Bear Paw Mountains
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Blaine County Montana

Blaine County borders the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and is bisected by US Hwy 2 running east to west. A US/Canada port of entry, north of Turner, facilitates easy access for cross border traffic.

Farming and ranching are the backbone of Blaine County with cattle, sheep and small grain crops such as wheat and barley being most common.

The Milk River flows near Chinook and Harlem, and the Missouri River forms the southern boundary of the county. Rolling prairies meet the island ranges of the Bear Paw Mountains and the Little Rockies. A portion of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is also in Blaine County. The McClelland Ferry, operated seasonally, carries traffic across the Missouri River in southern Blaine County.

Sixteen miles south of Chinook is the Bear Paw Battlefield, a unit of the Nez Perce National Historic Park. The Battlefield has interpretative panels and trails and a park ranger is on duty in the summer months. Markers show where deaths occurred during the last major Indian battle in the United States but the remainder of the battlefield has not been disturbed.

Chinook has two museums – the Blaine County Museum is one of the facilities on the Montana Dinosaur Trail. It also has area homestead history and Native American displays. A video played at the museum describes the Nez Perce battle south of Chinook and gives details of their attempted flight which ended 40 miles from freedom. The Wildlife Museum portrays over 200 wildlife species in their natural habitat and is also a must-see for visitors to the area. Both museums are located on Chinook’s main street.

Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is located near Harlem. Two tribes, the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine, live here. Visitors to the area are welcomed at two pow wows, Milk River Indian Days in July and the Hays Pow Wow held in August.

There used to be a sugar beet factory in Chinook where tons of sugar beets were processed each year. Today, very few beets are raised in Chinook and the factory is closed. The name lives on as the high school’s team name and the beet-growing era is commemorated with an annual Sugar Beet Festival in the fall. Other annual events include the Bear Paw Roundup Rodeo in late June and the Blaine County Fair mid July.

Big game hunting and upland game bird hunting are prime activities in the fall throughout Blaine County.

Blaine County Montana Map

Communities

Attractions

Events

  • Montana Seed Show (Harlem, March)
  • Bear Paw PRCA Rodeo (Chinook, June)
  • Blaine County Fair (Chinook, July)
  • Milk River Indian Days (Fort Belknap, July)
  • Fort Belknap Midwinter Fair
  • Hays Pow Wow (Hays, August)
  • Sugarbeet Festival (Chinook, September)

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County Facts

  • Estimated Population: 6,683
  • Land Area in Square Miles: 4,227.55
  • Persons Per Square Mile: 1.5