Montana June 15, 2017
11 Underrated Montana Towns That Deserve A Second Look
We’ll be the first to admit that some of our larger cities (Bozeman and Missoula) and some of our most charming small towns (we’re looking at you, Whitefish) get a lot more attention than some of our other places. And while the afore-mentioned cities are wonderful, today we’d like to call your attention to some underrated Montana gems that are often overlooked.
The next time you’re looking to explore more of our great state, take a road trip to one of these spots.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Big Timber
Those who have called this Sweet Grass County gem home are aware of what a wonderful place it is. Between the historic Grand Hotel, the beautiful Natural Bridge State Park and the exceptional food at the Thirsty Turtle, you'll be charmed by Big Timber.
Founded as Horse Plains (and sometimes still referred to as Wild Horse Plains), this quaint Sanders County town is often overlooked. But drive through and you'll find some great little gems, like the delicious Heather's Country Kitchen and this old schoolhouse from 1878. This is definitely a place that experiences all four seasons, and the cost of living is 7% lower than the Montana average.
Located at the foot of Hollowtop Mountain in Southwest Montana, there's not much to the actual town of Pony - but the surrounding scenery is absolutely incredible. Belly up to the Pony Bar, home of the annual Rubber Duck Races, and chat with the locals.
This tiny little Eastern Montana town was named after Walter John Winnett, a Canadian who ran away from home as a boy because he was seeking adventure. The 200 people who live here embody that adventurous spirit, and while you won't find many amenities in town, the Happy Heifer Bar and Grill more than makes up for it.
Often used as a "home base" for hunters, Malta is located in Phillips County at the intersection of U.S. Routes 2 and 191. Though it is very small in size, it's undeniably charming, and it happens to be a stop on the Dinosaur Trail.
No one can deny that this small railroad community is appropriately named. Located near the confluence of the Flathead and Clark Fork rivers, the beautiful scenery alone makes it worth checking out. The excellent fishing and Quinn's Hot Springs are added bonuses.
Eureka is located in the northwestern corner of Montana on the banks of the Tobacco River near the Canadian border. It's a beautiful place and a friendly community, but because of its location, it's often overlooked. If you go, check out the Tobacco Valley Historical Village, a collection of restored buildings and structures that date back to the 1880s.
To experience a true good old-fashioned Western town, look no further than Augusta. Located about 53 miles west and slightly south of Great Falls, Augusta serves as the trail-head to the beautiful Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
9. Thompson Falls
Located in Sanders County, Thompson Falls sits nestled along the Clark Fork River. If friendly locals, excellent fishing and access to millions of acres of forestlands and trails sound good to you, you'll love it here.
Home to Montana's most famous steakhouse, Sir Scott's Oasis, Manhattan is certainly significantly smaller than its New York counterpart... but that's exactly the way we like it.
Colstrip was established by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1924. Once known as the "energy capital of Montana," today Colstrip is a quiet community with 22 parks and 2,000 residents. The visitor center, The Schoolhouse History and Art Center, is an old schoolhouse and serves to provide information on local history and give tours of the coal mine from May to October.
Montana is full of “hidden gem” towns, each of them full of unique personality and attractions.
Here’s a list of some of our most charming small towns, and here are some great reasons to visit historic Fort Benton.