriving industrial center the sobriquet "the richest hill on earth." One of the gateways to Yellowstone, Bozeman is a prosperous center for the arts and the New West lifestyle.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June-September for sunny weather; January-Mar for skiing