02 October 2010

Pintler Scenic Loop-Philipsburg, Montana

On our way home from Yellowstone I got the bright idea to make a stop at Anaconda. I'd not been there before and it is a scant six miles from I-90. I also, had been curious about the Pintler Scenic Loop. The stop required and overnight stay in order to work the "loop" in.

Finding an RV park was my first challenge. I soon found that there is not much choice in that department plus things are starting to  shut down in Montana as the tourists skedaddle. One place I tried, that was listed in the Montana Travel Planner was really a mobile home park and not at all the type of place we were interested in. Poor Clem (that's our Winnebago View) almost got her noggin knocked off. The manager told me to turn around in a tiny space that took us under a big willow.  After I had Shadow (that's the tow car) jacked knifed up against Clem's bumper I jumped out to see if we would clear the branches. I had stopped just in time. Another foot and Clem would have been clocked. The manager had to get up on the roof and pull branches up as we crept under the tree. Egad Gertrude! That was a close one.

We ended up at Fairmont Hot Springs. In addition to the hotel there is a nice RV park right next door. By the time we got set up that was it for me, poured myself a tall one and popped in a DVD.

Next morning off we went to do the Pintler Scenic Loop. It doesn't happen very often that the scenery in Montana lets me down but this was certainly one of those times. If you start from Anaconda the first thing you'll get to is the Georgetown Reservoir. It's not particularly pretty. It looks like a reservoir. Sadly, the trees are infested with some pestilence and the needles are turning an ugly telltale red. The future of this forest does not look at all good to me.

Georgetown Reservoir
 It also looks like, during the boom time, a number of people thought this might be the place to build upscale lodges. Many of those are for sale or have had construction just stopped.

The little town of Philipsburg is on this route and if you like to visit quaint little western towns it's about the only reason to take this drive. In fact, I have a suspicion that somewhere along the way some palms were greased to get the road designated as a "Scenic Route" so that people would come this way otherwise it might have died.

Philipsburg Wildlife


Kaiser House-Philipsburg

There was very little on this route of interest to me. In fact I think route would be a better term than loop because if you take the "loop" you'll have a very long drive. I clocked about 135 miles with half of that on I-90. But, if you are going up or down I-90 and have time for the diversion you might want to check out Philipsburg, exit I-90 at Drummond if you are headed south or Anaconda if you are headed north. I definitely do not recommend the "loop".

If it's beautiful scenery you're looking for, ironically, you're much better  off staying right on I-90. The Clark Fork River runs along beside it and there is some awesome landscape to be seen between Drummond and Anaconda, I mean truly beautiful.

Now after all that carping, I must confess, I think I actually did get one very nice photograph from this excruciating excursion. It was a barn right along side the road about ten miles south of Philipsburg, see what you think.

Pintler Loop-Barn
So, that's my tale of the Pintler Loop. Now I have finally seen it I won't wonder about it anymore. And, I certainly won't be driving it again any time soon.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

1 comment:

Heather said...

I would say the photo of the barn made the trip a success. Although I do like the old buildings too. Very sad that that forest is infested, very sad.