Lost Creek State Park (tel. 406/542-5500), a few miles outside of Anaconda, is a great place to camp, hike, or simply sit and admire the scenery. At the end of the road into the park, a short path will take you to pretty Lost Creek Falls, which tumble over a 50-foot drop. There are also mountain goats and bighorn sheep in residence. Several hiking trails lead off from the road. Among the most interesting things here are the rocks. Exposed on the tops of some cliffs is the 1.3-billion-year-old Newman Formation, a Precambrian rock that's among the oldest exposed rocks in the Lower 48 states. This is a primitive park without services (and without charge). There are 25 campsites, suitable mostly for tents and car campers. To get to the park, drive 1 1/2 miles east of Anaconda on Mont. 1, then 2 miles north on County Road 273, then 6 miles west on Lost Creek Road.
The Old Works, 1205 Pizzini Way, Anaconda (tel. 406/563-5989; www.oldworks.org), is a golf course, a work of landscape art, and a symbol of environmental reclamation. The course is built on a Superfund site that had been a blight on the landscape since 1884, when the upper works began to process 500 tons of copper ore daily under Marcus Daly's voracious eye. By 1887, the lower works were necessary because of the demand. The Old Works closed in 1902, when the new Washoe Smelter -- the big tower you can see from anywhere in the valley -- took over all the processing. Jack Nicklaus designed the golf course, a tough but fair layout that even eight-handicappers are willing to play from the white tees. The black sand traps, the old processing works, and the vast, forbidding black tailings piles are all worked beautifully into the layout of the course. This is one of the finest courses not just in Montana, but in America. To reach the course, which is open from mid-May to the end of October, take Commercial Street to North Cedar Street, turn north, then east (right) on Pizzini Way. Greens fees are $29 to $50 for 18 holes per person, depending on the day of week and time of year; cart rentals are $14 per person.
There's also an 18-hole course ($29-$43) at nearby Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Highland View Golf Course (tel. 406/494-7900), at Stodden Park in Butte, has two separate 9-hole courses: a par 3 ($10) and a regulation ($13).
Spire Rock and the Humbug Spires are the two most popular routes for rock climbers. The Bureau of Land Management (tel. 406/533-7600) can refer guides and provide other climbing information.
From the Continental Divide east of Butte through the mountains to the south, diligent rockhounders can find smoky quartz, amethyst, epidote, and tourmaline. Ask the curator at the Mineral Museum on the Montana Tech campus for leads on local hot spots. The Butte Mineral and Gem Club, P. O. Box 4492, Butte, MT 59702, has mining claims on Crystal Park about 70 miles southwest of Butte that are free and open to the public. From Butte go south on I-15 and west on Mont. 43; just past Wise River, turn south on the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway and drive about 20 miles to Crystal Park.
In addition to Discovery Ski Area, Butte visitors are within range of Maverick Mountain.
Call the Butte office of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (tel. 406/494-2147; www.fs.fed.us/r1/b-d) for information on nearby trails, most of which explore the Georgetown Lake area. The four major trail systems are Carp Ridge, which terminates at the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness boundary; Echo Lake, at the midpoint of Georgetown Lake and Discovery Ski Area; Peterson Meadows, a popular spot for cookouts and picnics; and Red Lion Racetrack Lake, with ridge-top views of surrounding peaks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.