An unincorporated community in Lewis and Clark County, Augusta, Montana, was first established in 1884 and boasts a history that predates Montana’s Statehood by over five years.
Beginning as the homestead of a local rancher, Fred Walrath, Augusta served as a vital trading center for the cattle and sheep ranches in Northern Lewis and Clark County.
By the 1890s, the community had blossomed into a full-fledged town, home to several turn-of-the-century houses, hotels, saloons, mercantile, and the Mannix & Vaughn’s General Store.
Augusta continued to flourish for nearly two decades until 1912. At that time, the Great Northern Railway had announced plans to extend its line westward from the Great Falls Region.
However, instead of reaching the already established Augusta, the railroad instead passed by just north of the town, establishing a new station and community which would become to be known as Gilman.
While many individuals and businesses migrated to the new community at first, Gilman was not meant to last. By 1923 the new town began to diminish thanks to several factors that included draught and the fact that the railroad had finally extended to Augusta.
Several of Gilman’s buildings were moved to Augusta, growing the community back into the trade center for northern Lewis & Clark County ranching communities.
With a population of only 316 as of the 2020 census, Augusta remains one of the most preserved examples of a small town in northwestern Montana. Visiting the community is like stepping back into the past, with several of the original buildings still present on the historic Main Street.
Guide to Augusta, Montana
Along with its historic preservation, Augusta is located along the borders of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the adjoining Scapegoat Wilderness and is only a short drive from Glacier National Park. As a result, it is a fantastic destination for exploring Montana’s traditional small-town cultures while also acting as a doorstep to the many natural wonders of Northwestern Montana.
Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex
Located just east of Augusta, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex includes the Bob Marshall, the Great Bear, and the Scapegoat Wildernesses and occupies more than 1.5 million acres of the pristine natural landscape of Northwestern Montana.
The third largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states, the Bob Marshall Complex spans from Glacier National Park in the North and Rogers Pass in the South. It features a massive variety of ecological zones and topography, including towering limestone reefs, ranges of colossal mountains, expansive verdant forests, broad basins and valleys, and two designated rivers.
Along with extensive hiking trails and backcountry camping opportunities, visitors to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex can explore some of the best wildlife habitats in the country and may even spot the region’s thriving populations of elk, deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, and even the threatened grizzly bear.
Glacier National Park
Considered the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park is one of, if not the most significant highlight of Northwestern Montana and is a must-visit when traveling to the region.
First established in 1910, the National Park is one of the most pristine preservations of the state’s beautifully idyllic countrysides and features breathtaking views of rugged terrains carved out by the millennia of ancient ice rivers that had once flown through it.
Today the park protects acres of colorful alpine meadows, hundreds of roaring waterfalls, leagues of dense forest canopies, over 200 vivid life-filled lakes, and approximately 25 glaciers beckoning adventurers.
Latigo and Lace Gallery
While the community of Augusta is in itself a museum of Montana’s early history, the only physical museum in the town is the Latigo and Lace Gallery.
Established in 1992 by six local women, the gallery has passed ownership several times over its three-decade-long history until it reached its current owners in 2012.
Now operated by the Levine family, which has owned the iconic Levine Ranch in Augusta for the past four generations, the Latigo & Lace Gallery supports local and regional artists. It collects the most authentic pieces to reflect the region’s rich histories and influences.
However, Latigo & Lace is much more than a simple art gallery and includes a quaint and fabulous boutique store that offers various unique gifts and souvenirs.
In their shop, visitors can find anything from hand-crafted jewelry, fine art, and bronzes to custom clothing, glasswork, and even a diverse book section featuring local writers.
Located on the doorsteps of Glacier National Park, the Flathead National Forrest, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, there are millions of acres of pristine countryside for visitors to Augusta to explore, with hundreds of interweaving trails scattered throughout the countryside.
While the hiking opportunities in the region are seemingly limitless, some of the most incredible routes in the area include the Hike to Cataract Falls, the Chinese Wall Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the ascent up Scapegoat Mountain.
Just as there is a seemingly limitless number of hikes in the region, visitors also have many camping opportunities when visiting the natural attractions around Augusta, MT.
Wagons West Campground offers family-friendly campsites directly in town. At the same time, other front country campgrounds, including Double Falls Campground, Copper Creek Campground, and Woodlake Campground, are scattered along backroads that stretch through the surrounding wildernesses.
Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, and the Bob Marshal Wilderness Complex offer backcountry camping for visitors seeking quiet isolation.
Dispersed camping is free in Flathead National Forest and other Wildernesses. Still, permits are required for camping in Glacier National Park’s backcountry.
One of the most exciting ways to explore the preserved wonders of Montana’s natural attractions is by engaging in the state’s traditional mode of transportation—horseback riding through the countryside.
With several outfitters operating out of the surrounding wildernesses and Glacier National Park, visitors can take in all of the region’s breathtaking landscapes from the comfort of horseback.
Meanwhile, Swan Mountain Outfitters is the sole provider of guided horseback rides through Glacier National Park. They offer their services from several sites situated throughout the preservation.
Northwestern Montana is known for its numerous lakes, with over 200 located within Glacier National Park alone. Luckily, visitors staying in Augusta won’t have to go as far as the park to cast their lines, and plenty of fantastic fishing sites are located nearby.
The nearest site to Augusta is Willow Creek Reservoir. Located just east of the town, the reservoir offers a combination of cold and warm water fish species. This includes native populations of Lake Chub and White Sucker and introduced populations of Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout.
- Wagons West Motel & RV Park—Augusta
- Coffey House—Choteau
- Stage Stop Inn—Choteau
- Hotel Arvon—Great Falls
- Best Western Plus Riverfront Hotel and Suites— Great Falls
- Heritage Inn— Great Falls
- June– Annual Augusta Rodeo
- July– Augusta 4th of July Festival
- July– Augusta Kid’s Fishing Derby
- December– Festival of Trees
- December– Christmas Rendezvous
Activities Near Augusta
- Great Falls (54 miles)
- Helena (76 miles)
- Missoula (133 miles)
- Butte (140 miles)
- Whitefish (190 miles)
- Wagons West Campground
- Mills Wilderness Adventures
- JJJ Wilderness Ranch
- Harvest Hills Golf Course
- Mark Young Outfitters
National and State Parks
- Glacier National Park
- Flathead National Forest
- Bob Marshal Wilderness
- Giant Springs State Park
- Sluice Boxes State Park
- Tower Rock State Park
- Latigo & Lace Art Gallery
- Children’s Museum of Montana
- M. Russel Museum
- Old Trail Museum
- The Montana Dinosaur Center
Restaurants and Services
What is the Cost of Living in Augusta?
With an overall index of 90.1, the cost of living in Augusta is cheaper than the American and Montana Average, which has an index equal to 100.
Buying a home in Augusta is also generally cheaper, with median home prices averaging $263,600 compared to the Montana average of $353,700.
Is Augusta Safe?
Crime rates in Augusta are 10% higher than the National Average. Therefore, those traveling to the town should practice caution when visiting.
With 20% more violent crime than the national average and a 1 in 39 chance of becoming a victim of crime in the town, Augusta is considered safer than 23% of all the cities in the United States.
What is Augusta Known For?
Located on the doorstep of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, Augusta is perhaps best known for serving as a doorway to the natural wonders of Northwestern Montana while maintaining its traditional Montana small-town charms.
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