You could take every peaceful town ever depicted on every Christmas card ever produced and none would compare to the serenity of Twin Bridges in winter. Located just above the confluence of the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers, Lewis and Clark passed through here over two-hundred years ago....

The town itself doesn't look too full of life anymore. After the state closed the orphanage in the seventies, businesses shut down and not much has happened ever since. But if you scrape the surface a bit you will find a varied gathering of townsfolk who would rival the lovable characters found in that mythical TV town of Mayberry.

-- Jerry Kustich
From A Wisp in the Wind

Crafted in Twin BridgesTwin Bridges has been the obscure epicenter of splendid trout waters for decades. Although the town has escaped development that has sprawled throughout the entire Rocky Mountain Range the past ten years, some believe it is just a matter of time before the slow creep of civilization comes around the corner. And it likely will.

For us, however, living in a time-forgotten community where a handshake and trust are synonymous, these values will be ingrained in us forever. Along with its rich fishing history, these hometown values are what we hope to share with everyone who believes in Sweetgrass Rods.


What would you like to know about Twin Bridges?

Fishing Conditions

Current Weather for Twin Bridges


The Phase of the Moon

Moon phase


6 days

230,352 Miles

23:29:42 MST


Getting to Twin Bridges

The closest commercial airports to Twin Bridges are in Butte and Bozeman.  Flights to Bozeman are the least expensive but you’ll find the best deals on car rentals in Butte.  Also, Butte is a little closer, only 35 miles from Butte’s Bert Mooney Airport to Silver Star.  However, over half of the trip is on a winding, mountain road.  Bozeman is 72 miles from Silver Star and most of the miles are on the interstate.

If you have your own plane, you can fly right into Twin Bridges and park at Ruby Valley Aviation.  The airport is located half a mile from town and the nice folks at Ruby Valley Aviation will be happy to give you a lift.


By Car

From Butte, Montana

Head south on Harrison Avenue.  After the 5 Mile Bar (on the left), keep an eye out for the sign to Whitehall (Highway 2).  Turn left onto Highway 2 and stay on this road for about 17 miles.  You’ll be driving over the Continental Divide, through some hairpin turns and switchbacks.  Please take your time and mind the speed limit signs.  They are posted for your safety, not your annoyance.  After the road starts to straighten out, watch for the sign for Twin Bridges.  Turn right at this sign and you’ll be on Highway 41.  Stay on this road for about eight miles. The majestic Tobacco Root Mountains will be on your left. After 8 miles, you’ll come to a flashing yellow light at a “T” intersection.  Turn right at the intersection.  Technically, you’ve just entered the Ruby Valley.
Map of SW Montana
Southwest Montana - Sweetgrass Rods


The first town you’ll come to is Silver Star.  The pleasant officers of Madison County will give you a ticket if you don’t slow to 35 mph going through Silver Star.  It's a quiet county, so please slow down.  From Silver Star to Twin Bridges, you’ll travel adjacent to the Jefferson River.

Twin Bridges is 10 miles south of Silver Star. As you approach the town, you’ll see a silver water tower directly ahead.  The Ruby Mountains are just to the left of the water tower and the Tobacco Root Mountains are directly to your left.  Sweetgrass Rods is the first business on the right as you enter Twin Bridges.

From Bozeman, Montana

Head west on Highway 90 to Whitehall (49 miles).  Slow down a bit as you approach the overpass east of Three Forks and look to your left; you’ll see the headwaters of the Missouri River.  This is a lovely area at any time of year.

At the Whitehall exit, turn left and drive into town.  At the “T” intersection, turn right.  At the west end of town, you’ll see a sign for Twin Bridges.  Turn left onto Highway 55 to Twin Bridges.  The Tobacco Root Mountains will be on your left.  It’s about 15 miles from Whitehall to Silver Star. Halfway between Whitehall and Silver Star, you’ll see a flashing yellow light and the highway number changes from 55 to 41.

As you’re passing through Silver Star, on your right you’ll see some unique, massive 19th century mining equipment.

Twin Bridges is 10 miles south of Silver Star. As you approach the town, you’ll see a silver water tower directly ahead.  The Ruby Mountains are just to the left of the water tower and the Tobacco Root Mountains are directly to your left.  Sweetgrass Rods is the first business on the right as you enter Twin Bridges.

From West Yellowstone, Montana

Head north out of West Yellowstone on Highways 287 and 191.  Eight miles out of town, turn left to continue on Highway 287.  If you’re traveling in winter, keep an eye out for big horn sheep and elk near the highway.  You won’t go too far before you’re driving next to Hebgen Lake.  Following Hebgen Lake is Quake Lake.  You might want to pull off at the Ranger’s Station and learn how the lake was formed by a devastating earthquake in 1959.  After passing Quake Lake, you’ll see the Madison River on your left.  Unless you’re driving in a blizzard, you’ll probably see some folks fly fishing in the Madison.  You’ll be traveling between the Ennis Fisherman StatueMadison Range on your right and the Gravelly Range on your left.  The distance from Quake Lake to Ennis is 45 miles.  By the time you get to Ennis, you might want to get out and stretch your legs.  There’s a nice park on your right as you enter the town and there are plenty of art galleries and shops.  Or, you can wait until you get to Virginia City to take a stretch and walk through the former territorial capitol of Montana.  After driving through downtown Ennis, you’ll see a big statue of a fly fisherman; continue west on Highway 287 as you pass this magnificent sculpture.

