Swan Valley, Montana - Mountain Living

The Swan Valley owes its heritage to various historical influences. The area once served as ancient hunting and gathering ground for several Montana tribes. The remnants of old Indian trails exist till this day. Timeworn trapper cabins and early structures from the homestead era are scattered across the valley from the mid-1910s and later. A number of Forest Service ranger stations and buildings can be found across the Valley. The logging days strongly influenced the Valley and have given way to its “checkerboard” appearance from the air and left behind a number of old sawmills. Outfitters and lodges from the early dude ranches can be found about the Valley.

From a geographical perspective the Valley begins at Swan Lake and proceeds south to the summit which separates the Seeley and Swan Valleys. The west side is bounded by the Mission Mountains which rise up into the Mission Mountain Wilderness. To the east the Swan Mountains rise into the famous Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Key communities include Swan Lake to the north, Salmon Prairie in the center, and Condon to the south.

Aside from the wilderness areas, the majority of the Valley is publically accessible through areas managed by the Flathead National Forest, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the Plumb Creek Timber Company. Complementing the open accessibility, the Valley is exceptional in that it is home to an extraordinary number of glacially-derived wetland including lakes, rivers, ponds and other forms of wetland. Far more when compared to other valleys about Montana. In turn the area boasts an amazing and unique array of wildlife such as black bear, grizzly bear, deer, elk, moose, mountain lion, lynx, wolverine, wolves, loons, and eagles.

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