Welcome to Charlo, Montana

  • Scenic View

  • Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana

    Photo courtesy: Ninepipes Museum

  • National Bison Range

    Photo courtesy: John Ansotegui

Charlo was originally a trail crossing for freighters hauling grain and other goods from the rich Ronan Valley to the railroad at Dixon. The place was first called Big Flat, then Charlotte, and later Charlo, in honor of Chief Charlo of the Flatheads, one of the few chiefs who refused to sign Special Commissioner James A. Garfield's order (August 27, 1872) removing all Indians of the region to the Jocko reservation. Joseph Dixon, a governor and US Senator, was instrumental in establishing the name Charlo. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)

The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana is located in Charlo. It was established to discover and memorialize the history and culture of the Flathead Indian Reservation and early Montana. Long-term exhibits include weaponry, spurs and saddlery, a vast collection of Native American beadwork, life-size dioramas of wild animals and of an Indian camp. An old cabin, and wagons and buggies dot the museum grounds.

The National Bison Range is located just seven miles southwest of Charlo on Highway 212. It was established in 1908 and is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the nation. The range protects one of the most important remaining herds of American bison. About 300 to 500 of these great shaggy animals roam nearly 19,000 acres of grassland and timber. The range is also home to whitetail and mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and at least 200 species of birds. A visitors center, auto tour, and picnic area are available.