Southwest Montana - Deer Lodge
Southwest Montana is home to over 3.2 million acres of national forests and mountains on routes between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. The gorgeous scenic vistas, the blue-ribbon trout fishing, wildlife watching, camping, biking, snowmobiling and cross country skiing are just a few of the wonderful activities to enjoy as you make your way through the region.
Relive history in the restored gold camps of Virginia City, Nevada City, and Bannack ghost town (1st territorial capitol in Montana.) See the Copper King Mansions, the eclectic architecture, history and C.M. Russell cowboy art at the Historical Society and go on historic tours either by trolley or on foot of the early mining cities. Two national historic sites are the Big Hole Battlefield where Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce battled with the U.S. Army in 1877 and Grant Kohrs Ranch which is headquarters of one of Montana's largest ranching empires and still runs like it did in the 1880s.
Dating even further back are: abundant geological evidence of the Paleozic and Mesozoic time periods , the Lewis and Clark Caverns lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helictites, dinosaur and mammoth fossils, several different hot springs as well as the radon health mines.
Rock hounding for many different rocks and crystals is another great adventure found in Southwest Montana. Sifting through gravel and spotting blue, yellow, and occasionally pink and green sapphires or finding purple garnets is exciting for everyone. Gold panning is still a favorite pastime for those aspiring to find the gold nuggets just as they did in the old gold rush era.