The Upper Clark Fork River Valley
Silver Bow Creek drains the Butte Basin before charging almost 1,000 feet down a narrow channel to the wide valley below. Here the creek is renamed the Clark Fork River, and it begins to pick up the many tributaries that eventually make it one of the most important arms of the mighty Columbia.
Early settlers knew this as the Deer Lodge Valley. The state’s first ranches grew up when some miners recognized that a quicker and more dependable profit could be made selling agricultural products to the booming mining towns.
Today, this open stretch of the Clark Fork River Valley is the stepping-off point for hikes in the rugged Flint Creek Range. Fishing in the revivified Clark Fork River is both popular and possible; in the not-too-distant past it was neither.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition