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Intro to Bozeman

What Is Dillon Montana Like?

by Liz Nitz

What Is Dillon Montana Like?

Dillon offers a true Montana experience with plenty of outdoor recreation and small-town charm. Dillon is the county head for Beaverhead County, the largest in Montana. The county includes 5,551 square miles of diverse geography, including 30 square miles of waterway, which attracts hunters and anglers from all over the world to Dillon and surrounding areas. The entire county is home to less than 10,000 residents, which makes Dillon a great place if you’re looking for space and quiet living.

Dillon, Montana Stats

  • Distance from Bozeman: 115 miles
  • Population: 4,369
  • Climate: Dry and cold. Average temperatures are January 21°F; July 66°F
  • Barrett Hospital and Healthcare is modern, critical access hospital with award-winning credentials.
  • Forbes magazine listed Dillon as one of America’s Prettiest Towns in 2010.

Real Estate

Currently on Zillow there’s a mix of downtown historic homes, new builds, and properties with the acreage. Prices range as low as $225,000 for a 1,584 sq. ft., 2bd, 2ba and $1,995,000 for a 30,000 square foot lodge on almost 21 acres. An interesting listing is a live/work property located between downtown and the University of Montana Western. The property, which currently has an established cafe, retail store and gym, is also zoned for residential. Seems like an interesting investment option for $379,000.

Education

  • One county high school and one elementary/middle school in Dillon, six rural schools K-8, K-12 in Lima, which is about 40 miles from Dillon.
  • University of Montana Western: Offers four-year degrees in a wide variety of areas and is the only U.S. public university offering Experience One — where students can take one class at a time.

Things to Do

  • Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: The largest national forest in Montana with 3.32 million acres that lies in eight Southwest Montana counties. Near Dillon there is plenty of hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
  • Maverick Mountain: This family-owned and -operated ski hill is a local secret, which means plenty of untouched powder days and no long waits to get on a lift. Located 50 miles west of Dillon in beautiful Grasshopper Valley.
  • Elkhorn Hot Springs: This local favorite is close to Maverick ski hill and offers homestyle lodging and food. The outdoor pool is beautifully rustic and surrounded by nature. Outdoor pool temps range from 92 to 102 degrees and indoor wet sauna runs 104 to 106 degrees. No chemicals are ever used. Currently closed until May 19 for annual spring shutdown.
  • Bannack State Park: Bannack once had a population of 3,000 during the massive gold rush and is now the best preserved of all Montana ghost towns. Tours are conducted from the visitor center open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the third weekend of July is Bannack Days, which features historic displays, re-enactors, and activities. The campground has 28 sites, including a rental tipi located along Grasshopper Creek, a hike-in/bike-in campsite, with 4 tent pads, and a group picnic site.
  • RATPOD: This popular fundraiser is an annual 127-mile bike ride to raise money for Camp Mak-A-Dream, a camp for kids diagnosed with cancer.  This year’s ride will mark the 20th anniversary. Riders and supporters will come together this year on June 26 in Dillon.
  • Beaverhead River: This river consistently produces more brown trout than any other river in Montana. This is blue-ribbon trout fishing and you’ll see it in the summer when all the enthusiasts flood in.
  • Patagonia Outlet: A well-known score for many Montanans and a great surprise for tourists. This is a rare Patagonia discount outlet with tons of amazing deals and repairs done on premises. It’s been in Dillon for 25 years so the employees are well versed in all things outdoor in the area. Currently by appointment and curbside pick-up only due to Covid. 16 S Idaho Street; Dillon, MT 59725; 406-683-2580.

Where to /StayEat/Drink

  • Andrus Boutique Hotel: This was the best hotel in Montana in 1917 and it still makes that claim.  This historic hotel is a sophisticated mix of old tradition and modern luxury in the heart of downtown Dillon. Walking distance from museums, galleries, restaurants, shopping and more. Perk amenities include a private rooftop garden with breathtaking 360-degree views of Dillon and private archery lessons from renowned instructor, Sarah Pfister, in the hotel’s indoor archery range. 33 South Idaho Street; 800-337-3981.
  • Beaverhead Resort: This unique and secluded property is a little off the beaten path. Offers three spacious and private accommodations along the beautiful Beaverhead River. Choose from the Bunk House (4 guests), Cervelli House (6 guests) or the River House (10 guests). Currently from $305 to $485/night.
  • Sparky’s: Great BBQ baby back ribs and beef brisket, along with made-from-scratch soups and sauces and bar classics like wings and loaded cheese fries. Enjoy the Montana microbrews on tap and full cocktail menu. 420 E Poindexter Street; 406-683-2828.
  • Fiesta Mexicana Taco Bus: A great, fun stop for authentic Mexican food, which is hard to come by in Montana. Operated right out of an old tour bus. 510 N. Montana Street; Dillon, MT 59725; 406-660-0915.
  • Coffee Works: This small coffee kiosk by Town and Country Foods turns out great coffee (a recommendation that came from the general manager of a local Bozeman coffee shop). Southside Blvd.; 406-596-0439.

Feel free to email me at liz@windermere.com if you have any questions about Dillon, Bozeman and surrounding areas.

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