An Overview of Dillon, Montana
I came to Dillon, Montana for one reason only, to visit a very dear friend of mine—otherwise I can’t imagine it being on my radar as a place I had to go. While I enjoyed my time there in the quaint little town, Dillon is more a place for raising families than attracting tourists. For some travelers, that might actually have great appeal.
It’s always fun to check out small towns that are off the beaten path. And, there is no question that Dillon has its charm. From wonderfully restored homes, to a satellite college campus embracing its past, to a moderately delightful downtown.
Staying in Dillon after visiting some much smaller towns in Montana got me thinking about something—if you look at communities like Red Lodge for example, they have a very vibrant town with great restaurants, nice lodging choices and plenty of activities. I used to live in a smaller community that must have loved mediocrity. We had mediocre restaurants, lodging, etc. I see similarities between where I used to live, and Dillon, Montana.
This got me thinking…why are towns like Red Lodge and Dillon so different? Dillon is much bigger than Red Lodge (albeit still very small itself), why do they not have the same quality restaurants as Red Lodge, the same quality lodging choices? Clearly a place like Red Lodge caters to the demands of the tourist, where a place like Dillon caters more to the people who live there. This begs the question, why do some communities embrace mediocrity, while other rebel against it? I know I digress from the subject at hand to a more philosophical, however part of “Mike’s Road Trip” is one of self-discovery and I hope to occasionally challenge the status quo. We all need to think about who we want to be when we grow up.
Dillon has a population of 4000 and is located in Montana’s Gold West Country. It began its early days as an important shipping destination from Utah to the gold fields of Montana. The Northern Railroad reached Dillon in the 1880s. The rich agriculturally valley was a welcomed place for Sheep ranching—at one time Dillon was the largest wool producer in Montana. The first cattle were brought to the valley in 1865 and they continue to play a major role in Dillon’s development. La Cense Beef is a local ranch producing 100% grass-fed beef direct to the consumer, competing head-to-head with the more well-known, Omaha Steaks.
No matter where you are in Montana you can expect great scenery and plenty to do. In Dillon there are several nearby lakes and rivers to fish, or perhaps check out the Beaverhead County Museum or a historic walking tour. There are also Lewis & Clark trail sites near Dillon including, Camp Fortunate, Clark’s Lookout and Beaverhead Rock.