Chinook Montana

Elevation: 2,411 Population: 1,225 County: Blaine

The tree-lined streets of Chinook offer a pleasant stop while journeying on US Hwy 2, dubbed Montana's Hi-Line. Chinook features parks, a municipal pool and a number of community events including a popular Sugarbeet Festival. While in Chinook, be sure to visit the Blaine County Museum. The museum chronicles the history of the area with emphasis on Assiniboine and Gros Ventre cultures, Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce, as well as the Homestead Era. As a stop on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, the museum also includes a variety of fossils, including a "Look, Touch, and Wonder" room which invites visitors to handle fossils of creatures that once roamed the area. The Blaine County Wildlife Museum displays many of the creatures that now call the Chinook area home.

Sixteen miles south of Chinook, the Bear Paw Battlefield commemorates the last major Indian battle in the United States. After an epic 1,700 mile journey across Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce finally surrendered in 1877 at the what is now the Bear Paw Battlefield. The Blaine County Museum in Chinook serves as the interim visitor center for the battlefield. The museum features Nez Perce and military artifacts and the audio visual display "40 Miles to Freedom," recounting the story of the battle.

The name "Chinook" comes from an Indian word meaning "warm wind" and refers to the brief, warm winds that sweep through the region during winter, melting snow and raising temperatures.

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