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About Hamilton Montana

Located along US Highway 93 in south western Montana, Hamilton is about an hours drive from the Montana/Idaho border. Travelers heading north into Hamilton will drive over beautiful Lost Trail Pass from Idaho. From Lost Trail Pass it is a beautiful drive through the Sula, and then Darby Montana.

Bitterroot Valley

The Bitterroot Valley is a wide open valley drained by the Bitterroot river. It starts up near Lost Trail Pass (Connecting Montana and Idaho) and comes down through Sula, Darby, Hamilton, Corvallis, Victor, Stevensville and Florence, Montana, ending with Missoula Montana.

The Bitterroot National Forest manages much of the mountainous lands on either side of the valley. One of the most beautiful features of the valley is the view of Blodgett Canyon to the west of Hamilton. These awesome cliffs are a sight to see as they catch the early sun on a clear day.

Blodgett Canyon is also a popular hiking area for Hamilton locals. You can head up this trail for a wonderful day hike, or strap on a full backpack and head up into the vast wilderness where you could literally spend the whole summer following trails through the wilderness.

The Bitterroot Valley is named after a delicate flower which grows in the valley and was a staple food of the local native tribes. Another, still popular, edible local plant is the morels mushroom which sends crowds of happy morels addicts out into the woods each spring in gathering hunts.

The Bitterroot Valley has amazing topsoil and a long growing season. This valley captures a fair share of rain, and also has excellent irrigation from numerous wells. So it stays lush and green through much of the summer. Growing home gardens is one of the most passionate pastimes of Bitterroot Valley locals. As you drive through the streets and lanes of Hamilton you will find numerous gardens. The valley is also home to many excellent garden stores and nurseries.

Bitterroot River

The Bitterroot River has gained fame as a primary location in the book “A River Runs Through It”by Norman Maclean: a haunting tale of family and fly fishing.

“A River Runs Through It” is one of the best-selling audiotapes ever. Although the story is clearly Norman Maclean’s recollections of his father, a Presbyterian minister, and brother. It is really a story about life as seen through the eyes of a flyfisheman. The setting is Montana’s Bitterroot Valley during Maclean’s youth. With his poetic writing Maclean paints exquisitely vivid and beautiful pictures of a lifestyle now gone in most of the world. Yet fly fishing lives on in real life in Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley!

Macleans story deals with the frustration of trying to save a loved one from their self-destruction. There are passages here which are as wonderfully written as anything in English. Not a page passes without discovering a superbly crafted gem. Throughout the tale, his life, his religion, his family, his fly-fishing are metaphors, each for the other. And the words of each are heard in the waters and stone of the rivers.

“So it is…that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don’t know what part to give or maybe we don’t like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed.”

“It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.”

Fly fishing is still a popular sport along the Bitterroot River, as well as numerous other streams in the area. Boating and kayaking are also often regularly enjoyed on the Bitterroot River.

Wilderness Area

The Bitterroot National Forest is a spectacular 1.6 million acre forest in southwestern Montana and Idaho. Half of the Bitterroot National Forest is composed of the protected Selway Bitterroot, Frank church River of No Return, and the Anaconda Pintler wilderness areas. These highly glaciated and rugged peaks are popular hiking, hunting and fishing grounds filled with elk, deer, moose, bear, and numerous smaller species.

Selway-Bitterroot is the third largest Wilderness in the Lower 48, surpassed in size only by California’s Death Valley Wilderness and Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness (RONR). More remarkable yet, is the fact that the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness borders the Selway-Bitterroot to the south- making this area clearly the largest expanse of wilderness land in the lower 48 states. Only the 600-foot-wide Nez Perce Trail (The Magruder Corridor), an unimproved dirt road, separates the Selway-Bitterroot from the Frank Church-RONR.

If you are looking for wilderness life or adventure, the Hamilton Montana area is the place for you. The Wilderness straddles both sides of the Bitterroot Range, which stands along the Montana-Idaho border and includes the Wild and Scenic Selway River, all of which flows through Idaho.

This large wilderness is one of the roughest and most scenic mountain areas on earth. Range after range displays high ridges dropping off into steep-walled canyons. The barren peaks line dense forests below. The wilderness is teaming with beautiful clear streams and more than 100 lakes. Great trout fishing everywhere, along with populations of Moose, elk, deer, bear, wolves, mountain lions, eagles and other wildlife.

Many miles of trails provide access to the Montana side of the Selway-Bitterroot, but large sections are unmaintained and rugged. The Divide Trail (Trail 16) follows the Bitterroot Divide for approximately seven miles north of Nez Perce Pass, offering outstanding views across the Montana and Idaho portions of the Wilderness.

Fishing and Hunting

The Hamilton Montana area boasts some of the best hunting and fishing areas in the world (or so we like to think). There is easy access out of Hamilton into miles of trails filled with big game, and ripe with fish.

The Bitterroot River is a Blue Ribbon trout stream. Brook Trout, Brown, Bull, Cutthroat, cutthroat/rainbow cross and Rainbow Trout as well as Mountain Whitefish are native to the Bitterroot River. State fishing access sites along the River are spaced around five to ten mile intervals, allowing wading anglers key entry points and providing floaters with options for full or half-day trips.The high alpine lakes of the Bitterroot Mountains also offer superb fishing, some requiring a bit of a hike to get too, but well worth it. The largest of these lakes and most popular recreation area for water sports is Lake Como, easily accessible it contains both cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Lost Trail Pass

Lost Trail Pass is famous from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. As they came over the pass from Idaho into Montana, they lost the trial and spent several miserable days in heavy snow storms. And this was just the first of their miseries. As winter was closing in the unhappy expedition sloshed through the Montana mountains, finally reaching Oregon in a state of near starvation.

Today you can enjoy Lost Trail Pass with great hot springs and Powder Mountain Skiing. When you visit Lost Trail Powder Mountain for skiing in the winter, you will enjoy the beauty and uncrowded slopes of the Rocky Mountain’s hidden jewel. A great family skiing location at the top of the Continental Divide bordering Idaho and Montana


One Response to About Hamilton Montana

  • garden party chords says:

    Hi, we live up north on Catawba Island and we have been planting a garden for over 30 years. My biggest problem is keeping the critters out, so I had to put a fence around the whole thing, but still somehow they find a way in. The rabbits respect the fence but ground hogs will destroy your beautiful

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