Location: Highways 2 and 37; 35 miles from Idaho; 65 miles south of the United States-Canadian border; 90 miles from Kalispell. Greater Libby Area Population: 10,800. Visitor Information: Libby Area Chamber of Commerce, 905 W. 9th Street, PO Box 704, Libby, Montana 59923; Phone: (406) 293-4167; Website: www.libbychamber.org and www.libbymt.com
Libby is located in the scenic Kootenai River Valley in some of the most beautiful rugged terrain in northwest Montana. This friendly community is surrounded by the picturesque Cabinet Mountain Range and the sizeable Kootenai National Forest, which provide extensive recreational lands for public use. Maps of the forest are available, and visitors are encouraged to make use of them whether the planned outing is for a one-hour hike to a glacial lake or a rugged overnight backpacking trip.
The Kootenai River offers outstanding Kokanee salmon fishing, along with boating and camping at popular Lake Koocanusa. A private marina and several public boat launching facilities are available for visitor convenience. At Libby Dam, located 17 miles north on Highway 27, take time for one of the tours offered several times a day in the summer from the interactive Visitor’s Center and bring a lunch to enjoy in the nice picnic area. The state record rainbow trout was caught at Libby Dam, weighing 33.1 pounds.
Spectacular Kootenai Falls, the last undammed falls on a major river in the Northwest, may be viewed from the lookout on Highway 2, 13 miles west of Libby. The falls may also be viewed from the north shore by crossing the famed swinging bridge. Expert kayakers travel from around the world to test their skills here.
Libby Dam, Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River have all been designated “Watchable Wildlife” viewing sites by the state of Montana. Bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, elk, moose, bald eagles, osprey, black and grizzly bears are frequently seen.
The Bull Lake Recreation Area, located between Libby and Troy off Hwy 56, offers camping, boating, swimming, and water skiing. Just beyond Bull Lake, the turnoff for Ross Creek Giant Cedars Scenic Area leads to a lush hideaway with a self-guided nature trail and picnic area.
A tour of the Heritage Museum is a must. The exhibits portray the various peoples that made this area what it is today. Next, try your hand at prospecting. The Libby Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area gives visitors a chance to pan for gold. Visit the US Forest Service office in town for details about gold panning and other adventures in the Kootenai National Forest.
Golfers will enjoy a round at the well-kept 18-hole Cabinet View Country Club. Winter fun includes the “steep, deep and cheap” slopes at Turner Mountain Ski Resort, located 22 miles up Pipe Creek Road.
Family attractions include Logger Days in June and the PRCA Kootenai River Rodeo held the last week in July at J. Neils Park on Hwy 37. ‘Ignite the Nites’ Car Show in August is another popular summer activity, with a neon lights contest, burn-out contest, flame throwing contest and over 200 entries. Nordicfest in September is always a huge hit. Each Mother’s Day weekend, Libby, Troy and the Yaak host STOKR: The Scenic Tour of the Kootenai River, a two-day bicycle tour and fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity.
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