Ennis, MT lies in the heart of Madison River Valley, surrounded by three Rocky Mountain ranges and 3 million acres of Beaverhead National Forest lands. It’s a great vacation destination on your Yellowstone vacation.
Ennis is on US 287, 70 miles north of West Yellowstone, and 60 miles southwest of Bozeman, in southwestern Montana.
True western cuisine is yours in Ennis. With around 13 restaurants to choose from, you are sure to find your favorite. You can even try some exotic meat like elk, or stick to the more familiar pork chops or beef tenderloins. Want sandwiches or pizza for lunch? You’ll find them here in Ennis, along with ice cream to cool you off in summer.
For sheer comfort in a western atmosphere, Ennis offers accommodations to fit every need. You’ll find motels, bed and breakfasts or even private ranch lodgings. Some have packages that include fishing or hunting outfitting.
There is plenty to keep the whole family occupied when visiting Ennis. You have history of the Old West history all around as well as wilderness areas for exploring.
World-class fly-fishing has Ennis being discussed among the fishermen from all over. Some of the best places are on the Madison, Yellowstone or Gallatin Rivers. Also go to the Ruby, Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers to throw in a line.
Naturally, there are a multitude of trails where you can trek to your heart’s content. The forests beckon, the wildlife awaits and the fresh air clean and pure.
- Wild Game Hunting
Fall is the season for hunting deer, elk, grouse, duck and pheasant. It’s a good idea to hire an outfitter who can get you to the best place to find game, especially if the best spot is on a local ranch.
- Scenic Drives
A scenic drive you won’t want to miss is the 90-mile drive from the Missouri Headwaters State Park to West Yellowstone. As you skirt the Madison Range and pass the Madison River, you will marvel at nature’s landscapes. Another popular drive is from Three Forks, Montana to West Yellowstone. You travel through Jefferson River Valley, view the Madison Range and Quake Lake.
- Paddling and Canoeing
Madison River cuts a lovely path through the valley and passes lush meadows. All Class I except for two areas, you can take a canoe, kayak or raft along this scenic river.
- White Water Rafting
If you prefer a little more challenge to your river travels, you can take the river trip through Bear Trap Canyon. Best to hire a rafting outfitter who knows these waters. The legendary Kitchen Sink – a Class IV rapid – is here and you must be expert to brave this area of Madison River.
- Quake Lake Visitor’s Center
This Center stands testimony to one of the most violent earthquake to strike the U.S. In 1959, a massive earthquake moved a mountain. A landslide screamed down the mountainside at 100 miles an hour, burying people, highways and destroying homes. You can learn all about the results of this quake, and go to the observation room to see the slide and hear informational videos.
- Virginia City, Montana
Move into the past as it was 120 years ago. Virginia City is only 12 miles from Ennis and is worth a visit. Taste the gold rush days’ recipes and peek in the old shops.
- Nevada City
Nearby, at Nevada City, you can see how a popular mining town has been rebuilt, and try panning for some gold yourself. There’s an old-fashioned train that will take you from Virginia City to Nevada City and back, which really gives you the feeling of traveling like they did in the Old West.
- Fly Fishing Festival
Over Labor Day weekend each year, Ennis hosts a fly-fishing festival to celebrate the popular sport of fly-fishing. There are fly casting competitions, skill development seminars, antique displays, and of course, plenty of food and entertainment. Raffles are held and you might even win a fishing boat!
It’s simple to get from Ennis to West Yellowstone. Get on US 287 and travel south to US 191. Follow that to US 20 and you’ll be in West Yellowstone. It’s a short 1-hour and 8-minute drive.