|First, let me be perfectly clear; this place
is stunningly beautiful! I don't believe anywhere else
in Montana offers such a diverse and satisfying harmony of attractions
as the Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot River,
flanked by cottonwoods, meanders through a wide, fertile valley
of farm and pasture land. The heavily wooded Bitterroot
Mountains challenge the adventurer and lure the photographer
with precipitous canyons and jagged peaks. Historic, quiet
old towns exist in a steadfast way. There are comings
and goings, but little commotion.
Opportunities for recreation
abound. The rivers and streams provide great fishing,
the Bitterroot National Forest provides thousands of acres of
wilderness with over 1,600 miles of maintained trails that lead
to dramatic peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and unsurpassed wildlife
viewing. To the east across the valley, the Sapphire
Mountain Range offers gem hunting, more fishing, and more wildlife.
Flora and Fauna
There are many species of wildlife here, though none are
unique to the Bitterroots. Bighorn sheep, elk, black bear,
mountain goats, deer, and mountain lions are frequently encountered,
as are smaller animals like the ground squirrel and badger.
Ospreys can be seen nesting along the river and bald eagles
often visit the valley.
Because of the wide range in altitude a variety of ecosystems
sustains a varied cross section of plant life. Juniper
and sage make their home on the valley floor while fir and larch
populate the higher altitudes. Majestic ponderosa pines
populate the areas in between. Sub-alpine larch cling
to rock faces high above the point at which other trees refuse
Gardening is popular in the Bitterroot Valley. The
flowers are colorful and the vegetables tasty. Gardens
are usually planted in May and are harvested in August and September.
Raspberries, tomatoes, broccoli, corn, beans, peas, potatoes,
onions, carrots and even melons thrive here.
Annual rainfall between 12 and 15 inches and the valley would
be dry and desert-like without irrigation. Water is so
well managed and distributed, however, that the valley looks
like a green and fertile oasis. Being located on the western
side of the Continental Divide gives us the advantage of avoiding
the northern winds and Arctic climate of Canada. Our weather
patterns generally come from the west, and the Bitterroot Valley
has the distinction of being referred to as the "banana belt"
Summer temperatures are generally in the 80's to 90's with
the evenings cooling down to 40's or 50's with nice summer breezes.
Fall generally stretches into November with a bit of rainy weather.
There is usually snow at Christmas but not as much as you might
think. The valley floor is usually clear and rarely requires
plowing, but the mountains are a different story. The
mountains boast an average of 300 inches of snow annually.
Spring is green with splashes of mountain wildflowers providing
vivid contrast with snow covered peaks and stunning blue skies.
Warm days can be followed by cool days, so pack accordingly.
One day you can be comfortable in shorts and the next day in
In short, you have a lot of sun, a little rain, enough snow,
and enough variation in temperatures to keep you looking forward
to the changing seasons and enjoying every one of them.
Bitterroot Valley Links
Bitterroot National Forest
Jobs in the Valley