Take an electrifying trip to America's copper capital
Nestled in the beautiful mountainous southwestern region of Montana, Anaconda is eight miles north of the Continental Divide. Once a thriving industrial community, Anaconda is now visited mostly for its natural beauty, characterized by its crystal-clear lakes, towering snow-capped mountains, densely timbered forests and immense outdoor recreational opportunities.
While downtown, visit the historic Washoe Theater and take a stroll through Art in Washoe Park. This fabulous arts and crafts show features delicious ethnic foods, professional entertainment and approximately 75 booths set up for your perusal for the duration of the three-day festival held in July each year. Also fun during the summer is Alive After Five. This fun combination of music, crafts, food and children's entertainment is offered on Main Street every Friday. In addition, the Wildlife Art Expo is held at various locations throughout the charming historic downtown and provides an excellent expo featuring the great artists from Montana and surrounding states.
Just as electricity came into common use, Anaconda emerged as the nation's biggest supplier of copper, led by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (hence the name of the city). Now all that remains of Anaconda's huge copper smelting plant is its 585-foot-high smelter stack, the world's largest free-standing masonry structure. It is now a state park that you can observe during a self-guided walking tour. If you prefer riding, take the Red Bus Tour. This narrated tour of the local historically significant landmarks provides a brief glimpse into the history of Anaconda. You'll witness the enormous historic Hearst Free Library and even Club Moderne. This fascinating tour will give you an idea of what this old town was once like.
After the historical tour through Anaconda, stop in one of the local restaurants for their famous pork chop sandwiches and delicious local delicacies of baked butterhorns (donuts) and sweetie pies (pastries). Then top it off with a yummy Montana microbrew (beer produced in a small local brewery). You might also want to check out the Copper Village Museum and Arts Center, which provides interesting exhibits and installations featuring local art and history.
Just 14 miles west of Anaconda, the picturesque Georgetown Lake offers a vast selection of countless activities year-round. Nestled in the middle of three enormous mountain ranges, Georgetown Lake is located 6,425 feet above sea level and extends for over 3,700 acres. The three scenic mountain ranges surrounding it are the Anaconda Pintlers in the south, Flint Creek Range in the east, and the Sapphire Range in the west. While the lake was originally utilized to produce power, it is now primarily for recreational use as well as for providing water for the ranchers down in the valley.
This exquisitely scenic alpine body of water provides fun opportunities all year long. Recreational use of the lake and surrounding area varies from season to season. From fishing trophy-sized brook and rainbow trout to providing some of the best ice fishing in the state, this lake is rated as Montana's most prolific body of water. It's said that people catch more fish per person in this lake than in any of the other lakes in Montana.
There is abundant wildlife and big game to be found on the large areas of Deer Lodge National Forest near the lake and other nearby public lands. Hunting is available to the public in many areas and many local establishments provide hunting licenses for visitors and locals alike. While a permit may be necessary for some of these, visitors may hunt any of the following: bear, fowl, mountain lion, moose, deer and elk.
With countless streams, rivers, creeks and mountain lakes all nearby, fans of water won't ever fear or running out of adventures. Kayaking, white water rafting, canoeing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fishing are just a few of the options available to recreationists. The most popular local fishing spots include Silver Lake, Georgetown Lake, Echo Lake, Big Hole River and Warm Springs Creek, not to mention all of the local mountain lakes and streams around.
For those who enjoy playing a round of golf, try one of the three local golf courses, including the top-rated Old Works Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. The lovely local country club and an 18-hole championship golf course at Fairmont Hot Springs are also excellent options. While at Fairmont Hot Springs, pamper yourself with a massage and then take a dunk in one of their famous mineral soaking pools. For some adrenaline-charged excitement, slide down the 350-foot enclosed waterslide into one of two Olympic-size swimming pools, which are known throughout the Northwest. Every year, Anaconda hosts the largest regional dart tournament in Montana. The annual Winter Getaway Dart Tournament draws crowds to several local establishments for some competitive dart games, live music and tasty beverages.
This recreational playground is one of the most beautiful in the nation and is especially fun for families seeking exciting outdoor activities. Many enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, four-wheeling and even conquering some moguls at the challenging Discovery Ski Mountain. No matter what your choice of activities is, you will end up falling in love with the vast, sunny skies accentuated by the gorgeous, snow-capped peaks ever-present in the background.
Once you are here in this mountainous, scenic land with the biggest skies you have ever seen, only then will you appreciate all that it has to offer and understand why they call Montana "Big Sky Country." With relaxing hot springs, golf courses and ample outdoor recreational activities, visitors will be amazed by this stunning region.
For More Information:
The Anaconda Visitors Center & Chamber of Commerce
Montana Office of Tourism