One of the original nine Montana Counties, Deer Lodge County was established way back in 1864. When it was created, it encompassed a much larger territory, but several counties – Silver Bow, Granite, and Powell – were split off from it by 1901. Ironically the town of Deer Lodge, Montana ended up on the other side of the county line during one of these splits and is in Powell County to this day.
Many of the events in town are helmed by their small but mighty arts organization and museum, Copper Village. In addition to maintaining and exhibiting art and ephemera, they produce educational seminars, hold fundraisers, and manage a historical society that seeks to preserve the cultural cache of Deer Lodge County.
Anaconda is the county seat, and most community events occur here. This is also where you’ll find the largest concentration of lodging, restaurants, and other attractions in the county.
Visit the Deer Lodge County Government website.
- Warm Springs
Annual Events in Deer Lodge County, Montana
Most of Deer Lodge County’s annual events take place in Anaconda, the beating heart of the region.
January – Festival of the Winter Moon
After the holiday season is over, Anaconda hosts an annual Winterfest with events throughout town. Activities include a chili cook-off, frozen turkey bowling, ice sculpting, and a carnival for kids and adults. It culminates with a dance at the Elk’s Club.
July – Art in Washoe Park
This juried art and craft fair features over 80 booths from local artists and craftspeople. Held over three days, attendees can enjoy live music and local food pop-ups. Tickets for the whole weekend or individual days can ve purchased in advance, and all proceeds benefit the Copper Village Museum and Arts Center.
August – Smelterman’s Day Parade
This parade, held every year on Smelterman’s Day, pays homage to Anaconda and Deer Lodge County’s past in the mining industry. In addition to the parade, visitors can see live music and support local food vendors. There is also a Brewfest at the Kennedy Common.
September – Anaconda Wildlife Art Expo
Though artists actually display their work at several venues around Anaconda, the opening reception to this annual arts weekend is held at Copper Village Museum and Art Center. The community is invited to view works at different businesses town, and pick their favorites for the Wild Game Dinner and auction at the Hotel Montana. Throughout the weekend, there are additional associated outdoor activities at outdoor events at Kennedy Commons and Durston Park.
October – Oktoberfest
Celebrating all things beer, brats, and sauerkraut, Cooper Village Museum’s annual Oktoberfest combines a beer garden with live music and local vendors.
November – Christmas Stroll
The day after Thanksgiving, Anaconda kicks off the Holiday season with its downtown Christmas Stroll. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and colorful lights while the kids meet Santa. It culminates with the first lighting of the community Christmas tree.
Attractions in Deer Lodge County, Montana
In Deer Lodge County, residents and visitors alike re privy to a mix of natural spaces and the subtle bustle of small-town Montana.
Lost Creek State Park
Pine forests interspersed with limestone and granite formations dominate Lost Creek State Park. It’s a great place to see wild bighorn sheep, maybe on the hike to Lost Creek Falls. If you’d like to stay for a while, there are 25 campsites available for visitors on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Originally built in 1931, the historic Washoe Theater shows new blockbusters on a single screen. The site was originally the home of the Margret Theatre, all the way back in 1897. The building sat vacant for several years in the early 1900s before being completely reimagined as the Art-Deco style motion picture house that stands today.
Copper Village Museum & Arts Center
In the former city hall is the Copper Village Museum and Arts Center, an organization that’s committed to supporting and maintaining art and artists within Deer Lodge County and beyond. They manage a museum, the archives and art center, as well as a small retail shop for visitors. They produce several well-attended events throughout the year to support their arts initiatives.
Smoke Stack State Park
Though the 585 ft tall Anaconda Smoke Stack doesn’t serve as an active smelting plant anymore, it was a fixture of the skyline for so long that the local community refused to let it be torn down. Today, the smokestack has been turned into the centerpiece for a modest state park with a small interpretive and viewing area.
Originally created to provide power to the Phillipsburg mines, Georgetown Lake – which is actually a reservoir – is a popular recreation area in Deer Lodge and Granite Counties. Here you’ll find campgrounds and picnic areas, as well as a boat launch for those who’d like to get out on the water.
A public recreation area set within the city limits of Anaconda, Washoe Park has picnic areas, sports fields, walking trails, and even a trout hatchery.