The Gold West Country or simply Southwest Montana is what many people think of when they imagine Montana. Rugged and mountainous and interspersed with clear rivers and streams it is the kind of area that ranchers still ride horses and elk and bear wander the mountains.
Gold West Country has many small historic towns that look like they are straight off of a western movie set.
- 1 Anaconda known for its giant smoke stack.
- 2 Helena — the state capital.
- 3 Butte — former mining town, once the largest city between Chicago and Seattle, famous for the Berkley Pit, the largest Superfund site in the nation.
- 4 Deer Lodge — small town, long-time home of the state prison, now converted into a formation of museums.
- 5 Dillon — Small rural town.
- 6 Jefferson City
- 7 Nevada City
- 8 Virginia City — old style Wild West town, scene for a number of movies.
This area offers a wide variety of open spaces and protected lands to explore.
- Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness
- Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
- Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area
- Scapegoat Wilderness Area
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is found on Highway 2. The tour covers about 2 miles in 2 hours and operates from May through September. Hiking and biking trails and camping are available as well.
There was a short time when Montana experimented with eliminating its speed limits to help cope with the long distances between towns. This proved to be too risky as drivers that were unfamiliar with the area were taking unnecessary risks. The good news is that its almost impossible to find an area that does not provide breath taking views of staggering natural beauty so there is no reason to be in a hurry.
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states; Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Like the rest of Montana Gold West Country can be vast with gas stations being great distances apart so its best to plan accordingly and be watchful of wildlife on the roadways especially at dusk and night time when they are hardest to see.
During the winter, smaller secondary roads are often closed entirely, and even the Interstate can shut down rapidly when the weather turns poor. Verify weather conditions and road status  before setting out, and travel with emergency supplies. Unpaved roads are typically impassable for over half the year.