Hamilton Live Cam

A city that serves as the county seat of Ravalli County


Hamilton is a city located in Ravalli County, Montana, United States. It serves as the county seat and is situated in the scenic Bitterroot Valley in western Montana. Here is a brief overview of the history of Hamilton City:

Early History:The Bitterroot Valley, where Hamilton is located, has a rich history that predates European settlement. The area was traditionally inhabited by the Salish people, part of the Flathead Indian Reservation, who lived off the land and engaged in hunting, fishing, and gathering.

Settlement and Founding:In the late 19th century, European-American settlers began arriving in the Bitterroot Valley. The city of Hamilton was founded in 1890 by copper king Marcus Daly, who was one of the wealthiest men in the United States at the time. Daly established Hamilton as a strategic center for his extensive lumber and mining operations in the area.

Growth and Development:Hamilton experienced rapid growth and development in the early 20th century. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1892 and the completion of the Ravalli County Courthouse in 1900 contributed to the city's progress. The timber industry played a significant role in the local economy, with numerous sawmills and logging operations operating in the region.

Agriculture and Industry:The fertile soil of the Bitterroot Valley made it suitable for agricultural activities. As the timber industry declined, agriculture, particularly fruit farming and ranching, became increasingly important to the local economy. Hamilton's location amidst scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities also made it a popular tourist destination.

Modern Era:In recent decades, Hamilton has undergone significant growth and development, with a focus on preserving its historic charm while catering to a growing population. The city has seen an influx of retirees and people seeking a more relaxed pace of life. The economy has diversified, with sectors such as healthcare, education, retail, and tourism playing a prominent role.

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation:Hamilton's proximity to the Bitterroot National Forest, Bitterroot River, and numerous mountain ranges has made it a hub for outdoor recreation. Visitors and residents can enjoy activities like hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, and wildlife viewing. The annual Bitterroot Valley's Western Heritage Days and the Daly Mansion Historic Site are popular attractions in the area.

Today, Hamilton City continues to thrive as a vibrant community that balances its historical roots with modern amenities and a thriving natural environment. It remains an important cultural, economic, and recreational center in western Montana.

Top Tourist Attractions

Hamilton offers a range of attractions that showcase its natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Hamilton City:

  • Daly Mansion: The Daly Mansion is a historic landmark and museum located in Hamilton. Built by copper magnate Marcus Daly in 1890, this grand mansion features 24,000 square feet of living space and offers guided tours that provide insights into the region's history and Daly's influence.
  • Bitterroot Valley: The Bitterroot Valley is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitors can explore the stunning Bitterroot National Forest, hike the Bitterroot Mountains, fish in the Bitterroot River, and enjoy scenic drives along the valley.
  • Blodgett Canyon: Just a few miles southwest of Hamilton, Blodgett Canyon offers breathtaking scenery and fantastic hiking trails. The canyon features towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna, making it a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Lake Como: Located about 10 miles southwest of Hamilton, Lake Como is a serene mountain lake surrounded by lush forests. It offers opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking, as well as scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking.
  • Ravalli County Museum: Situated in the heart of Hamilton, the Ravalli County Museum preserves and showcases the history and culture of Ravalli County. It houses exhibits that highlight the area's Native American heritage, pioneer history, early settlements, and local industries.
  • Hamilton Farmers Market: Every Saturday during the summer months, the Hamilton Farmers Market attracts locals and visitors alike. Here, you can find fresh produce, locally made crafts, baked goods, and more. It's a great place to experience the vibrant community and support local businesses.
  • Golf Courses: Hamilton boasts several golf courses that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Courses like Hamilton Golf Club and Whitetail Golf Course provide challenging play in beautiful settings.
  • Historic Downtown: Strolling through the historic downtown area of Hamilton is a delightful experience. You'll find charming shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes housed in well-preserved buildings that reflect the city's heritage.

These are just a few of the many attractions that make Hamilton City an appealing destination for visitors. Whether you're interested in outdoor adventures, history, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the Bitterroot Valley, Hamilton has something to offer.


Hamilton City experiences a continental climate characterized by distinct seasons. Here's an overview of the climate in Hamilton:

  • Summers (June to August): Summers in Hamilton are warm and pleasant. Average high temperatures range from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28 degrees Celsius). However, temperatures can occasionally reach the 90s Fahrenheit (32+ degrees Celsius). Summer nights are cool, with lows typically in the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius). The season sees relatively low humidity and receives a moderate amount of rainfall.
  • Autumns (September to November): Autumn in Hamilton brings cooler temperatures and changing foliage colors. High temperatures gradually decrease from the 70s to the 50s Fahrenheit (21-10 degrees Celsius) by November. Nights become colder, with temperatures dropping into the 30s to 40s Fahrenheit (0-4 degrees Celsius). Autumn is generally drier than summer, although occasional rainfall occurs.
  • Winters (December to February): Winters in Hamilton are cold and snowy. Daytime temperatures range from the 20s to 40s Fahrenheit (-7 to 4 degrees Celsius), with occasional colder spells. Overnight lows often dip below freezing, averaging in the teens to 20s Fahrenheit (-7 to -2 degrees Celsius). Snowfall is common, with Hamilton receiving around 30-40 inches (76-102 cm) of snow annually. Winter months also experience more cloud cover.
  • Springs (March to May): Spring in Hamilton brings milder temperatures as the season progresses. Highs gradually increase from the 40s to the 60s Fahrenheit (4-15 degrees Celsius) by May. Nights remain chilly, with temperatures ranging from the 20s to 40s Fahrenheit (-7 to 4 degrees Celsius). Spring is a transition period, with some variability in weather patterns. It can be windy at times, and rainfall gradually increases.

It's important to note that weather conditions can vary from year to year, and extreme temperature fluctuations are possible, particularly during transitional seasons. It's advisable to check the local weather forecast before planning outdoor activities in Hamilton.

  • Location: Hamilton is located in Ravalli County, which is in the southwestern part of Montana. It lies approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Missoula, the state's second-largest city.
  • Topography: The city is nestled within the Bitterroot Valley, which runs north to south between the Bitterroot Mountain Range to the west and the Sapphire Mountain Range to the east. The Bitterroot River flows through the valley, adding to the area's picturesque beauty. The surrounding mountains, including Trapper Peak and the Bitterroot Mountains, provide a stunning backdrop to the city.
  • Elevation: Hamilton sits at an elevation of around 3,560 feet (1,085 meters) above sea level. The nearby mountain peaks can reach elevations of over 10,000 feet (3,000 meters).
  • Landforms: The Bitterroot Valley is characterized by fertile agricultural land, meadows, forests, and numerous streams and creeks. The valley floor is relatively flat and provides ample space for farming and residential areas. As you move westward, the terrain becomes more mountainous and rugged.
  • Forests and Wilderness Areas: The Bitterroot National Forest encompasses much of the surrounding area. It is a vast expanse of forested land, offering opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Within the forest, there are designated wilderness areas such as Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, known for their pristine beauty and backcountry adventures.
  • Climate: Hamilton experiences a continental climate with distinct seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant, while winters are cold and snowy. The area receives a moderate amount of precipitation, with snowfall being common during the winter months.

Overall, Hamilton City is blessed with a stunning natural setting, surrounded by mountains, forests, and a picturesque valley. Its location offers residents and visitors a wide range of outdoor recreational activities and scenic beauty to explore.