From Hamilton  (pop. 3,965, elev. 3,600 feet) north to Missoula , the Bitterroot passes through the towns of Corvallis, Victor, Stevensville, Florence, and Lolo. Excluding the lodges of typically nomadic Indians, this part of the valley is the oldest continuously inhabited area in Montana, and it shows. Interesting old Victorian farmhouses are scattered among the fields, and isolated apple trees from once substantial orchards can still be seen in meadows. Main streets have changed little since they were built. Despite the crags of the Bitterroot Range rising to the west, here the Bitterroot feels lived-in and comfortable.
The visitor should leave Highway 93 as soon as possible (at Florence at the Missoula end and at Hamilton from the south) and instead take the East Side Highway, MT 269. While 93 is undeniably a faster road, it’s also very busy. The East Side Highway affords the best views of the Bitterroots and goes through the pretty towns of Corvallis and Stevensville.