Ravalli, also known as the Bitterroot Valley, is located in the middle of Missoula, Thompson Falls and St. Ignatius, offering incredible views of the Mission Mountains. It is close to some famous attractions in Montana, such as the National Bison Range, which is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in the country.
Once home to the Bitterroot Salish tribe, Ravalli is named after the Jesuit missionary priest Antony Ravalli, who came to the Bitterroot Valley during 1845, and has been part of Montana since 1893.
It is bordered by the Sapphire and the Bitterroot Mountains, resting on the Pacific Ocean side of the Continental Divide. With a diverse population, the food scene is a blend of multiple cuisines, including Latin American cooking and strictly Western dining. It is a well-known tourist spot popular for fishing with the Bitterroot Fly Company. Tourists can also take a tour of the Daly Mansion, a famous monument in the Bitterroot Valley since 1889.
The Daly House isn’t the only place where you can enjoy a guided tour, you can also spend a day on a trek through the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. A guided nature walk through this national park offers options for bird watching, plus you can easily spot the various species living in the wilderness.
The owner of the Daly house, Marcus Daly, funded various logger operations in Ravalli. As a major part of the Butte copper operation, lumber was crucial. To this day, timber and agriculture form the backbone of the Ravalli economy, though tourism is consistently adding to it, too.
A 2019 consensus revealed a population of 42,212 in Ravalli, making it the eighth largest county in Montana. The population has enjoyed a steady growth rate of 11.81% since then and a median household income of $53,034 in the same year.
Visit the Ravalli County Government website.
- June – Bitter Root Day: A Cultural Heritage Event – Ravalli
- July – Lake Como Triathlon – Lake Como
- October – Annual McIntosh Apple Day – Ravalli
- October – 7th Annual Liquid Apple Night – Ravalli
- November – Veterans Day Observance Ceremony and Program – Ravalli
- November – Gallery of Trees Silent Auction Opening – Ravalli
St. Mary Peak
Ideal for mountaineers and hikers, St. Mary’s Peak rests in Bitterroot Mountains and is one of the more accessible peaks in the range. With a 3.5 mile trail and an elevation of 6,850 feet, it offers stunning views of the neighboring peaks on clear days. Once at the top on a bright and sunny day, you can make out the Mission Mountains, Swan Mountain peak, the Lewis and Clark Mountain ranges, and the Rattlesnake, Swan, and Garnet peaks, too.
Depending on what time of the year you plan your visit, you can enjoy camping, skiing, and hiking while keeping the local laws in mind, of course. Tourists and locals can both enjoy the various seasonal activities that St. Mary Peak has to offer. However, it is important to note that St. Mary Peak is not to be confused with St. Mary’s Peak, which is in the nearby Mission Mountains, and a completely different summit.
The world-famous Lake Como is the best location for hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, and water skiing in all of Montana. For families with children, it offers incredible picnic and swimming spots and camping sites. Also, mountain biking enthusiasts can enjoy a 7-mile ride on the Como Loop Trail and witness the wilderness and landscape firsthand.
Lake Como also hosts a thrilling triathlon where competitors swim, mountain bike, and hike through the trails to win first prize. It is an exciting event and is usually scheduled around July to make sure that everyone enjoys an exhilarating summer vacation whether with friends or families or on a solo trip.