Take some time to explore this transit hub and pretty town to get to know its intriguing history and insider tips on nearby national parks and historical preserves.
Founded as a railroad town in 1880, Dillon is a central hub in the lush Beaverhead Valley. The town was an important pivot point during the gold-mining booms of the following century, and today is a great spot to base your exploration of the surrounding region. Linger a while in Dillon to discover the town’s intriguing history, magnificent surrounding scenery and secret fishing spots.
Begin your trip at the Dillon Visitor Center, a helpful facility where you can get an overview of the town and plan your visit. The elegant architecture of the 1887 County Courthouse and University of Montana Western is indicative of the town’s early opulence. Check out the Beaverhead County Museum, located in a historic log building in downtown Dillon. You can see relics from the local mining and agricultural industries, as well as period dress and a natural history exhibit. For more history, head to Bannack State Park, the site of Montana’s first gold strike and a beautifully preserved ghost town. In nearby Crystal Park, you can learn about the region’s glittering minerals and go hunting for crystal quartz.
Rocks aren’t the only things worth hunting around here, however. The Beaverhead, Big Hole and Ruby rivers all course through this beautiful valley and are acclaimed trout fishing destinations. You can also drop a line in Clark Canyon Dam. See some of the region’s wild vistas at Clark’s Lookout State Park, Pioneer Mountain Wilderness Area and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Go skiing at nearby Maverick Mountain or snowmobiling through the valley.
Dillon is linked to the surrounding Southwest Montana region by a major highway. You can also reach the town by plane to the Gallatin Field domestic airport, located 132 miles (212 kilometers) away. Stay in a hotel in the town or go camping in the nearby forest reserves. Visit the town on the Labor Day weekend to experience Montana’s Biggest Weekend, a popular rodeo and parade event with a fun-filled fair.