About 7 miles out of Ennis, you will begin to climb the pass known as the Virginia City Hill.  Be aware that this is a steep grade with a large volume of tourist traffic in the summer season.  The top of the pass can be very icy in the winter season.  As you come down the pass, you’ll see the Ruby Valley ahead of you between the Ruby and Tobacco Root Mountain Ranges.  There are plenty of fun shops in Virginia City intermingled with vintage 1860’s historical displays.  Virginia City also has lively evening entertainment with the Virginia City Players (Rated “G”) and the Brewery Follies (Rated “R”).  At the far end of town, the railroad depot provides train service between Virginia City and Nevada City during the summer.  The reconstructed old west ghost town, Nevada City, is two miles to the west.  The town has been used as the backdrop for films such as Little Big Man and Return to Lonesome Dove.  If you stop on a weekend, you may be able to catch one of the Living History events.

Continuing west from Nevada City, you’ll see really large mounds of rocks where the dredgers churned up the last of the gold after the miners took the easy pickings in the late 1800’s.  Alder is 7 miles west of Nevada City and you are now officially in the Ruby Valley.

Keep traveling west on Highway 287 through Alder and Sheridan, which is 8 miles west of Alder.  Twin Bridges is 8 miles west of Sheridan at the junction of Highway 41 and 287.  At the north end of Twin Bridges (Main Street runs north/south), a few blocks past the flashing yellow light, you’ll see Sweetgrass Rods on your left.  If you see cows, you’ve gone a bit too far.

Monida - Montana's Most Photographed BarnFrom Idaho Falls, Idaho

Head north on Highway 15 toward the Montana/Idaho border.  You’ll be in Idaho for another 79 miles until you reach the ghost town of Monida.  (Someone may be living there now.)  Please make sure to check your travel and weather information prior to traveling over Monida Pass in the winter.  The pass often closes during severe snow storms.  Fifteen miles north of the border is the town of Lima.

Continuing north on Highway 15, you’ll see the Clark Canyon Reservoir on your left and probably a few boats in the summer or ice houses in the winter.  As you head through the pass after the reservoir, watch the hills to your right for a buffalo standing sentinel.  It’s a skinny beast but it’s always there.  It’s about 50 miles from Lima to Dillon.

When you reach Dillon, take the second Dillon exit (#63) to Highway 41  and Twin Bridges.  A quarter mile from the exit is a stop light at North Montana Street.  Turn left onto Highway 41 north.  Twin Bridges is 28 miles from Dillon.  When you’re about halfway to Twin Bridges, you’ll cross the Beaverhead River at the Point of Rocks.  This was a primary landmark for Lewis & Clark’s guide, Sacajawea, when she was looking for her tribe.

As you come into Twin Bridges, you’ll see the Madison County Fairgrounds on your right and the Twin Bridges Bike Camp on your left.  At the flashing yellow light, turn left and you will be on Main Street.  At the north end of Main Street, on the left, is Sweetgrass Rods.  If you see cows, you’ve gone a bit too far.

What's Happening in the Ruby Valley

In between adventures with your bamboo fly rod and the local trout, the Ruby Valley has a wide variety of activities.  Following is a summary of activities by season, or you can check the Outlook Events at the Madisonian's website

Late Winter/Early Spring
  • Sand Hill Cranes in the Ruby ValleyBird watching season commences with the return of the Sand Hill Cranes and the Mountain Bluebirds.Many other species of birds also begin to return in late March but the locals hail the return of the cranes and the bluebirds as the sign that winter is on the wane.
  • Late season cross country skiing can be found adjacent to Mill Creek near the national forest and on the west side of the Ruby Reservoir. Please stay on the trail and carry avalanche gear.
  • Late season snowmobiling continues in the Tobacco Root Mountains.
  • Shortly before Easter week, the Ruby Valley Chorale will hold their special Easter concert. This is always an extraordinary performance.

Spring/Early Summer

Old West Historical Re-enactment - Ruby Valley, MontanaThere may still be a substantial snowpack, even at lower mountain elevations. The streams will be running very fast with the run-off. The Ruby Valley almost glows with the first green of spring in the fields, shrubs and trees. If you don’t care for lilacs, best to plan your visit for another season.

  • Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off the summer season. Virginia City and Nevada City officially open with a big fanfare and historical re-enactments. The Twin Bridges Museum re-opens and offers visitors perspectives on the Ruby Valley’s history from pioneer days to the mid-twentieth century. Don’t miss the exhibit for the Montana Children’s Center. 
  • Weekly roping and barrel racing commence at the Madison County Fairgrounds and will be held throughout the summer. Visitors are welcome to come watch, no charge.
  • Small shops from Silver Star to Virginia City offer unique gifts, historical materials, handmade local household goods and antique treasures.
  • If you like a good treasure hunt, don’t miss the Garage-O-Rama in early June. This giant flea market is held annually and benefits the Twin Bridges Library.


