Last week I was on the Kings Hill Scenic Byway, a beautiful 71 mile stretch of US Hwy 89 from a bit east of Belt to almost White Sulphur Springs.
The US Forest Service gave this road the scenic byway designation and, besides scenic beauty, there is a good variety of history here.
Mining history – remnants still remain near the small towns of Monarch and Neihart.
Transportation history – a train once traveled almost parallel to Belt Creek. The highway follows Belt Creek for many miles.
Work history – the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps worked in this area as part of a public work relief program called The New Deal which ran from 1933 – 1942. If you are at the Belt Creek Ranger Station an interpretive panel tells more about this. Look on the mountainside opposite the ranger station and you’ll see the CCC letters.
Today, Monarch and Neihart serve recreationists and travelers. Each town has lodging and dining. The Lewis and Clark National Forest lies on both sides of US Hwy 89 and forest service campgrounds are just off both sides of the highway.
Belt Creek, well, it’s a great little fishing stream for the persistent fly fisherman. You’ll probably have to untangle some fishing line after a few casts but that catch is worth it!
More trivia – you’ll cross over Kings Hill Pass near the turn for Showdown Ski Area. Kings Hill is the highest elevation pass in Montana that is maintained year round.
Enough facts and figures – ithe Kings Hill Scenic Byway is a great year-round drive.
Take your camera, take your time, enjoy the drive.