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                       Southwest Montana
Twin Bridges



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Twin Bridges is a town with a population about 400 in an area of Southwest Montana (Gold West Country) rich in history and western lore.  The town sits along-side Montana Highway 41 some 50 miles south of Butte and 26 miles north of Dillon at an elevation of 4632 feet near where the Ruby and Big Hole rivers surge together with the Beaverhead to form the Jefferson River.

The Jefferson and Beaverhead rivers provided the water route by which the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-05 traveled this part of Montana in its quest to explore the Northwest and reach the Pacific Ocean.  And it was along the Jefferson River that Sacajawea, a 12-year-old Shoshone girl, was captured by a war party of Hidatsa Indians and taken to the Hidatsa-Mandan villages near modern Bismarck, North Dakota.  Five years later, at the age of 17, Sacajawea and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau and infant son Baptiste were members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveling up these same rivers to Horsetail Creek and an eventual meeting with her family and tribe near Lemhi Pass.

Sacajawea recognized the surrounding landscape as one frequented by her people when she saw a rocky outcrop known as Beaverhead Rock.  Her recognition of this landmark assured the expedition that it probably would contact the Shoshones soon.  The Shoshones were counted upon to provide the much needed horses necessary for the expedition to pass through the Bitterroot Valley and cross the Bitterroot Mountains.

Years later settlers would arrive to establish cattle and sheep ranches, sow crops, found schools, and build a community that today makes a living from cattle, agriculture and a budding recreational industry based on fly-fishing.

Each of the rivers near Twin Bridges, the Beaverhead, Ruby, Big Hole and Jefferson, is said to be a "blue ribbon" trout stream.  Proximity to such outstanding fly-fishing has given rise to accommodations, outfitters, guides, fly shops and other services supporting fly-fishing and catering to the sportsman.  Twin Bridges also is home to the R. L. Winston Rod Co., a highly respected manufacturer of quality fly-fishing rods.

While fishing may be the primary attraction for traveler and sportsmen, the mainstay of the economy still is ranching and agriculture.  There are a number of working ranches in the area with cattle being the primary livestock and alfalfa being the major crop.  For more on Twin Bridges, browse the links below:

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Revised: May 07, 2014