Monday, August 5, 2013

Hanging Out in Hamilton

The largest town in the Bitterroot Valley, Hamilton, MT is bisected by the Bitterroot River and bordered by the 10,000 foot peaks of the Bitterroot Range to the West and Sapphire Range to the East. The valley's pleasant climate has been called the "banana belt of Montana", and ranching, fishing and hiking are key past times here.

This beautiful area is worth a longer visit, but we have three whole days and are determined to make the most of them. Of course we had to start out by visiting a local brewery, of which there are two in town. For our first evening we visited Bitter Root Brewery because they had live music (the beer was good too)!

Sign at the Bitter Root Brewery, specific to breweries.
When breweries starting popping up everywhere the state felt the need
to control the drinking at the tasting rooms.

Our first full day in town was busy. We hiked a short but sweet trail with fabulous views of Hamilton and glacially carved Blodgett Canyon. Blodgett Overlook Trail is only three miles RT and just a few easy miles West of town. The day we hiked this trail, the Valley was hazy with smoke from distant fires but Blodgett Canyon was clear:

Blodgett Canyon

Hamilton was founded by copper magnate Marcus Daly in the late 1800's and his home, Daly Mansion, on the East side of town has been restored and is open to the public for tours. We decided to just walk the grounds, a lovely arboretum, (for free) and enjoyed the enormous trees planted over 100 years ago.

Daly Mansion

17 miles North of Hamilton, the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge contains 2700 beautiful acres along the Bitterroot River with wetlands, grasslands, and mixed conifer and deciduous forest. During our brief visit we walked the 2.5 miles of trail and drove through the refuge and saw two muskrats, 10 white tailed deer, 2 bald eagles, woodpeckers, cedar wax wings, several varieties of ducks and an osprey. Bring binoculars and bug spray and you will not be disappointed!

A pair of bald eagles.

Curious white tailed deer.

Cedar wax wing

We've got a couple of longer hikes planned for the next two days in this gorgeous area. Wish we could stay longer, but this little taste of Hamilton has assured us the Bitterroot Valley is a lovely place to spend some time.


  1. This area looks absolutely beautiful! I am a nature lover and birder so love the fawn and bird shots!

  2. Another beautiful area in the west. We rode through the area on a motorcycle trip.

    Your photo of the cedar wax wing is beautiful! That fawn is so cute with all its spots still.

    Glad you are enjoying the beers of the area:)