Play in Butte
Nestled a mile high in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by the natural wonders of the Continental Divide and Montana’s headwater streams, Butte serves as a springboard to almost 4 million acres of state, and federal public land. High quality adventures are just minutes from the city, whether you have a few hours or several days. Bring your favorite gear and head outdoors, and then relax amid Butte’s unique and vibrant history.
Butte is your springboard to outdoor adventure minutes from Butte. Whether it’s a day or overnight trek on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, exploring Butte along the Blacktail Creek or BA & P Railroad, Thompson Park, fishing, or motorized recreation there is outdoor fun for the whole family and individuals. Enjoy the many urban parks offering swimming, fishing, and unique playground experiences at Stodden, Skyline, and other parks.
FISHING / HUNTING
Several pristine blue-ribbon trout streams surround Butte. Within an hour’s drive, visitors can be casting on the banks of the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Jefferson, Clark Fork, Little Blackfoot rivers, and Georgetown Lake. Visitors can hike to alpine lakes in Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, Tobacco Root, Pioneer, Flint ranges, or venture further afield to the Missouri, Madison, and Blackfoot rivers. Several public fishing-access sites make getting out on the water a breeze. Kids can cast a line at the fishing pond at Skyline Park or at Homestake Lake just 10 minutes east of Butte on Interstate-90. Hunters take to valleys and mountains for big game, waterfowl, and upland bird opportunities.
Whether you want to experience Montana’s spectacular natural vistas on foot, on a saddle, or pedaling a mountain bike, spectacular and uncrowded trails are minutes from Butte. The nationally recognized Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) surrounding Butte is accessible from multiple trailheads. Thompson Park, just 9 miles south of Butte, offers 25 miles of non-motorized trails, including the Milwaukee Road that connects to the CDNST. Enjoy a game of disc golf at the 18-hole Eagles Nest Disc Golf Course.
The Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness to the west of Butte is accessible from the Big Hole River Valley or the Georgetown Lake-Philipsburg area, providing primitive hiking and horseback riding. The Humbug Spires area south of Butte offers a unique geologic setting for hiking or rock climbing. The Beaverhead- Deerlodge National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management offer over 400 miles of motorized trails 30 minutes from Butte to the east at the Whitetail-Pipestone area and to the south at Fleecer Mountain.
Over 10 miles of great trails can also be found within the Butte city limits. The Copperway and BA&P trails, named for the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific electric railroad, allow trail users to learn about Butte’s colorful history. Hike the ‘M’ at Big Butte, a 300-acre open space area with several loop trail opportunities. Try the Whiskey Gulch Mountain Bike Skills Park or the disc golf course at Montana Tech, next to Big Butte. Enjoy bird watching at Blacktail Creek along the Schotte-Ulrich and Poore-Wilde trails.
Ride a bike along one of the largest creek-restoration projects in the world, the 26-mile Greenway Trail from Butte to Anaconda. Portions of the Greenway are still under construction, but many miles west of Butte are completed and readily accessible from several trailheads. Most urban trails are paved for yearlong access. Finally, Maud S Canyon Trail puts nature within easy reach of urban Butte, providing a loop trail great for a sunset hike or bike ride up Butte’s majestic East Ridge. Adventurers looking for a longer hike or ride can follow the Maud S Trail all the way to the CDNST. Trail maps are available at the Butte Chamber Visitor Center, BLM or Forest Service.
PARKS AND RECREATION
The Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of activities for visitors. Cooldown at the splash pad at Clark’s Park or play and slide at Ridge Waters Community Pool and waterpark at Stodden Park, opening Memorial Day 2018. Practice your swing or enjoy a round of disc golf at Copper Mountain Sports Complex driving range, play Stodden Park’s Highland View Golf Course, or stay active on Butte’s many tennis courts, baseball fields, and ice rinks. Along with recreation, the county provides a window into Butte’s colorful history and geology. Take a hillside stroll past the mine workings of Mountain Con Park and enjoy unmatched views of the Butte’s Summit Valley. Stop by the Original Mine, the main stage for many of Butte’s summer festivals for an example of how the community is re-imagining its historic assets. Head up to Walkerville’s Alice Overlook to experience mining reclamation while taking in views of five distinct mountain ranges.
Great mountain biking trails can be found around Butte with summer and fall being ideal times to ride. Diverse terrain and scenery makes these trails perfect for all mountain bikers. Thompson Park offers several miles of groomed trails for winter fun. Single Tracks Magazine named Butte as the number 2 of the “10 Best US Mountain Bike Towns with the Lowest Cost of Living”, March 2018.
Just south of Butte, Thompson Park has several day-use picnic areas that also feature interpretive signs that explain the history and natural features of the park. Sheepshead Recreation Area north of Butte has two pavilions that can be reserved for events at www.recreation.gov or 877-444-6777.
Butte is the home to three golf courses: Highland View municipal course, the Butte Country Club course, and the Fairmont Golf Course. All three courses offer lessons.
The unique geology of southwest Montana is the source of Butte’s mining wealth, and also created some amazing natural features that provide interest and excitement for all ages. The Ringing Rocks east of Butte chime when tapped lightly with a hammer. Tapping different rocks creates different pitches to make your own natural symphony. Crystal Park south of Wise River in the scenic Pioneer Range is a favorite for families. The Humbug Spires south of Butte and the Pipestone area east of Butte are popular rock-climbing areas. Or go underground on a tour of Lewis and Clark Caverns, just east of Butte.
Whether you want to cross-country or downhill ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, ice fish, or capture photos of majestic scenery, winter brings great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Enjoy downhill skiing at Discovery Ski Basin near Georgetown Lake or Maverick Mountain near Dillon. Groomed cross-country ski trails and snowmobile trails are an easy drive from Butte at Mount Haggin, Elk Park, Georgetown Lake, and the Big Hole Valley. Thompson Park offers winter fun for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking on groomed and ungroomed trails. Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation and the High Altitude Skating Center maintain outdoor ice rinks for family fun.
Bundle-up and come out and play!