Once a mining boom-and-bust town, Philipsburg’s wealth today is in the vast opportunities for adventure and natural beauty right on our doorstep. From fly-fishing, mountain biking and hiking out to one of our pristine mountain lakes on our long summer days, to skiing and snowboarding at Discovery Ski Area in the winter season, Philipsburg is the place to experience the best of Montana’s great outdoors.
And we want everyone to feel welcomed when they come to explore. Please be patient and respectful of others on the trails, ski hill and on the rivers, regardless of age, identity or ability.
Scenic camping options are just a short drive from Philipsburg in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, which spans 3.35 million acres. Pitch a tent or park a recreational vehicle at Georgetown Lake for a weekend of lake fishing and boating at Philipsburg Bay Campground or Piney Campground and Boat Launch, or choose one of the 16 free creekside spots at Flint Creek Campground, less than eight miles from Philipsburg, just off of Hwy 1.
For more backcountry exploration, book one of our rustic forest service cabins like Moose Lake Cabin, close to fishing and hunting near Rock Creek and Copper Creek, with access to trails in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness area, or the two-story West Fork of Rock Creek Cabin, in an open meadow, ideal for wildlife viewing of elk, moose and bighorn sheep and can also be a base for trail riding and pack trips. Go to recreation.gov for more camping options and to make a booking.
Please pick a spot where there is an existing campsite or choose a place where there isn’t any vegetation. Ensure your campfire has been properly extinguished before leaving your campsite, to reduce human-made fires in our area.
Don’t forget that wildlife is wonderful to spot - from a distance. Bring binoculars and stay at least 25 yards away from elk and bighorn sheep and 100 yards away from moose or bear, especially if they have young ones with them. Please don’t feed the wildlife.
Be Bear Aware. Get familiar with how to use bear spray and keep it handy while outside in your camping area or on a hike. Always make sure your campsite is clean and that food is stored in bear-proof canisters or strung high between trees.
Anglers from around the world base themselves in Philipsburg for the legendary fly-fishing on the Blue Ribbon waters of Rock Creek. Because much of the creek flows through public land, there is great access along the 30-mile stretch of road that serpentines these waters holding cutthroat, rainbow and brown trout. Enjoy fly-fishing from a boat through the spring until July 1, and exceptional wade fishing the rest of the season.
Philipsburg is also a base for anglers looking for a central location to make the most of day trips to some of Montana’s famous rivers like the Big Hole, Bitterroot and Blackfoot. Call or stop by Flint Creek Outdoors in Philipsburg to book a trip with one of their fishing guides, check the latest conditions or to stock up on gear.
Remember - Clean. Drain. Dry. Please be aware of local protocols to protect our waters from invasive species.
From day trips to a weekend in the mountains, there are plenty of spots to take a hike near Philipsburg. We would ask that you allow for as much space as possible as you set out. Give plenty of room to others to pass comfortably, or consider an alternate trail that might be less crowded if a trailhead parking lot is packed.
Get your heartrate up at the newly-expanded Ridgeview Trail, within walking distance of our main street, just above the town park. The 1.4 mile trail has an initial elevation gain of 236 feet, allowing for an overlook above Philipsburg and across ranchland to the Pintler Mountains. This can now be done as part of a loop trail for a longer wander before a return to your starting point.
Other popular hikes in our area include Fuse Lake, an undulating 5.2 mile return hike to a small mountain lake known for its abundance of grayling, just off the Skalkaho Pass, and the Storm Lake Loop, a 4-mile hike around Storm Lake in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, also with good fishing opportunities along the way.
For more featured hikes and detailed trail descriptions in the area, see the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest website.
While exploring the public lands, please take care of them by staying on the trails and packing out any trash you take in with you.
Philipsburg is now a mountain biking destination, thanks to the downhill trails offered at Discovery Bike Park, just south of Philipsburg, off Rumsey Road. Located on the backside of Discovery, the bike park is professionally maintained, with jumps, bridges, and wall rides. The lift service allows for a vertical drop of about 1,050 feet and novice riders have a chance to improve their skills during a 2-hour lesson every Saturday.
Other opportunities for mountain biking abound in the numerous forestry trails just above and around Philipsburg. The maintained Ridgeline Trail just above our town park is also open to mountain bikers - just watch out for the hikers you’ll be sharing the trail with.
Discovery Ski Area put our town on the map for winter recreationalists in 2013 when National Geographic named Philipsburg as one of North America’s “Best Secret Ski Towns.”
With 2,200 acres of skiable area, a summit elevation of 8,158 feet, and a vertical drop of 2,388 feet, “Disco” gets about 215 inches of annual snowfall and draws skiers and snowboarders to its slopes from Thanksgiving through to April.
Click here for information on tickets, rentals and lessons, as well as the latest conditions.
Cross-country skiers will also find groomed trails at the volunteer-maintained Echo Lake trail system, en route to Discovery Ski Area.