Photo courtesy: MTOT
The Big Hole River runs through the small community of Wisdom, Montana, and has always shaped the town's existence. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition first "discovered" the Big Hole near the headwaters of the Jefferson River, they called it the Wisdom. Although the river name eventually changed, the town did not. Historically, the Big Hole Valley has drawn two sorts of people: ranchers, attracted to the lush river bottom; and sportsmen, initially fur trappers, and later fly fisherman, drawn to the blue ribbon trout fishing along the Big Hole.
Wisdom sits in the middle of the Big Hole Valley, surrounded by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, making it the perfect place to stay while exploring the area. The Anaconda Mountains to the northwest provide a challenging environment for hiking, camping and fishing in the high alpine lakes. To the east the Pioneer Mountains give access to two thousand square miles of hiking, fishing, climbing and exploring. The Big Hole river bottom is famous for its blue ribbon trout fishing, and a unique strain of fluvial arctic grayling. It is also called the "Valley of 10,000 Haystacks" because many of the ranchers in the area still use the "beaverslide," a hay stacking technique developed in the valley during the early 1900s. A visit to Wisdom during the haying months of July and August gives the unique opportunity to see these "beaverslides" in action. While in Wisdom, be sure to visit the Big Hole National Battlefield, a memorial to the battle of the Big Hole between the US Army and the Nez Perce.
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