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
Snowmobiling in the high country.
Grab your kayak or canoe and fish on the rivers or reservoirs.
Dave hunting in the high country.
The Clark Fork River looking east toward Plains.
Llama Packing into the back country.
See the boat races on Noxon Reservoir.
The Thompson Falls Golf Course provides scenic views of the Clark Fork River.
Enjoying the fall colors by air.
Snowmobiling in the high country.
Elk in Thompson Falls area.
The Thompson Falls Dam on the Clark Fork River.
Take a hike to the island and over the High Bridge in Thompson Falls.
The Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival is fun for the whole family.
The Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival happens every fall.
Dave's son fishes on the Thompson Falls Reservoir.
See the Fish Ladder and the town from the island in Thompson Falls.
Thompson Falls Dam and Reservoir.
You can grow cherries, apples, plums, peaches, grapes, and much more here!
Fourth of July in Thompson Falls features a parade.
If you look closely, you may just catch a glimpse of a mountain goat perched on the mountainside.
Deer can be found in your backyard.
Catch a glimpse of a fawn in the tall grass.
A herd of elk in a mountain valley.
Bighorn Sheep are a typical sight on Highway 200.
The Sanders County Fair in Plains, MT.
The Cabinet Mountain Wilderness.
Hike to the beautiful Rock Creek Waterfall.
A rainbow is seen with Thompson Falls in the background from Driveway Peak in the fall.
Dave and Gloria with the '80 Corvette at the Thompson Falls Car Show.
The Thompson Falls Car Show--you'll be sure to see some neat cars go by on Highway 200.
Fun off roading!
Flat Iron Ridge glows in the morning sun.
Snowmobiling is a fun family activity.
Snowmobilers assemble at the warming hut.
Dave snowmobiling in the mountains.
Dave having fun with his family in the snow!
Snowmobile Poker Run.
Snowmobiling in the mountains.
Cabin Lake near the Thompson River.
Dave rock jumping on his snowmobile.
Dave Elk Hunting in the high country.
Elk Lake in the Fall.
Windswept Eddy Peak Lookout during the winter.
Eddy Peak Lookout in the Summer.
Looking towards Plains from Eddy Peak.
Wanless Lake near Trout Creek.
Cube Iron Peak near Thompson Falls, MT.