If you haven't visited the Ruby Valley, you've missed a little slice of heaven. Located one hour south of Butte, Montana, the Ruby Valley is nestled between four mountain ranges, the Tobacco Root Mountains, the Ruby Range, the Greenhorn Range and the McCartney Mountains. These mountain ranges shelter the area from the harsher Montana winters. In the summer, the ranges provide abundant opportunities for wild life viewing, camping, hiking, fishing, boating and mountain biking.
Twin Bridges (population: 450) and Sheridan (population: 700) serve as the valley's business centers. The village of Alder is on the east end of the valley and Silver Star is at the north end. The hamlet of Laurin is located a couple miles west of Alder. The Ruby Valley is located on the western side of Madison County, which has a population of about 7,700. You'll find a friendly, small town atmosphere wherever you go.
Sandhill Cranes migrate to the Ruby Valley every spring to nest and raise their young
Blessed with four rivers, the area's primary economic resources are ranching and trout fishing. Fly fishing enthusiasts from around the world come to the Ruby Valley to float and fish the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby and Jefferson rivers, in addition to the numerous tributaries. While beef is the primary agricultural product, there are also many sheep producers in the area.
In early August of 1805, the Corps of Discovery lead by Lewis & Clark traveled through the Ruby Valley, camping near present day Twin Bridges. In 1863, gold was discovered just east of Alder and the population at the eastern end of the Valley boomed with gold seekers. As the gold played out, the fortune hunters turned to farming and ranching. The Ruby Valley has a rich history of explorers, vigilantes, prospectors, unusual characters and geologic artifacts. Some small mines are still in operation. The Twin Bridges Museum has excellent historic displays and resources.
Floating party on the Beaverhead River in Twin Bridges
A variety of events are held throughout the year. Sheridan Days activities include a car show, live entertainment and a marvelous community brunch at Jackson's Garden. In Twin Bridges, Floating Flotillas and Fish Fantasies features a floating parade on the Beaverhead River, a rubber duck race and other family activities. Roping and rodeo events can be seen in the 3 Rivers Arena at the Madison County Fairgrounds throughout the summer. The Father's Day Fly-In at the Twin Bridges Airport attracts a flock of antique and ultra-modern planes. The event includes plenty of educational and fun flying related activities for the kids. In the fall, there are cider parties and harvest festivals. Twin Bridges and Sheridan bring in the Christmas season with community strolls and parties featuring great food, entertainment and local Christmas shopping. Local non-profits take advantage of quiet spots in the calendar to hold wine tastings, casino nights, bingo and other fundraising activities.
Sheridan Days in August features live entertainment, fun food and the Sheridan Car Show
Senior Pro Rodeo at the Madison County Fairgrounds
The area surrounding the Ruby Valley is abundant with skiing, hiking, fishing and cultural activities. Within 2 hours of the Ruby Valley, you can ski Discovery, Maverick and Lost Trail resorts. Big Sky and Bridger Bowl ski resorts are about 3 hours away. Hiking trails are everywhere. Check Southwestmt.com or Trails.com to find a trail that meets your skill and time constraints. The Ruby Valley is a great place to start a scenic drive through the Gravelly Range or Centennial Valley. Yellowstone National Park is only two hours southwest. Want more fishing? Hop over the hill to the Madison River in Ennis or follow the Beaverhead River south of Dillon. The high mountain lakes of the Tobacco Root Mountains offer a combination of hiking and fishing destinations. Bozeman and Butte have theatrical productions and a variety of musical performances regularly.
For more information on the Ruby Valley, please visit www.rubyvalleychamber.com.
Fish Fantasies & Floating Flotillas
Photos by Lynn Lowder
Lynn is a tireless volunteer for the Madison County DUI Task Force.
Thank you Lynn for sharing your beautiful photos and your efforts in protecting our youth!