If you’re in Missoula and looking for a fun day trip close by, consider the scenic drive to the quaint little town of Philipsburg, Montana.

Located along Montana Highway 1, the historic mountain town of Philipsburg is just 80 miles southwest of Missoula.  Situated just below Discovery ski area, it’s a wonderful destination for anyone traveling through Western Montana.

The area surrounding Philipsburg is geologically rich with large mineral deposits and is located in the heart of sapphire country. While exploring town, stop into one of the many local shops that offer the opportunity to pan for your own Montana sapphires. The nearby mountains also offer opportunities to explore old Montana silver and gemstone mines and the accompanying ghost towns.

Philipsburg is also filled with beautifully restored buildings, antique shops, gift shops, and restaurants. Be sure to stop in and sample the confections at The Sweet Palace, Montana’s most famous handcrafted candy store with its nostalgic Victorian décor and mouth-watering aromas. With dozens of fudge flavors, over 70 flavors of saltwater taffy, 20 flavors of handmade caramels, decadent handmade chocolates, and more, The Sweet Palace is a destination in and of itself. The nearby Philipsburg Brewing Company is a great stop for hand crafted microbrews made with the finest Montana malt and local mountain spring water.

The drive to nearby Georgetown Lake features scenic rock cliffs, beautiful waterfalls, and views of the mountain lake itself. If you venture out and drive the surrounding area, be on the lookout for deer, elk, bald eagles, big horn sheep, and more. Fly fisherman will especially enjoy stopping off at the area’s blue ribbon streams and trying their hand for trout.

If you are traveling to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Philipsburg makes a delightful added destination. Located about three and a half hours from Yellowstone and four hours from Glacier, it’s a wonderful way to spend part of an exploratory day in beautiful western Montana.