Welcome to Sanders County, Montana

  • Land of FEW PEOPLE -- Where the population is only 1 PERSON for every 4 sq. miles

  • LOW STRESS LIFESTYLE -- NOT a single STOPLIGHT is located in the entire county!

  • COMFORTABLE LIVING -- Mildest climate in Montana but we still have four distinct seasons


Sanders County is primarily a 100 mile long valley cut in half by the beautiful Clark Fork River.  Thompson Falls, the county seat (population 1500), was established in 1885 and named after British explorer and cartographer David Thompson. Thompson, associated with the Hudson Bay Company, built the Saleesh House, just east of the present day town as a fur trading post in 1809. Railroad construction in 1881 and the gold mine rush of 1883 led to the population of the area.

Thompson Falls features a reservoir and hydroelectric dam built in 1917.  It is the county seat of Sanders County and is often referred to as the "banana belt of Montana" since it is usually among the warmest of Montana's weather reporting stations. Typically, summers have highs from 80°- 90°, cooling at night, and winters range averaging about 32° in the day, cooling about 15° at night.  Precipitation averages 23 inches per year.  Click here for our current and extended forecast. Monthly average temperatures provide a great picture of our historic climate.

Montana, the 4th largest state, is one of the least populated states in the U.S. having less than 1 million people. Sanders County was established in 1905 and named after Wilbur Fisk Sanders, pioneer and U.S. Senator.  It is one of the largest counties in Montana and is about 116 miles long and 65 miles wide with approximately 11,000 residents. Over 80% of Sanders County is public forested land managed by the US Forest Service and the Montana Department of State Lands. There are 12 towns in the county including Belknap, Camas Prairie, Dixon, Heron, Hot Springs, and Lonepine. 

Wherever you live in Sanders County, you are just minutes and a few miles from some of the best outdoor activity opportunities in the country.


Thompson Falls is located in Sanders County, 100 miles northwest of Missoula, MT. There is an Elementary, Junior, and High School that serves the area. For more information about Thompson Falls schools, click here. The community of Thompson Falls is nestled in the northwest area of Montana, and boasts Montana’s mildest climate. Accentuation on a low-stress lifestyle, coupled with an out-of-doors setting, is the norm. Here, folks are friendly, deer wander about town, and there is not one stoplight in the whole county! Recreation, from high mountain lake fishing, to golfing, to water sports, to bugling in a trophy bull elk, is at your doorstep. Also, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, horseback riding, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails are available. It is truly a unique area and probably one of only a few left! 

The scenic lands on both sides of our magnificent valley are owned by the federal government and managed by the US Forest Service. Privately owned land in this part of Montana is scarce. If you are interested in owning your own little piece of this incredible part of Montana, Bennett Realty is the right realtor for you!

All of the pictures included here are from the area.

Area Photo Gallery

© 2015 Bennett Realty
Contact Site Administrator
223 Main St West, PO Box 1027, Thompson Falls, MT 59873
Call us at 406.827.4663. Dave's Cell: 406.544.4641
FAX: 406.827.4009

All information is subject to change. Information should be independently verified. 
Site Last Updated: June 22, 2020