It’s no surprise that Montana is nicknamed the Treasure State. From lucrative mining opportunities in the 18th and 19th century to the booming tourism industry of today, Montana has almost always been a gem that many adventurous out-of-staters and travelers from around the world are dying to uncover. Many tourists and locals alike will opt for a summer vacation spent exploring Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and the road in between the two. While the drive between both parks does a great job showcasing the beautiful scenery of Montana, the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Highway, just a jaunt off of Interstate 90, is a drive that really unearths the Treasure State.
Get Started Towards Anaconda
Coming from the East, drivers should turn off of I-90 on Highway 1 towards Anaconda. The drive towards town is less than impressive considering that part of the drive goes through the largest superfund sight in the United States, but hang tight because the beauty of Montana is just around the corner. The town of Anaconda was established when the Anaconda Mining Company from Butte needed a place to smelter their large quantities of copper ore. When driving through town, one can still see the Anaconda Smoke Stack, one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in the world. Like many towns in Western Montana, Anaconda is surrounded by endless recreational opportunities if the driver decides to get out and explore the area for a while. If you find yourself looking for a snack while in Anaconda be sure to stop by 406 Bistro to try a delicious breakfast or treat made with Farmer Boy Eggs.
On to Georgetown Lake
Soon after heading west from Anaconda, road trippers will come along the shoreline of Georgetown Lake. Surrounded by three different mountain ranges and covering over 3700 acres, Georgetown Lake is a sight to see. This lake is full of trophy trout and many kokanee salmon and is considered a Blue Ribbon fishery, so don’t be afraid to stop and throw out a line if you have a fishing license on hand. Fishing is great here, even in the winter, as a favorite ice fishing destination for locals. As the drive continues, the road follows the lake shore for many miles with multiple camping spaces, scenic pull offs and, most likely, lots of wildlife along the way. Tucked back a road to the north of this scenic drive is Discovery Ski Area, a great place to spend some time whether it’s winter or summer.
Through to Phillipsburg
After winding down the Flint Creek Canyon and viewing old mining relics along the way, drivers will reach the beautiful Phillipsburg Valley. Just a short jump off of the highway is the town of Phillipsburg. Swing through here for delicious food, beer and the cutest candy store you have ever seen. You can read the history of the old mining town, browse through the Montana Law Enforcement Museum, or even mine for your own Montana Sapphires. From here, you can jet off to the Skalkaho Highway, The Phillipsburg Valley Scenic Loop or even Granite Ghost Town.
Ending the Drive in Drummond
After leaving Phillipsburg and driving through a little over 20 miles of beautiful Montana land, travelers will arrive in Drummond, home to Farmer Boy Eggs, ending our 64-mile scenic trip away from I-90. While it may seem like a little farm town with not much to offer, we encourage you to spend some time in the town of Drummond and the area around it. Take a walk down Front Street to catch some local farmers and ranchers discussing this year’s weather and local businesses sporting a poster of a Trojan, the mascot at the local high school. While you are there swing by The Rough Stock Saloon or Coyle’s Canyon Bar for some local hospitality and refreshments, and be sure to stop by Parker’s to enjoy some deliciously cooked, fresh Farmer Boy Eggs with your dinner. On your way out of town stop by the Cotton Patch to pick up a dozen (or two) for yourself.