More Summer Fun
Bob Marshall Wilderness
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is a Congressionally designated wilderness area and Ovando is at its front door; with the Monture Creek Trailhead entry only 8 miles north and the North Fork Trailhead 17 miles away. It is named after Bob Marshall, an early forester, conservationist, and cofounder of The Wilderness Society. Formally designated in 1964, the Bob Marshall Wilderness extends for 60 miles along the Continental Divide into Canada and consists of 1,009,356 acres.
As directed by the Wilderness Act of 1964, "The Bob", as it is informally known, is to remain roadless. The only permanent structures here are some old ranger stations and horse bridges. "The Bob" is the fifth largest wilderness in the lower 48 states with 1,856 miles of trail that are open to foot and stock use only. No motors, no bikes.
Bicycling is a big summer sport for a lot of people with tour groups bringing people through weekly. If you want a taste of the sport, bring your bike and try out these locations:
Boot Tree Road: The Old Timer’s Boot Tree is gone but a new one is starting up again. Look for the boots – and other foot paraphernalia—being tossed into the branches. A dirt road going through some post logging areas, but not too strenuous and nice views. The road is located just east of Ovando.
Great Divide Trail: The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest mountain bike touring route in the world. It begins at the port of Roosville in Montana and, following the Continental Divide as closely as possible, meanders 2400 miles on it's way to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the Mexican border. My humble opinion is that the Route is a must do for anyone who considers themselves a mountain bike enthusiast. Why? Because it will open your eyes to a whole new way to enjoy your mountain bike and in the process see an amazing part of this country.
Not everyone has two months to wander through the Rocky Mountains. The good news? You don't have to! The Great Divide Route invites you to explore it in parts and pieces with numerous opportunities to do a week or two at a time. A fantastic section, although challenging, is to start at Roosville and ride to Helena (10-14 days). You will see a spectacular part of Montana, you're guaranteed to meet some characters, you will see tons of wildlife, you will be challenged, you will be rewarded, and you will come away with an overwhelming appreciation of what you and your bike can do.
Ovando is Cycle Friendly!
Floating the Blackfoot
Family fun is floating in your own kayaks or rafts down the beautiful Blackfoot River. Beauty surrounds you and wildlife abounds. Floating the river is a seasonal activity. Please do not attempt during high water season and if you don’t know the river, ask someone about its quirks before you attempt it. Some portions can be tricky and for experienced handlers.
If you don’t have your own horse you can contact Rich Ranch in Seeley Lake and they can try to fit you in with a trail ride. If you have your own horse, there is many a mile for you to travel.
Monture Creek Trailhead: Corrals, watering area, large parking for trailers, camping sites and mile after mile of beautiful trail to follow. What more do you need? From Ovando, take the west exit across the highway right onto Monture Creek Road. Follow road approximately 15 minutes. Just before bridge that crosses Monture Creek, look for entrance to camping/trailhead. This trail leads you into the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Garnet Ghost Town: Beautiful timbered setting for of the most intact yet mostly unpreserved Ghost Towns in Montana. Stroll through leaning homes, a restored hotel that was once the largest 3 story hotel in the state and commercial buildings under renovation. Garnet is a historic mining ghost town located in west central Montana and sits at an elevation of about 6,000 feet at the head of First Chance Creek. It was named after the brown garnet rock which was used as an abrasive and a semi-precious stone found in the area. The town dates back to 1895 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Association, a non-profit citizens group. More than 30 buildings have been preserved. Visitors to the ghost town will find a Visitor Center, interpretive signs and self-guided trails, as well as books, cards and other memorabilia. Leashed pets are permitted. The town is open to visitors all year. The road is closed to wheeled vehicles from January 1st to April 30th. In winter Garnet is a popular snowmobile and cross-country ski trip. Winter cabin rentals are available.
Garnet offers a wonderful ghost town experience without commercialization. The town never had a bonanza strike but still serves as one of Montana's most impressive ghost towns.$2 per person charge. Tour pamphlets available. The dirt and gravel road going up the hill can get quite wash-boarded during the summer so prepare to take your time getting here.
Marysville Ghost Town: With a brewery, 27 saloons, 3,000 residents and three newspapers, Marysville once was one of the most thriving gold towns in the area. It remains one of the best preserved. The local Catholic church was fully restored in the 1980's, and old abandoned buildings still line Marysville's street.