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Teton County Montana

Teton County sits in the northwest part of the Central Montana tourism region, nestled close to the Rocky Mountain Front. Land area of the county totals 2,293 square miles with 20 square miles covered by water. The county, with a population of 6,073, has six communities including Bynum, Choteau, Dutton, Fairfield, Pendroy and Power. Choteau is the county seat and the largest community in the county.

Grain crops of wheat and barley are predominant along with lentils, peas and oilseed crops. Cattle and sheep ranching are also a large part of the economy in Teton County.

The town of Choteau, located on US Hwy 89, is often referred to as the Gateway to Recreation with its access to the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Choteau was named for French fur trader and explorer Pierre Chouteau, Jr., changing the spelling slightly. He was a well-traveled trader and explorer in Montana and nearby Chouteau County is also named for him. Choteau’s Old Trail Museum, open seasonally, is on the Montana Dinosaur Trail and is a must-see. Area history, both cultural and natural, is showcased here along with a 3D version of Maiasaura, Montana’s official state fossil. The grassy areas surrounding the Old Trail Museum have full size dinosaur replicas ready to greet visitors (and a great photo op). American novelist A. B. Guthrie lived here and the museum features a tribute to him along with displays of local Metis culture. In the middle of Choteau, US Hwy 89 becomes Main Avenue and splits and circles the Teton County Courthouse (on the National Register of Historic Places). Overlooking Choteau on the east edge of town is the Choteau Country Club golf course, open to the public, with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountain Front and the rolling grasslands.

Bynum is located north of Choteau, also on US Hwy 89. The town is home to a one-room school, an agate shop, bar/restaurant (their ceiling is covered with dollar bills), and Two Medicine Dinosaur Center. Two Medicine, also on the Montana Dinosaur Trail, is an excellent facility devoted to paleontology with displays, geologic information and a bone prep area. Hands-on field digs are offered by Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, with many taking place in nearby areas.

Dutton and Power are in the eastern part of Teton County and both are known for the wheat and barley produced in surrounding fields.

Fairfield is dubbed the Malting Barley Capital of the World. Driving in to Fairfield on US Hwy 89 you see towering silver grain bins, most filled with barley for use in brewing beer. Golfers enjoy playing 9 holes at Harvest Hills Golf Course on the southern edge of Fairfield.

Pendroy sits about a mile east of Hwy 89 and is surrounded by grain fields. Summer fields can turn the views colorful as canola and flax crops mature.

Many Teton county agricultural producers thrive because of the Greenfields Irrigation district which provides water to 139,000 acres of cropland. Gibson Dam, in Sun River Canyon, was constructed in 1929 and created the irrigation possibilities.

Recreation opportunities are year round in Teton County. Teton Pass is 35 miles west of Choteau with an elevation of 7,400 feet with hiking, X-C skiing and snowmobiling nearby. Wildlife viewing sites throughout the county offer unparalleled birdwatching and also chances for sighting mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, white-tailed and mule deer. Hikers are challenged by Antelope Butte, Castle Reef, Ear Mountain (Outstanding Natural Area), Choteau Mountain, Mount Drouillard, Mount Frazier, Mount Patrick Gass (3 members of the Lewis & Clark Expedition had mountains named after them), Mount Werner, Mount Wright, Old Baldy, Old Man of the Hills, Teton Peak and more. Pine Butte Swamp Preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy, is located just west of Choteau. Area guest ranches include Deep Canyon Guest Ranch and Triple J Wilderness Ranch. A Lazy H Outfitters and 7 Lazy P Outfitters provide horseback pack trips and scenic rides.

Fishing, including fly fishing, bait fishing and ice fishing, can be found at Bynum and Eureka Reservoirs, Gibson Dam, the Sun River and Teton Rivers, Arod Lake and Pishkun Reservoir.

Teton County Montana Map

County Facts

  • Estimated Population: 6,226
  • Land Area in Square Miles: 2,272.38
  • Persons Per Square Mile: 2.7