Southwest Montana offers everything from gems to hot springs. Here are our top picks for places to stop on Yellowstone and Glacier National Park vacation.
Bale of Hay Saloon
Reason to Go: Get a dose of the West in Montana’s oldest running bar in Virginia City, a historic gold mining town. The saloon is open mid-May to late September.
Quirky Fact: Rumor has it that in 1863 when the first pioneers paid for goods in town with gold dust from Alder Gulch, more than 200 people followed them back to their claim to strike it rich.
Virginia City Players Theatre Company
Reason to Go: Sit back in this historic Virginia City theater and be entertained by 1800s-era melodramas and vaudeville variety acts.
Quirky Fact: You can purchase a drink at the Bale of Hay Saloon next door and bring it into the theater.
El Western Cabins
Reason to Go: Just an hour from Yellowstone, this outpost in Ennis, Mont., offers a mix of cabins and lodges for families of all sizes. It's authentic Montana but with Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
Quirky Fact: Opened in 1948, El Western hosted some of the first avid fly fishermen to enjoy the blue-ribbon waters of the Madison River as the sport grew in popularity.
Copper King Mansion
Reason to Go: Sleep in the Butte mansion that belonged to W.A. Clark, one of the world's richest men in 1900. African mahogany sleigh beds make you feel part of the world’s 1-percent club.
Quirky Fact: Go on guided tours of this 34-room mansion in summer. Clark made money mining but also owned the Los Angeles Sugar Co. and land in Nevada that later became Las Vegas.
Reason to Go: Discover great deals on your favorite outdoor gear at the Patagonia Outlet in downtown Dillon, Mont. Find it at 16 S. Idaho.
Quirky Fact: Great Harvest Bread Co. got its start in Great Falls, Mont., in 1976 and is headquartered in Dillon. Today there are more than 200 Great Harvest bakery and cafe franchises in the U.S.
Reason to Go: Mix Rocky Mountain snowmelt with Montana-farmed rye and red winter wheat, and you get a boutique distillery and tasting room in Butte, Mont., run by John and Courtney McKee.
Quirky Fact: Each spirit is named after a mine in the Butte district, recalling life in Butte when the town provided the copper ore that electrified America at the turn of the 20th century.
Butte Trolley Tour
Reason to Go: Ride the trolley to hear about Butte's colorful history and present-day attractions.
Quirky Fact: Visitors can go 65 feet into the Orphan Girl Mine at the World Museum of Mining (not part of the trolley tour).
For more information:
Butte Convention & Visitors Bureau