6 Best Things to Do in Libby Montana in 2024

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: May 3rd, 2024

Forget packed tourist towns and overpriced attractions. If you’re itching for a real getaway, a place where the air smells like pine trees and “rush hour” is a herd of deer crossing the road, set your sights on Libby, Montana. 

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, Libby is the perfect blend of outdoor adventure, small-town charm, and just enough modern comforts to relax after a good day’s exploring.

Kootenai Falls & the Swinging Bridge

kootenai falls, libby
Image: N Vision Photos

At a Glance:

  • Location: Short drive from Libby on Highway 2 
  • Website: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: Short (under an hour)
  • Season: Year-round (accessibility changes)
  • Highlights: Montana’s largest undammed falls, close-up views, a thrill on the swinging bridge

Get ready for the spray on your face and the roar of the Kootenai River! Kootenai Falls is a must-see. A wide, easy trail takes you right to the edge of this powerful cascade. Want more? Cross the Swinging Bridge for heart-pumping excitement and postcard-perfect photos. Note: winter access can be tricky, so check conditions before you go.

Hike or Bike the Kootenai National Forest Trails

kootenai national forest
Image: Forest Service Northern Region

At a Glance:

  • Location: Trails throughout the forest surrounding Libby 
  • Website: US Forest Service – Kootenai National Forest:
  • Difficulty: Ranges from easy to challenging
  • Duration: Short strolls to multi-day hikes
  • Season: Mainly summer/fall, some lower elevation trails accessible year-round
  • Highlights: Waterfalls, mountain views, old-growth forest, potential wildlife sightings

Lose yourself (but not literally – grab a map!) in the Kootenai National Forest!  Libby’s the perfect basecamp for any kind of hiking adventure. Want a family-friendly jaunt to a hidden waterfall? A heart-pounding climb with jaw-dropping mountain views?  Or maybe you dream of a multi-day backpacking trip into true wilderness? 

The Kootenai has it all. Stop by the ranger station –  those folks know every inch of these trails and will match you with the perfect hike.  Remember, this is bear country, so brush up on bear safety tips. You might just share the path with a deer, elk, or even a glimpse of something bigger!

Libby Dam Tour


At a Glance:

Get ready to geek out over some serious engineering! The Libby Dam tour takes you deep into the heart of this massive structure that harnesses the power of the Kootenai River. You’ll stand in echoing chambers filled with giant turbines, get a bird’s eye view from the top of the dam, and learn how this whole operation fits into the region’s unique ecosystem. 

History buffs will dig it too – the visitor center dives into the dam’s construction and its impact on the Libby area. Just a heads up: tours can be limited, so it’s smart to call ahead and make sure they’re running during your visit.

Explore Libby’s Historic Downtown

Image: Libby

At a Glance:

  • Location: Centered along Mineral Avenue in Libby
  • Type: Walking exploration, unique shops, local eateries.
  • Focus: Small-town charm, independent businesses
  • Cost: Free to stroll, depends on your spending!
  • Unique Features: Murals, vintage signs, friendly locals happy to chat

Step back in time (without sacrificing your good latte!) in Libby’s historic downtown. Leave the rush behind and stroll down Mineral Avenue. Pop into one-of-a-kind shops for Montana souvenirs or gear for your next hike. Fuel up at a cozy cafe with a brew made from pure mountain water. 

Don’t miss the murals – they tell the story of Libby’s rugged logging past. This isn’t some manufactured tourist trap; it’s the real deal. If you’ve come in before, shop owners might greet you by name, and you’re bound to strike up a conversation with a local happy to share their favorite hidden fishing spot.

Cast a Line in Lake Koocanusa (or the River!)

lake koocanusa

At a Glance:

  • Location: Lake Koocanusa stretches north from Libby
  • Website: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:
  • Focus: Fishing for kokanee salmon, trout, and more
  • Cost: Fishing license required, boat rentals/guides available.
  • Uniqueness: Beautiful scenery, potential for a big catch

If the tug of a fish on your line gets your heart thumping, Libby’s your paradise. Lake Koocanusa is famous for its feisty kokanee salmon and hefty trout. Prefer the flow of a river? At 90 miles long, the Kootenai won’t disappoint. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newbie, Libby’s got you covered. 

Hit up a local tackle shop – those guys know what the fish are biting on and where they’re hiding. For the ultimate experience, hire a guide. They’ll put you right on the hotspots and maybe even teach you a few tricks. And hey, even if you don’t land the monster, you can’t beat casting a line with those mountain views!

Get Wild at Turner Mountain Ski Area

turner mountain ski resort
Image: Turner Mountain Ski Resort

At a Glance

  • Location: Short drive from Libby
  • Website:
  • Phone: (406) 293-2468
  • Season: Winter (generally December-March)
  • Type: Family-friendly ski resort, snowboard terrain
  • Vibe: Laid-back, local mountain, affordable
  • Extras: Ski school, rentals, cozy lodge

Carve some turns and forget the lift lines! Turner Mountain is Libby’s hidden gem for winter fun. This friendly ski area is all about good times, not fancy frills. Whether you’re a seasoned shredder or the kids are taking their first wobbly runs on the bunny hill, Turner welcomes you. Warm up with hot cocoa in the classic lodge – you might even snag a seat right by the fireplace. Best part? Lift tickets that won’t break the bank.

Echoes of the Past: Libby’s History & Why It Matters

Libby’s charm isn’t just about the mountains – it’s rooted in its history. This place was built by tough, self-sufficient people – loggers who carved a town out of wilderness, miners who sought their fortunes in the earth. Take a walk downtown and check out the murals depicting scenes from Libby’s logging heyday.

For a deeper dive, visit the Heritage Museum with its artifacts and photos. The Libby area is also rich in Native American history, reminding us that people have thrived in these mountains for centuries. Knowing Libby’s story makes your visit even richer – it’s a testament to the kind of place where folks work hard, love their land, and welcome visitors with open arms.

Final Wrap: Plan Your Escape to Libby Today

Ready to trade your to-do list for a trail map? Sick of crowded tourist traps and just want to experience something…real? It’s time to discover Libby. This hidden gem in Montana’s mountains has everything you crave: epic hikes, wildlife around every bend, and the kind of small-town charm that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Start planning your escape today – those mountain views, the thrill of a fish on your line, and memories you’ll cherish forever are waiting in Libby!

About The Author

Mark Barnett

Mark Philip is a writer and lifestyle enthusiast from the Midlands in the U.K. With a background in martial arts and fitness, Mark headed out to Bangkok, Thailand where he now lives and works. Mark has authored e-books, articles, and blogs across a wide range of topics for commercial, educational, factual, lifestyle and leisure-based purposes.

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