Big Hole River Valley in Montana

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Big Hole Valley

The Big Hole Valley Loop is one of the most scenic drives in southwest Montana, leading travelers amidst mountain ranges, rivers, valleys and unique towns, located just southeast of the Bitterroot Valley.

  • The Big Hole Loop is a 162-mile roadway amidst river valleys and mountain ranges. 
  • The Loop drive takes 3.5 hours. 
  • Begin the drive just east of the Big Hole Battlefield along MT 43. 
  • Soak in an area hot spring.
  • See Big Hole Battlefield. 
  • Explore Bannack and Coolidge Ghost Towns. 

Overview

The Big Hole Valley is best seen by taking the Big Hole Valley Loop Scenic Drive. This 162-mile circular trip is unforgettable, leading travelers amidst some of the most spectacular mountain ranges and river valleys found anywhere. At certain points, the road parallels the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers, passes four mountain ranges, and follows the perimeter of Beaverhead National Forest. Recreational opportunities are endless: fish, camp, hike and mountain bike, soak in one of three hot springs, and visit unique sites like Big Hole National Battlefield and ghost towns.

Driving Directions

To reach the loop, head south from the Bitterroot Valley along US 93. At Lost Trail Pass, head east onto MT 43. At Wisdom, the junction with MT 278, you can either turn right or left and follow the loop to I-15 and back around.

Time/Distance

A full drive of the Big Hole Valley Loop takes 3.5 hours, not counting stops at historic sites, towns, and recreation areas.

Highlights

  • Wet a line for trout in the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers.
  • Enjoy year-round recreation in Beaverhead NF.
  • Take in breathtaking views of the Beaverhead, Pioneer, Anaconda, and Fleecer Mountain Ranges.
  • Stop at Big Hole Battlefield, located west of Wisdom.
  • Relax in warm, soothing waters at Crystal Park, Jackson, and Elkhorn Hot Springs.
  • Visit the ghost towns of Bannack and Coolidge.

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