The small town of Butte, Montana, is known around the world for its colorful mining history. While Butte's glory days are past, there continue to be many things for visitors to see and do. You can explore the mining history through underground and above ground tours, tour an elegant Victorian mansion, and explore the beautiful scenery on in-town trails and in the mountains.
One of the first things you'll notice upon arriving in Butte is the huge open-pit mine on the hillside. A portion of this old mine forms a deep pit, now filled with almost 1000 feet of nasty toxic water. Berkeley Pit is both a Superfund site and a popular visitor attraction. A viewing platform overlooks the toxic lake, allowing you to get a good look while you learn more about its history (for a small ticket price).
Butte Trolley Tours provide 2-hour trips narrated by local experts highlighting Butte's fascinating history. Along the way, you'll see gracious mansions and stately public buildings. The trolley makes a brief stop at Berkeley Pit, where you can get out and visit the viewing platform and gift shop. The Trolley Tour departs from the Butte Chamber of Commerce and tickets are available online.
The Copper King Mansion is a large brick Victorian built for William A. Clark, one of Butte's wealthiest copper-mine developers. Much of the original beauty of this 34-room mansion has been preserved, including its chandeliers, fabulous woodwork, stained glass windows, and magnificent furnishings. Guided mansion tours are available seasonally at designated times. The B&B is open year 'round.
Our Lady of the Rockies is a white, 90-foot-tall statue of the Virgin Mary, set high on a hillside overlooking Butte. Completed in 1985, the landmark statue is a memorial to women around the world. You can take a half-day bus tour on a winding mountain road to visit the statue up close. The tours are offered during the summer season, weather permitting. In addition, there is a gift shop in the Butte Plaza Mall which offers an informational video year round.
Butte puts on a variety of special events throughout the year, many celebrating the city's Irish heritage. Events include the March St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, Evil Knievel Days, the Montana Folk Festival in July, and the An Ri Ra Irish Festival in August. Each September, the Covellite International Film Festival hosts over 100 films in the heart of historical Uptown Butte, Montana.
You'll see mining equipment of all kinds at The World Museum of Mining, including strange looking antique machinery and modern haulers. The museum is located on the grounds of the Orphan Girl Mine. You can take an underground mine tour to see the inner workings of the mine. Exhibits include hard rock mining tools, a reconstructed old mining town, and a large collection of minerals.
Old Butte Historical Adventures offers a variety of different walking tours of uptown Butte. With sometimes dramatic narration, the family-friendly walking tours cover every decade from the 1890s through the 1950s. The tour includes stops at the Rookwood Speakeasy and the Old City Jail, both providing an intriguing glimpse into times past.
Butte is located in the Rocky Mountains on the Continental Divide surrounded by four million acres of state and federal land where you can enjoy hiking and biking trails, camping, hunting, fishing and, in winter, skiing and snowmobiling. Not far from Butte, you’ll find such interesting places to explore as the Ringing Rocks, an unusual formation of rocks that chime when tapped with a hammer.