Adventures in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

More activities than you can shake a fly rod at. Or a ski pole. Or paddle. Or hiking stick.

There are many ways to experience the Bitterroot Valley. It is simply a matter of choosing your favorite tool. With so many natural features to select from, your vacation in the Bitterroot can be as active—or not—as any you could ever imagine.

horseback riding group on trail ride in montana bitterroot valley

TRAILS

for hiking, biking or horseback riding.

Although you may not be the first to explore these mountains it can certainly feel that way most of the time. There’s a good bet it’s the result of the largest continuous stretch of wilderness in the Lower 48 stretching out right here from the Bitterroot. The Bitterroot National Forest alone comprises 1.6 million acres. Every direction you look there are mountains and canyons loaded with trails waiting to be explored.

youth fishing in a bitterroot lake

WATERS

for fishing, boating or swimming.

From the free-flowing waters of the Bitterroot River to calm serene Lake Como, there are more than enough water sports to keep you occupied. While trout occupy the minds of many visitors—as well as both the Bitterroot River and her tributaries, there are a never-ending variety of options for any water-based pursuit that appeals.

group snowmobiling on a trail

SNOW

for skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Although the Bitterroot hosts an unusually warm climate for Montana, there is no shortage of snow. In fact, the systems that bring that warmer weather into the valley also carry a good deal of moisture. When all that snow falls on these mountains it turns into a pretty nice sized playground. Whether you’re heading down the trail under your own power or a dog’s or a motor’s you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. Especially if what you’re looking for involves snow.

bluegrass band at hard times music festival montana

FESTIVALS

for celebrating.

It would be hard to drive the length of the Bitterroot on any given day and not find a festival or celebration of some sort. Montana Mule Days, Logger Days, Daly Days, The Bitterroot Microbrew Fest, Scottish-Irish Festival, McIntosh Apple Days, Christmas Stroll and the Ravalli County Fair are just a few on the list.

montana copper baron marcus daly

HISTORY

to experience.

When you come to the Bitterroot Valley, history isn’t just a few chapters in a book, it’s something you experience firsthand. You see that the moment you step into the Daly Mansion, or the chapel at the St. Mary’s Mission, scanning over the artifacts Lewis and Clark left behind at Traveler’s Rest or standing at the base of a hundred-year-old McIntosh apple tree. This is history you can really get into—literally.

moose with antlers eating grass in pond montana

WILDLIFE

for hunting, birding or watching.

Abundant wildlife drew people to the Bitterroot centuries ago and the situation has changed surprisingly little to this day. Big game animals such as elk, deer, bears, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats still reside in the valley and surrounding mountains.  Likewise, all manner of birds from songbirds to eagles, hawks, and other raptors frequent the skies to the delight of birders and photographers.