National Bison Range
Photo courtesy: U.S.F.W.S.
Photo courtesy: Donnie Sexton
Ravalli is at the junction of roads coming from Polson, Thompson Falls, and Missoula. It is named for a Jesuit missionary to the Indians, Fr. Anthony Ravalli, who arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in 1845 and later went north to minister in the Flathead Valley. (from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company) Originally fur traders established trading posts in the area. The Hudson Bay Company built Fort Connah in 1847 and it is still visible at the historical marker, 11 miles north of Ravalli along Highway 93.
Northwest of Ravalli is the National Bison Range. It was established in 1908 and is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the nation. A large portion of the 18,500-acre Range consists of native Palouse Prairie. Forests, wetlands and streams are also found here providing a wide range of habitats for wildlife. Elk, deer, pronghorns, black bears, coyotes, and ground squirrels are just some of the mammals that share the area with 350 to 450 bison. More than 200 species of birds also call this home and include eagles, hawks, meadowlarks, bluebirds, ducks, and geese.
Ravalli is also near the St. Ignatius Mission, which was built in the early 1890s. This Catholic church is unique because its walls and ceilings have 61 original paintings by Brother Joseph Carignano, S.J. on them. The Mission Mountain Range is a beautiful backdrop of scenery behind the mission church. The church is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Southwest Montana Travel Information
Southwest Montana travel information and a free Visitor's Guide.
Central Montana Travel Information
Central Montana travel information and a free Travel Planner.
Big Sky Montana Hotels
Visit Big Sky, Montana this Winter!