Philipsburg Montana is about 80 miles from our Missoula Montana bed and breakfast, and it makes a great day trip. It takes just over an hour to drive there, but boy, is the drive worth it. For starters, Philipsburg is located in Flint Valley, one of the most picturesque valleys we’ve seen; it is beautiful no matter the weather, and simply stunning when the sun is shining. Even if you never stop at Philipsburg, traveling the Pintler Scenic Loop (Montana Highway 1) is worth the trip.
Yet the historic mining town of Philipsburg is worth a stop. At this time of year, popular activities including mining for sapphires. Okay, you can’t actually don a helmet an enter the mines, but you can purchase a bucket of earth from the mine, wash it, and sort through it until you are satisfied you’ve found all the sapphires. You are sure to find some, which the friendly staff will weigh. They’ll tell you if your specimens are perfect or flawed, and you’ll have the option of taking them home as they are or sending them away for heat treatment, which will intensify the color. It’s fun, and it is fun to feel yourself caught up in the certitude that you can find gems where no one else can, with just a little more time. This can be done in Philipsburg itself, or a bit farther down the road at Gem Mountain (warning – the route is gorgeous).
The little town of Philipsburg keeps busy during the summer. In July and August you’re likely to stumble across everything from car shows to string quartets, the Rocky Mountain Accordion Festival or Shakespeare in the Park. If nothing else, there are always several ghost towns to explore. Check out the Philipsburg community calender at http://philipsburgmt.com/calendar.
Summer is a great time at our Missoula bed and breakfast as well. The gardens are in bloom, the trails on our land call to guests invitingly, and the breakfast will provide plenty of energy for the day. Stay with us while you explore the area, from Lolo Pass to Flint Valley and Philipsburg. Hope to see you soon.