Ennis & The Madison ValleyThe fly fishing capital of the world. Ennis is the center for activities on the Madison River, which is renowned for its first-rate trout fishing, The town is also the home of the Ennis National Fish Hatchery.Ennis is surrounded by three beautiful mountain ranges: the Madison Range, the Gravelly Range, and the Tobacco Root Mountains. In addition to its majestic mountain view, Ennis also offers access to some of the finest river locations in the state by way of the picturesque Madison River. Also, just west of Ennis lie the famed western towns of Virginia City and Nevada City.
Ennis is a good-time western town and is full of cowboys, anglers and outdoor recreationists. The Western flavor is for real and there's plenty of action along the boardwalk on weekends. Visitors will find nearly 3 million acres of publicly accessible national forest lands surrounding Ennis as well as access to one of Montana's best-known trout streams, the Madison River.
The Ennis National Fish Hatchery propagates six strains of rainbow trout that produce 23 million eggs a year for stocking throughout the United States.
The Madison Canyon Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is just south of Ennis on U.S. Highway 287. On August 17, 1959, an earthquake slid half a mountain into a canyon, creating a giant dam and Quake Lake, an eerie reminder of nature's violence.
Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone National Park is the world's first National Park, also the largest in the United States. Yellowstone was designated the world's first national park on March 1, 1872, with the area remaining largely in the same natural state as it was more than 123 years ago.Yellowstone contains more than 2.2 million acres of steaming geysers, thundering waterfalls, crystalline lakes, and panoramic vistas. The world's most extensive area of geyser activity, harboring more than 10,000 thermal features. Yellowstone is the greatest wildlife sanctuary in the United States, encompassing 3,472 square miles of wondrous beauty.
Every visitor is welcome to share the natural phenomena, and enjoy it's pristine loveliness, so generously lavished over mountains, forests, meadows, streams, and lakes.
Virginia CityThis section of Gold West Country offers many opportunities to relive the adventure of gold rush days. Many of the towns were founded during that famous era and are rich with history and lore. Virginia City in particular is known for the notorious sheriff and highwayman, Henry Plummer. Visit the surrounding towns to get a well-rounded vision of early pioneer life, and be sure to take in all of the local attractions. The restoration of these towns began decades ago, and the state of Montana recently purchased both Virginia City and Nevada City so that the preservation can continue.Some interesting things to do in Virginia City include:
Heritage Days & Victorian Ball: a celebration of the Victorian era held in August. Events include a Grand Ball where guests attend in period costume. Classes on customs and the dances will be provided the afternoon of the Ball.
Opera House: the Virginia City Players' variety productions in the style of 19th-century entertainment amuse and delight visitors. Virginia City offers the oldest continuously operating summer stock theater west of the Mississippi. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for a schedule of shows.
Brewery Follies: relax with a libation at Montana's first brewery, the H. S. Gilbert Brewery, and enjoy a performance of the Brewery Follies Players.
Museums, shops, accommodations; in Virginia City, you can shop, dine and sleep without leaving the atmosphere of the 1860s. Dine in the Wells Fargo Coffee House or the Star Bakery and bend an elbow in the Bale of Hay Saloon or Gilbert's Brewery. Modern, overnight accommodations in a charming, 19th-century atmosphere are available. You will find fascinating nuggets of history and memories to treasure.
Alder Gulch Short Line: take the train to Nevada City on an authentic narrow-gauge railroad. Travel between the two mining camps on the Alder Gulch Short Line Railroad. At the Nevada City end of the line, visit the Alder Gulch Short Line Steam Railroad Museum with its collection of equipment and stock from railroading's gold rush era.
Virginia City was born with the discovery of gold in Alder Gulch in 1863. A 'boom town' of the post Civil War era, Virginia City served as the Montana Territorial Capital for 10 years, until the gold ran out. Just a mile away lies Nevada City, a western town created from a collection of buildings from other ghost towns. Both towns have been largely restored and preserved as they once stood; living examples of the real Old West. One hundred fifty buildings have been certified authentic by the Montana Historical Society. Original buildings, dating from the Territorial days, are filled with merchandise and implements used when gold camps flourished in the West. Boardwalks, mechanical music machines, a penny arcade, antique automobiles and even a two-story outhouse add to the Old West atmosphere.
The majestic Madison River Valley, just west of Virginia City, features some of the world's finest trout streams, as well as a beautiful mountain backdrop.