Belt Montana

Elevation: 3,599 Population: 537 County: Cascade

Settled as a coal camp by Finnish and Slavic immigrants, today Belt is better known for its beer than its coal. In the heart of Montana's grain country, and kept lush by wells and streams supplying some of the world's finest water, it comes as little surprise that Belt has attracted the attention of makers of fine craft beers. In their beers-especially the famous Pig Ass Porter, Charlie Russell Red and Beltian White-Harvest Moon Brewery has captured the pure, fresh essence of the Belt area. The Belt Museum captures another essence of Belt, the history. Housed in the old town jail, the Belt Museum includes a jail cell, a coal mine exhibit, records, photos, and the work of local artists. During the 1890s, Belt was home to several talented Finnish carpenters and architects, and their works dot the Belt Commercial Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places. Belt hosts an annual rodeo spanning three days and attracting competitors from across the west.

Belt gets its unusual name from nearby Belt Butte, a mountain with a belt of rocks encircling it. The Highwood Mountains and Little Belt Mountains offer a number of hiking and biking opportunities, including Sluice Boxes State Park, where Belt Creek slices through Belt Creek Canyon. Check with the Belt Creek Ranger Station for recreation details.

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