Our last outing left us near Drummond, Montana. From here travelers may enjoy a scenic side trip to the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Loop, which leaves Drummond on Hwy 1 and heads South past Phillipsburg, Georgetown Lake and Discovery Basin Ski Area, before returning to I-90 at Anaconda, Montana.
Visiting Phillipsburg is a treat to another time. This unique and quiet, former mining town is tucked away off the beaten path and retains a slower pace and charming buildings, of years past. For a little fun prospecting, you can buy buckets of dirt to sift through for sapphires (a ‘find’, if not several, is guaranteed.) Or visit the famous chocolate and candy store and try some excellent homemade Fudge (not open on Saturdays but they are open from Sunday thru Friday). An area of larger ranches, this is a beautiful valley of lush irrigated meadows surrounded by tree-speckled foothills, below snow-capped peaks.
Flint Creek, which flows through the middle of most of the valley, is excellent fishing – as are the countless creeks and mountain lakes – in the vast National Forest reserves, which surround the area.
Georgetown Lake, the States highest producing fish lake, is great fishing both winter and summer. Icehouses bespeckle the shoreline in the winter and boating is popular in the summer.
Discovery Basin Ski Area overlooks this pristine lake and provides challenging double black diamond runs, on its back side, as well as an excellent variety of intermediate and beginner slopes for the entire family. They have a nice lodge, but like so many of the states smaller areas, there are no over night accommodations on the mountain. Discovery Basin Powder Mountain, serves mostly locals – with no lift lines or crowded slopes. However, there are only a few lodges, motels and campgrounds within minutes of the ski area and Georgetown Lake (you may want to reserve a room or camping ‘spot’ early and check for availability) or travel ‘just over the hill’ to Anaconda and Fairmont Hot Springs for an extra special weekend of ‘snow/water ski, golf and soak’. Check out the ‘Old Works’ golf course; a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course paid for with ‘Super Fund’ monies, that is known for its’ beauty and black slag traps.
Continuing East on Interstate 90, past Drummond, we next come to Garrison Junction – which is marked by a single Gas Station. This is where the Little Blackfoot flows into the Clark Fork River.
If we follow the Little Blackfoot due East, we come to the small ranching communities of Avon and Elliston, before crossing the Continental Divide at McDonald Pass (elev. 6300+ ft.) and arriving at our State’s capitol, Helena.