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Hamilton, Montana is located in south-western Montana in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley. This is a wide open valley traversed by US Highway 93 and the Bitterroot River. Hamilton is both a very popular traveler's destination and great place to live. This is a paradise for people who love the outdoors, nature, gardening and community. Hamilton has both the small-town feel of rural Montana, and quick access to city services in nearby Missoula.
This valley was once home to the Bitterroot Salish Indian Tribe. The tribe was noted for their friendly nature. In 1877, Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Perce passed through Ravalli county on their way to Canada in order to escape confinement to a reservation. The Salish were relocated to their current Flathead reservation under the Treaty of Hellgate.
Lewis and Clark came into the valley September 4th, 1805. The valley that we, today, find to be a mecca of gardens and recreation, was a cold inhospitable place to the Corp of Discovery as they made their way to the Pacific.
The city of Hamilton was founded in 1890 by an Irish immigrant and copper magnate, Marcus Daly. Daly came into the valley and founded a 22,000 acre stock farm. He decided it would be a good thing to have a town nearby, so he laid out his own city along the Northern Pacific Railway route, with plots for churches, schools, parks and businesses. The town was named after his employee, James Hamilton, who surveyed the first plats.
The last turn of the century was a wild and prosperous time in Hamilton. Calamity Jane lived here for awhile, running a cafe on Main Street, and the Ravalli County Fairgrounds once covered 40 acres!
Hamilton is the largest town in the Bitterroot Valley, which is the location of the classic book, "A River Runs Through It", by Norman Maclean. This book is a wonderful story of family and fly fishing, that encapsulates the vast beauty of the Bitterroot Valley. A must read for anyone interested in the area.
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Hamilton Montana Population
As of 2005, Hamilton has an estimated population of 4,443 (up from 3,705 in the census of 2000). This is in the City Limits, but Hamilton spills vigorously into the surrounding county more than doubling the immediate population. Hamilton is a well-planned town, with lots of pleasant living space for the population. Lots are large, with numerous county subdivisions having lots of half to one acre. Throughout the countryside numerous 5-10 acre lots are springing up with new building.
The elevation of Hamilton is 3572 feet. Hamilton is located on the valley floor, with the nearby Bitterroot Mountains raising up creating fabulous views to the west. Hikers can quickly rise in elevation several thousand feet. Lost Trail Pass (dividing Idaho and Montana) is 7014 feet in elevation.
The Hamilton area is a great recreation area for fishing, hunting, boating and hiking. Vast areas of wilderness abound just to the west of the Bitterroot valley with miles of pristine forest, wildlife and views. The Bitterroot River runs through the valley, close to town, creating favorite hiking trails and picnic areas for residents. The town of Hamilton boasts numerous hunting, fishing and outfitting businesses who can show travelers the best local haunts. The local newspaper reports water levels, the hatch, and the latest on fishing activity as a regular feature.
The Bitterroot River was known to the Salish Indians as "Ootlashoot", which can be translated as Spitlem seukn or "waters of the bitter root. The bitter root itself is a beautiful, low growing flower, with an edible root that is bitter in it's raw state, but quite tasty when mixed in the traditional ways with deer fat and moss, and a staple food of the local tribes.
A favorite recreational sport in the valley is mountain biking with the local area sporting hundreds of miles of trails and dirt roads. During the winter the outlaying area holds fine cross country skiing trails, and a nearby downhill ski area on Lost Trail Pass.
We love the weather in the Bitterroot Valley. Although our temperatures can run from a low of 20 below zero, to a high 105, the average days are quite moderate. More important than the temperatures is the comfortably low humidity, and fantastically fresh air flowing in over the mountains. Like all of Big Sky Montana, we are blessed with lots of sun; more often than not we can say it is a lovely day!
The Bitterroot Valley has a growing economy and several large businesses offering job opportunities. The Hamilton area is also a fantastic spot to start your own business as we have a very health and active Chamber, and a friendly and opened business Climate.
Hamilton Montana Real Estate
Hamilton is a fantastic place to live - and that is reflected in our booming real estate market. Please contact any of our great Realtors and Associates to be shown through properties for sale in Hamilton, and throughout the entire Bitterroot Valley. There is also a thriving number of people who prefer For Sale By Owner, and you can keep track of available homes for sale here on HamiltonMontana.com.
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We feature area businesses: realtors, outfitters and guides, recreation, motels, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, community associations and more in our colorful streets. Our many businesses welcome you to Hamilton, MT. Please tell them you found them on hamiltonmontana.com!
We strive to keep our business directory up-to-date by allowing local businesses to manage and verify their own listings. Please let us know about any out-of-date information. If you have a business you would like to list, click "Join"
Back to hamiltonmontana.com -- Visit The Bitterroot Valley.
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