Philipsburg, MT, Activities
Philipsburg, Montana, is located about 30 minutes off of I-90, southeast of Missoula, Montana or west of Butte, Montana, and offers a wide range of activities for visitors and residents alike. Known as an 18th century mining town, the area is rich in history but offers much more than mining these days. Silver mining originally brought this town to life back in the late 1860s and while sapphire mining is still a main attraction (you can mine your own valuable Montana sapphires while visiting Philipsburg), there is much to do while visiting the area.
Lots of things to do in Philipsburg:
In town, you'll find local merchants cheerful and accommodating with a broad range of merchandise. Eating, drinking, antique hunting and Montana sapphire mining can all be done in downtown Philipsburg, MT. If you don't want to mine for your own Montana sapphires, check with the local jewelry stores for a beautiful piece of Montana sapphire jewelry already completed, or check one of the other gift shops in Philipsburg to remember your Montana vacation.
During the summer months, live theatre is shown at The Opera House and occasional concerts on held at Winninghoff Park - an outdoor amphitheater. Lodging comes in all shapes and styles, including a 5 star Dude Ranch, themed suite Bed and Breakfasts, ranger cabins for rent in the woods or find a quiet spot by the river for your tent or RV. It's your experience, we offer something for everyone.
While mining your own valuable Montana sapphires and other valuable gemstones and precious metals is the activity Philipsburg, Montana is known for, there are many other things to do indoors or out when you visit Philipsburg. If you like the outdoors, boating, birding, and hiking are great in the area. For the sportsmen, fishing and hunting opportunities abound. For history buffs, check out the nearby ghost towns and historic mines - some you need to hike or ski in, others you can drive to (seasonally).
Here are some of the many fair-weather activities available in and around Philipsburg:
- Blue ribbon fly fishing
- Sapphire mining
- Lake fishing
- Treasure hunting
When the seasons change, you don't need to pack it in in Philipsburg, MT. Anywhere you can hike in the summer you can snowshoe or cross country ski during the winter, and there are many trails open to snowmobiles. In addition, with the coming of the snow, Discovery Ski area opens up for all you snowboarders and alpine skiers (that's downhill skiing). And that Montana sapphire mining? There's indoor opportunities for that too! Of course, there are also unique Montana gift shops and antique shops open for your shopping enjoyment. And, of course, don't forget to stop in for dinner at one of our restaurants and a nice night in a warm and beautiful hotel or bed and breakfast.
These are among the winter-time activities in and near Philipsburg:
- Downhill (Alpine) Skiing
- Cross Country (Nordic) Skiing
Fun things to do while in Philipsburg:
- Gem Mountain
- The Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine is located about 20 miles outside of Philipsburg on the Skalkaho highway. Enjoy the outdoors as you wash and sort through your bucket of gravel and find local sapphires - open seasonally during the warmer months of the year. Gem Mountain also has a gift store in Philipsburg, MT, which is open all year and offers sapphire mining indoors.
- Opal Mountain Gems
- Mine Montana sapphires and other gems outdoors using the running water flume. Located in downtown Philipsburg, MT, this store offers thunder-egg and geode cutting, gem mining, and a wonderful jewelry store. The flume in their yard is a great place for you to sort your Montana sapphire gravel purchased here on beautiful Philipsburg summer days.
Other Montana sapphire stores and galleries in Philipsburg offer additional opportunities for Montana sapphire mining, beautiful Montana sapphire jewelery, and purchase of loose Montana sapphires for your own settings. You don't have to drive any rough roads or brave the elements to mine your Montana sapphires at various year-round Philipsburg sapphire mining operations. Friendly staff members at these local Montana sapphire mining establishments will help you evaluate your gemstones and determine which are worth heat treating and cutting, and give you options for use of the other stones as well. Be sure to check out all the Montana sapphire mining opportunities when you visit Philipsburg, Montana.
- Granite County Museum
- Spend some time in this fun museum that provide a great overview of the silver mining operations that took place during the late 19th century. You'll see real mining equipment, old photos, a miner's cabin, and have a chance to walk into a realistic simulation of an actual mine. Other exhibits at Granite County Museum focus on pioneer and homestead era history.
- Granite Ghost Town
- Gold and silver mining by nature is a boom & bust industry, leaving Montana with many ghost towns to explore. Not far from the heart of Philipsburg, MT, lies Granite Ghost Town, located about 4 miles up a rough mountain road that's open seasonally. Currently managed by the Montana's State Park System, this ghost town still holds the remains of the Miner's Union Hall, Granite Mine Superintendent's House and miner housing. Granite Ghost Town is open during the warm months after the road is cleared of winter snow.
- Tower Town
- A small plaque next to a large tailing pile lets you know you've reached what used to be another small mining community just east of Philipsburg. You'll see remnants of mining shacks and foundations of old buildings along this back road. Named after Charlemagne Tower, this town had 2 boom and bust cycles - the first spurred by gold in the 1870's, the second by manganese ending in 1940. Tower is a class C mining town.
Philipsburg is home to many wonderful and diverse shops. You'll find a famous candy emporium offering Montana's best hand made candies, several antique stores, jewelry stores (including Montana sapphire specialists) and everything in between. Whether you're looking for a souvenir of your Montana vacation, Montana sapphire jewelry, Montana and western art, opportunities to mine for your own Montana sapphires, top-quality, hand-made candies and chocolates, or mysterious antiques that tell their own stories, Philipsburg has the shop to meet your needs.
Opera House Theatre:
Built in 1891, this historic theatre has been restored and now offers a variety of fun performances each summer. The Opera House Theatre Company specializes in comedic plays and a vaudeville-style variety show.
With several lakes and streams in Philipsburg, MT and the surrounding area, you'll find the perfect place to go fishing.
Camping & RV Parks
- Boulder Creek Lodge, Cabins & RV Park
- Cable Mountain Campground
- Copper Creek Campground
- East Fork Campground
- Flint Creek Campground
- Lodgepole Campground
- Philipsburg Bay Campground
- Piney Campground
- Siria Campground
- Spillway Campground
- Spring Hill Campground
- Stony Campground
- Stuart Mill Bay Fishing Access Site
- The Inn at Philipsburg