A Weekend in Libby, Montana

 Submitted by Anonymous | Published: February 24, 2022

Small town exploring has become one of my favorite hobbies. Yes, the cities are exciting with the hustle and bustle, fancy hotels, and prestigious restaurants, but at some point I realized that vacationing to a city wasn’t giving me the “R&R” I was looking for. Thankfully, residing in the Pacific Northwest has allowed me to easily travel to dozens of small towns. While each has their own character and charm, nothing has compared to Libby, Montana. 

I first visited Libby in the late summer of 2019 on a trip to Glacier National Park with my sister. While we were excited to see the famous swinging bridge along the way, we hadn’t planned to spend time in the Libby area. I’ve seen several photos of the bridge and falls online, but the river was so vibrant in color and the falls were so stunning; we were in too much awe to leave. By the time we made it back to our car, the sun was setting and our hopes to make it to Whitefish that evening were diminishing. 

We made our short trip from the falls to Libby and stopped at the first hotel insight, the Sandman Motel. We were welcomed by the friendliest staff and were surprised by their clear enthusiasm and love for the area. The man at the hotel gave us a brief history lesson and said we better not leave town without seeing more of the area’s attractions. We learned so much about Libby in the 10 minutes that it took to check in, we were already extending our trip and adding a night in town. 

The next day we woke up before daylight, grabbed a hot coffee from the local drive thru, and headed for the Ross Creek Cedar grove. The early morning light gleamed over the jutting peaks of the Cabinet Mountains as we made our journey down Highway 56.That alone was a sight I will never forget. To no surprise, the cedar grove was impeccable! We spent our morning walking the most beautiful trail through the massive, ancient cedar trees, hopped over tiny creek beds, adventured off trail, and even found a rock garden that I’m still convinced was placed by fairies. After the cedars, we made our trek to Highway 37, where the Libby Dam is. I have seen dams all over the country, but what makes this one special is the people who operate it and their love for the history behind it. Susan at the Dam Visitor Center was amazing; she took us on a full tour of the dam (we even got to see the powerhouse!). But before we knew it, several hours had passed and it was already time to head back to town.

Since our time was running out, we thought we better get a souvenir to remember this magical trip,so we went downtown Libby in search of gift shops. We didn’t find any old generic gift shop, we found something much better! Rocky Mountain Music & Collectables caught our eye right away, so we had to stop. Not only was the woman at the front desk incredibly sweet, she showed us Montana sapphires, which we learned was the state gem. Needless to say, my sister and I now have matching Montana sapphires. 

Our last stop in Libby was at the Cabinet Mountain Brewery that evening, and it sure was the best way to end the trip. As I sat there munching on an incredible Reuben, sipping a local IPA, and enjoying the live music, I promised myself I would be back very soon. What originally was supposed to be a stop in Libby and a weekend in Glacier National Park, turned into a weekend in Libby and less than a day in the park. And I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.

Libby Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Info Center
905 West 9th St. | Libby, Montana 59923
    (406) 293-4167 | info@libbychamber.org

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