Communities: Bonner, Clinton, Greenough, Ovando
Made famous by Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It," the beautiful Blackfoot River runs along this scenic corridor offering plenty of picturesque vistas and outdoor recreation. It's one of the most popular stretches of the Blackfoot River to fish, as native trout are abundant, and rafters and floaters find just the class of water they need for a wild ride or a lazy float.
The town of Clinton marks the gateway to one of Western Montana's treasures—Rock Creek, a pristine blue-ribbon trout stream drawing anglers from far and wide. Visit Fisherman's Mercantile fly shop and Ekstrom's Stage Station, a historic camping resort made up of reconstructed homesteader cabins and frontier buildings, including a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and freshly baked breads, biscuits and pies. West of Clinton, Beavertail Hill State Park offers fishing, hiking and the authentic Western Montana experience of camping out under the stars in a teepee.
Just west of Bonner, overlook the restored confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers at Milltown State Park, where visitors can also float, fish, bike and hike. In Bonner, KettleHouse Brewing Company gives Blackfoot Corridor explorers a place to stop and sip on an award-winning Cold Smoke® Scotch Ale, and the KettleHouse outdoor amphitheater hosts national acts on the banks of the Blackfoot River. In the summer months, tubers float the river from Whitaker Bridge to Johnsrud Park—between Bonner and Greenough near Potomac. After some good river time, find the local distillery in Potomac—a true hole-in-the-wall near Johnsrud—for a huckleberry vodka. Also in Potomac, Cully's Bar & Grill can set you up with a mighty tasty burger and some local Montana beer.
In the winter, trails in Twin Creeks are prime for fat bikes—the perfect way to bike in the snow. Nordic lovers take to their cross-country skis in Greenough at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest, which maintains 12 miles of trails and offers cabin rentals for a unique and peaceful getaway. Greenough is also home to one of Montana's most premier luxury resort ranches—The Resort at Paws Up—complete with glamping, spa services, sleigh rides, horseback riding, endless recreation opportunities and amazing food, plus, their brand new adults only lodging property, The Green O.
There's a rich boom and bust mining history in the Blackfoot region at Garnet Ghost Town—named one of America's Coolest Ghost Towns by Travel + Leisure. Visitors can tour the grounds of Montana's best preserved abandoned mining town, including historic cabins, a hotel and a saloon. Numerous hiking, biking and Nordic ski trails fan out from town. Winter visitors can access Garnet by ski, snowshoe and snowmobile only and can stay overnight on site at a rental cabin, which makes for a fun and unique alpine adventure. Outside Garnet, ATV trails offer the chance to get off the beaten path, literally, on an off-road experience.
Bicyclists from all over the world cycling the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route—which runs from Canada to the Mexican border—make it a priority to stop in the tiny town of Ovando and never cease to be impressed by the scenery and warm hospitality. Unique camping experiences are available in teepees, covered wagons or the "hoosegow"—old fashioned jail—next door to the local museum. The fishing around Ovando is pretty spectacular, too.
Highlights: KettleHouse Amphitheater; KettleHouse Brewing Company; Garnet Ghost Town; blue-ribbon trout fishing; wildlife watching; tubing; fat biking; guest ranches, rafting; snowmobiling; Lubrecht Experimental Forest; Nordic skiing; ATVing
Length: 69 miles
Travel time: 1 hour
Three rivers and seven wilderness areas meet in Missoula, Montana, a small town with enormous personality. Visit Missoula and experience it for yourself.
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