Fish Fantasies & Floating FlotillasFrom the Fourth of July weekend through Labor Day, the Ruby Valley sponsors a special event nearly every weekend. Most of the snow has melted and it’s a gret time to go hiking, mountain biking and camping in the high country. There are numerous high mountain lakes in the Tobacco Root Mountains that are accessible via strenuous but satisfying day hikes. Geocaching and rockhounding are also popular activities and the area is rich in geological artifacts. This is a perfect time to bring the family for a vacation to the Ruby Valley.

  • The last weekend in July, Twin Bridges celebrates the abundance of local trout and riverways with the Fish Fantasies and Floating Flotillas festival. Activities include a floating parade competition, a 5K fun run, a children’s scavenger hunt and special fishing contests and exhibits. The Pete Novich Memorial Roping competition is also held that weekend at the Madison County Fairground’s 3 Rivers Arena.
  • Sheridan Days is a typical small Montana town festival with a parade, barbecues, music and competitions. The highlight of the weekend is the car show that attracts an excellent array of custom, antique and vintage cars. Don’t miss the Sunday Brunch benefit at Jackson’s Garden.
  • The Madison County Fair and NRA Rodeo is a weeklong affair in early August. This is a classic rural county fair with a marvelous display of livestock, kids giving 4H demonstrations, handcraft, gardening and cooking displays, food vendors, a livestock auction, excellent entertainments and a two day NRA rodeo competition. If that’s not enough entertainment, there is also a car show on Saturday and a demolition derby on Sunday. And, of course, there’s a parade and benefit pancake breakfast on Sunday morning.


Hayrides at the Christmas StrollVisitors are always welcome to attend the high school sporting events. Friday night football and basketball are big community gatherings during the fall and winter months. Every week or so, there’s a community social event such as a wine tasting, Casino Night, school shows, winter festivals, Christmas strolls, etc. Stop in at one of the grocery stores or the bank if you’re looking for something to do.

Where to Eat

Can you get something besides beef?  You bet!!  But if you get a steak or a burger, it will be the best tasting meat you've ever had. 

The Old Hotel
Known for their uniquely blended Pacific Rim and European cuisine
101 East Fifth Avenue & N. Main Street
Twin Bridges
The Shack
Known for their pizzas
301 N. Main Street & Sixth Avenue
Twin Bridges
The Wagon Wheel
Known for their homestyle cooking
207 N. Main Street
Twin Bridges
Three Rivers Quik Stop
Known for their fried chicken to-go
325 S. Main Street
Twin Bridges
Montana Mac's
102 Mill Street
The Sump Saloon
Known for their burgers
110 N. Main Street
The Prospector
Known for their burgers & onion rings
Crofoot & S. Main Streets
Known for their italian coffee, pizza, lunch specials
105 S. Main Street
Chick's Bar & Restaurant
Known for their hand-cut specialty beef & porkies
2322 Highway 287
The Shovel & Spoon
Great lunches, local food, dinner to go.
108 N. Main Street

Where to Sleep

There are a variety of accommodations available in the Ruby Valley from bed & breakfast inns and fishing lodges to small motels and country cabins.  Each place has its own unique features and atmosphere.  You won't find a Motel 6 or a Holiday Inn.  But we'll leave the light on for ya anyway!

King's MotelKing's Motel
307 South Main Street
P.O. Box 475
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
(406) 684-5639
The Stonefly InnThe Stonefly Inn
409 North Main Street
P.O. Box 428
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
(406) 684-5648
The Moriah MotelThe Moriah Motel
220 South Main Street
P.O. Box 533
Sheridan, MT 59749
(406) 842-5491
The Ruby Valley InnThe Ruby Valley Inn
3209 Highway 287
Sheridan, MT 59749
(406) 842-7711
Big Trout RanchBig Trout Ranch
726 East Bench Road
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
(406) 684-5995
Healing Waters LodgeHealing Waters Lodge
270 Tuke Lane
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
(406) 684-5960
J-L RanchJ-L Ranch
80 Balkovetz Lane
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
(406) 596-0600
Elijah's RestElijah's Rest
8 Stagecoach NW Lane
Laurin, MT (physical)
Sheridan, MT (mailing)
(406) 842-7295
Ruby Springs LodgeRuby Springs Lodge
2487 Highway 287
P.O. Box 119
Alder, MT 59710
(406) 842-5250
Ruby Valley Lodge, Sheridan, MTRuby Valley Lodge
310 S. Main Street
Sheridan. MT 59749
(406) 842-7473
The Laurin SchoolhouseThe Laurin Schoolhouse
Laurin Loop
Laurin, Montana
(406) 842-7100
Cottonwood CabinCottonwood Cabin
52 Primrose Lane
Silver Star, Montana
(406) 287-3069

Sweetgrass Rods ~~ P.O. Box 486 ~~ 121 West Galena ~~ Butte, Montana 59703
406.782.5552 ~~
(shipping deliveries to 60 West Galena)

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