Ennis, Montana is a small town with a tight-knit community, 60 miles from Bozeman. With a population under 1,000, no stoplights or zoning, it is a town that thrives on recreation and tourism. It is an agricultural community at its core but is most well known for its access to blue-ribbon trout fishing on the Madison River. With the explosive growth in Bozeman, people are looking to the surrounding areas for more affordable housing and to get away from the city. Ennis is becoming one of these options, and for good reason! It might be a small town, but there is plenty to keep you busy.
There are less than 1,000 people that live in Ennis and nearly 20 fly fishing guide shops which gives you an idea of how big fishing is in this town! The Madison River is world-renowned for its blue-ribbon trout fishing and it runs right through Ennis. The Beaverhead River, Jefferson River, Ruby River, and the Big Hole are also nearby giving you plenty of options for fishing. Just outside of town in the Lions Club Park is a stocked kids fishing pond. This is a great place to take the younger kids to get them started early!
With three amazing mountain ranges surrounding Ennis, playing in the mountains is a must. The Madison Range, Tobacco Roots, and Gravelly Range are full of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Gravelly Range is popular with local and visiting hunters, while the Tobacco Roots fill up with hikers, campers, backcountry skiers, and ATV's.
The Madison Meadows Golf Course is a 9-hole, public golf course in a beautiful setting. There is a driving range, practice green, rentals, full-service pro shop, plus tennis courts. It is a links-style course and measures over 3,200 yards from the back tees. Photo credit Madison Meadows Golf Course
For a small town, there is no lack of dining options! As a tourist destination, local businesses in downtown Ennis thrive. Enjoy fine dining at Tavern 287 or grab lunch at the Pic-A-Nic Basket, their sandwiches are the best! If you're looking for a Montana experience, head to the McAllister Steakhouse just outside of town. There are two distilleries, a brewery, and a few good old west saloons. Photo credit the Pic-A-Nic Basket
If you're looking to cool off on a hot summer day or go ice fishing in the winter, there are plenty of lakes nearby! Ennis Lake is the closest and most popular because it's easy to access. It is roughly 2.5 miles long and because it is relatively shallow, warms up in the summer. It's great for fishing or boating and there is a campground along with a few homes on one side of the lake. Around an hour south of Ennis are Cliff and Wade Lakes. We would probably keep these a secret if they hadn't already been discovered because they are so awesome. These beautiful, clear lakes fill up quickly during the summer months with one designated campground and a few dispersed campsites that you can access with a boat. These are no wake lakes, however so you have to paddle! Further south is Henry's Lake, another popular destination. There are many mountain lakes in the surrounding mountain ranges, you'll just have to be adventurous to find these ones!
Yellowstone National Park is 70 miles from Ennis making it an ideal day trip location. Virginia and Nevada City are a quick 15-minute drive. These historic ghost towns give you a chance to explore an old west gold mining town. You can easily make a whole day of it, stopping for lunch at one of the local restaurants and topping it off with ice cream from Cousins Candy Store. Seasonally you can catch the Brewery Follies show, which is a favorite!
The community of Ennis knows how to host an event! They have several annual events that attract locals and tourists. Tap into Ennis Brew & Spirit Fest takes place in the spring, showcasing the local distilleries and brewers. During the summer, the big event is on 4th of July with a car show, parade, rodeo, and fireworks. The Madison Valley Arts Festival has been happening for 25 years and showcases art vendors from the Madison Valley. During the fall is the Hunters Feed. This is a competition for best wild game dishes and takes place right before rifle season opens. And, we can't leave off the Spirit of Christmas Stroll. It just doesn't get much better than a small-town Christmas stroll!
Photo credit Wikipedia
Just 15 minutes away from Ennis is Norris Hot Springs. This has been a local hot spot for years and for good reason. It's a small pool that has live music most weekends and great food. There is a campground on the property, but it's a quick drive from Ennis making day soaks easy. Photo credit Norris Hot Springs
There are several art galleries right in downtown Ennis. You can spend a whole day strolling and taking in the beautiful artwork. For a small town, the artist community is strong with the Ennis Arts Association that has been around since 1972! Photo credit RiverStone Gallery
The Ennis School District is home to the Mustangs! The town support for the small school district is big. There is a grade school /junior high facility and a high school for over 300 students. Throughout the school year, you can catch a football, volleyball or basketball game and cheer on the team. Photo credit The Madisonian
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