Photo courtesy: MTOT
On MT Highway 43, right where the Wise River flows into the Big Hole sits the small mountain community of Wise River. The Wise River tumbles into the Big Hole from high in the Pioneer Mountains. The Wise varies in size from a large stream to a very small river, and doesn't offer quite the same majestic floating opportunities as the Big Hole, but the willow-lined banks and the boulder-strewn bed make the river perfect for pocket fishing. A few small forest service campgrounds dot the course of the Wise River with paved loops and handicap accessible toilets, providing perfect sites from which to adventure into the Pioneer Mountains and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
Wise River also forms the north end of the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. This paved, 49 mile long road follows the Wise River to its source, and then follows Grasshopper Creek down the other side of the mountain. The Byway offers beautiful views of the rugged Pioneers and a number of turnouts with opportunities to explore more remote areas, like the ghost town of Coolidge and the silver mine of Elkhorn. In the winter months, try snowmobiling over the Byway instead. The prime rib sandwich and the famous bar at the Wise River Club make for a comfortable end to an adventure around Wise River.
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