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Your guide to Hamilton
All About Hamilton
The city of Hamilton, Montana, offers wild beauty and adventure year round. During winter, snow blankets the orchards, ranches, and mountains until spring, when pink blooms cover the same farms and fields. The canyons and mountains of the Bitterroot Valley are threaded with trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding in the warmer months, and draw skiers and snowshoers when their landscapes are covered in white powder. Along Hamilton’s alpine lakes and rivers, you’ll find fly fishers casting lines and kayakers gliding along the clear waters.
Hamilton is the largest city in the valley, which is protected by the surrounding Sapphire Mountains, named for the tons of precious blue gems mined here in the 20th century. The Kenai Nature Trail that runs along wetlands offers sweeping views of Bitterroot Valley and the Sapphire Mountains. Along the Wildlife Viewing Area trail that borders the Bitterroot River, you may spot beavers, otters, and American mink, while eagles and hawks soar above.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Hamilton?
Summer months are the warmest and best time to book vacation rentals in Hamilton, as well as a great time to take in local events. In June you can take Dutch oven cooking lessons and take wagon rides during Western Heritage Days in Stevensville, just 18 miles away. In July, Hamilton hosts the Hardtimes Bluegrass Festival. Fall and spring can be chilly, but if you want to celebrate Hamilton’s harvest season, check out the Annual McIntosh Apple Day in October, where you can munch on caramel apples or take home apple chutney and apple pies. Hamilton winters are cold enough for skiing but milder than anywhere else in the state. You can kick off the winter holidays in late November at the Tree Lighting.
What are the top things to do in Hamilton?
Ravalli County Museum
Located in downtown Hamilton, the Ravalli County Museum and HIstorical Society houses collections that showcase the region’s history, particularly that of the Indigenous tribes who have lived in the region for thousands of years. There are also permanent and rotating exhibits that feature the area’s geological foundations, as well as Hamilton’s past life as a trapper and mining town.
With a tree-lined entrance, mountain backdrop, and 50 historically furnished rooms, the 19th-century Georgian-Revival Daly Mansion is something to see. Now owned by the state of Montana, it was built as a summer residence by an Irish immigrant, who became one of three millionaires who made money in local copper. Concerts, teas, and craft shows are hosted throughout the year on the grounds. If you’re here in the third week of August, you can join the Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gathering, which features Scottish and Irish dancing, pipe & drum bands, Scotch and Irish whiskey tastings, and a parade.
Blodgett Canyon is six miles from Hamilton. The hike to Blodgett Falls is a popular trail inside the granite cliff canyon. This moderate trek is on a nine-mile out-and-back trail used by hikers and runners from May through October. To experience another scenic waterfall, visit Skalkaho Falls, which is a 40-minute drive from Hamilton and features a cascading waterfall that is located just off the highway.