Hamilton was great… until Hamilton was covered in smoke from the fires in CA and OR. We managed to get in a cuckoo amazing hike, eat some surprisingly good sushi, and hang out at a cool brewery, before the smoke drove us away.
And get new tires on the Airstream! We don’t want to have to change a tire on the side of the road again! (Spoiler: we had to change a tire on the side of a road again.)
We stayed at Black Rabbit RV Park, which is basically a long parking lot, but has some nice trees and grass in back. We had a tiny mountain view out of the corner of our site. It was totally fine though.
I had several hikes earmarked near Hamilton: St Mary Peak, a 7.5 mile hike; Bear Creek Overlook, a 5-mile trek; Blodgett Canyon Overlook for 3 miles; and Ward Mountain, a longer but less crowded trail. Because of the smoke and our early departure, we had time for two hikes. Both the hikes we did are dog-friendly.
When we first got to town we zoomed over to Blodgett Canyon Overlook. It wasn’t too crowded on a Saturday afternoon–only 12ish cars in the lot–and the trail was very popular with dogs. It’s hard to imagine a hike so short having as good a payoff: the overlook at the top of this trail is GORGEOUS. If you’re in Hamilton, do this hike. The light in the canyon may be best in the afternoon.
Day two was crazy smoky. We knew the views would be ruined, but we still hiked St Mary Peak. It was a fun trail despite not being able to see the supposed beautiful vista at the top.
Higherground Brewing was super cool and had delicious beer, but the outdoor area was tiny. Fortunately it was dog-friendly and unpopulated, so we took it over one afternoon for beers and pizza. We three had a good time there, twice–and were especially excited to visit since we’d enjoyed their NE IPA at our outdoor hangout in West Glacier. It’s one of our favorite breweries in Montana.
Bitterroot Brewing wasn’t as good as Higherground, in our opinion, but we were impressed that little Hamilton has two beer options. Dogs are allowed to sit outside.
For a non-beer beverage, we stopped at Little Bear Espresso, a drive-thru hut super close to the campground. It was a lovely energizer for a hike, and it prompted the question: why are there so many roadside coffee huts in Montana?
Our lovely, helpful server in Missoula recommended sushi in Hamilton. What?? Why on Earth would we get sushi in Hamilton, Montana? Well she was right: we got carryout from 2nd Street Sushi and it was phenomenal. Note the super sweet Higherground Thermoflask mini-growler.
J was excited to get a burger from Nap’s Grill. I think he read somewhere that they have the best burger around? It hit the spot for him.
While our new tires were being installed, we took Bugsy to breakfast on the patio at Red Rooster. J and I shared a breakfast burrito and oatmeal, and the friendly server brought cranky B a biscuit. Next time we’ll try the pastries.
We were intrigued by the Thai truck near Bitterroot Brewing, but it was closed the days we were in town. Next time!
That’s how smoky it was the morning we left town! Specks of ashy debris were floating down onto our breakfast. Time to move south!