St Ignatius, Montana
Mission Mountain Valley
St Ignatius is a small community of just under 800 people, located on the Flathead Indian Reservation, about 40 miles from Missoula. The small town originally began as the St Ignatius Mission, founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1854 after multiple requests by the Flathead Indians. The Mission is now most famous for its beautiful church, which contains 58 hand-painted biblical murals.
This small Montana community is nestled at the foot of the stunning Mission Mountains, where jagged peaks rise 7000 ft from the valley floor, to an elevation of 9880 ft. at McDonald Peak. The mountain views are some of the most spectacular in Montana, aside from Glacier National Park.
The valley floor runs along the foot of the Mission Range, and offers rich farmland and a beautiful contrast to the majestic mountain peaks.
To the east of St Ignatius lies the National Bison Range, an 18,500 acre range established in 1908 as a wildlife refuge area to help preserve the American buffalo. The area consists of grassy prairies, forests, and wetlands and is home to 350-500 bison. Elk, deer, black bears, and other wildlife can also be found. The area also hosts a variety of birds, ducks, and geese. The National Bison Range features several auto tours, short walking trails, a visitor center, and a picnic area with barbecue grills, water, and toilet facilities.
If you're interested in Montana Indian museums, be sure to stop and see the Doug Allard Flathead Indian Museum and Trading Post. These destinations are located along the highway across from the town.
The museum contains a nice collection of authentic Native American art and artifacts, primarily from the Flathead and Kootenai tribes. The Trading Post, located in the same building, offers a large selection of beautiful gifts.
The Huckleberry Jam Factory is located next to the Trading Post, and offers a variety of Montana huckleberry gifts and food items.
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