Montana is a state diverse in its geography, culture, and history. From the history of mining and logging in the west, to the tales of the homestead era in the east, it is a land rich in stories of the past. From the western mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains to the prairies and badlands of the east, it is a land of everchanging scenery. It's here that a culture of ranching and farming blends with a culture of arts and an urban small town lifestyle of it's cities and towns. Montana is huge in it's physical scale, almost 800 miles from the southeast corner to the northwest corner of the state; but small in population with less people in the entire state than are found in most U.S. urban areas with less than a million inhabitants spread across it's vast expanse. Recreation is year round here with a full range of winter activities, ski areas, snowmobile trails, and cross country ski trails, and provides endless opportunities for recreation in the warmer months with world class fishing, hiking and outdoor activities. Your Montana journey starts here.
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Seldom does such a small town have such big history. The site of this town has been occupied almost continuously since Capt. William Clark camped here in 1806. In 1807, Manuel Lisa built a trading post here. Fort Van Buren was built near here in 1822 at the mouth of the Big Horn River. In 1876, General Gibbon and a band of 450 men crossed the Yellowstone here on their way to help an already doomed General Custer.
The Blackfeet Indians called the creek running near this town Un-es-putcha-eka which translated to "Big Sandy Creek" and the town was named for the creek. This is one of the more colorful towns of the Old West. Novelist B.M. Bower lived here and used this town as the model for "Dry Lake" in her Flying U novels. Charles Russell worked on some of the nearby ranches.
In 1902, Frank Crail ﬁrst set foot in the Big Sky area. While hunting elk in the shadow of Lone Peak he fell in love with the beauty of the surroundings. He purchased the land from the original homesteaders and established the ﬁrst cattle ranch in the area. Today, the original Crail Ranch house still stands in the meadow area by the golf course.
Big Timber, 33 miles east of Livingston, is located near a geographical transition point. West of town, the Absaroka Range rises to lofty heights, while east stretch the vast Great Plains. The Crazy Mountains’ jagged summits rise to the north of Big Timber towering more than 11,000 feet. Predominantly a livestock producing and recreational community, Big Timber is surrounded by the Gallatin National Forest.
Bigfork was founded in 1902 and is located on a bay where the Swan River empties into the Flathead Lake. Bigfork is one of the valley’s most picturesque and cultured villages. The lovely resort community averages a population of 1,500, although it can swell exponentially during the summer. It houses many art galleries and shops, as well as some of the finest restaurants in the valley which are touted for their exceptional menus.
Billings, established in 1882, was named for Frederick Billings, president of the Northern Paciﬁc Railroad, and is Montanas largest and perhaps most economically diverse city. Here you'll ﬁnd the warm hospitality and rugged beauty of the West blended with the modern conveniences and opportunities of a dynamic, vigorous and progressive community.