Butte is one of the major towns in Montana, with a population of 34,000. In its heyday between the late 19th century and about 1920, it was one of the largest and most notorious copper boomtowns in the American West, home to hundreds of saloons and a famous red-light district.


It used to be Montana's largest city, but has dwindled in size and importance along with the state's mining industry. The essence of the town is summed up by the sign on the northern approach from the I-15:

The "greatest mining camp on earth" built on "the richest hill in the world". That hill, which has produced over two billion dollars worth of gold, silver, copper and zinc is literally honeycombed with drifts, winzes and stopes that extend beneath the city. There are over 3000 miles of workings and shafts reach a depth of 4000 feet.

This immediate country was opened as a placer district in 1864. Later Butte became a quartz mining camp and successively opened silver, copper and zinc deposits.

Butte has a most cosmopolitan population derived from the four corners of the world. She was a bold, unashamed, rootin', tootin' hell-roarin' camp in days gone by and still drinks her liquor straight.

Get in

Butte is right along I-90 between Deer Lodge and Whitehall, and also at the intersection with the I-15 highway.

Bert Mooney Airport is 3 miles southeast of the CBD. Delta, through Delta Connection, is the only airline and has daily flights to and from Salt Lake City International Airport. Be aware that if visibility is too low to land in poor weather, flights may divert to Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, MT.

Get around


Our Lady of the Rockies






Butte is known for the food of its Irish-influenced mining heritage. Pasties are a meat potato and onion mix, enclosed in a semicircle of pastry dough with a crimped edge, served baked smothered with brown gravy. Miners used their helmet candles to heat the self-contained meal down in the shaft below Butte. The crimped edge was used to handle the pastry with dirty hands, then discarded at the end of the meal. (You should go ahead and eat it if you haven't been working in the mine) Pasties are served locally at restaurants with two (Joe's and Nancy's) giving them top billing.

Butte has a selection of fine dining establishments








Go next

Routes through Butte

Great Falls Helena  N  S  Dillon Idaho Falls
Missoula Deer Lodge  W  E  Three Forks Bozeman
END  W  E  Jct S Three Forks

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