For an Authentic Taste of the Old West, Visit Ft. Benton, MT

If you want to experience some authentic wild West history, Ft. Benton, Montana is the place for you.

It is an extremely small town located deep in the mountains of Northern Montana, sits directly on the headwaters of the Missouri River, and is one of the neatest places I have ever visited.

It is also the oldest town in Montana

How We Found Ft. Benton

When my husband and I were getting ready to leave Montana, we stopped at a little convenience store just West of Lewistown.

This place actually is pretty neat also.  It's the only business for at least 10 miles in any direction, is clean as a whistle and has a little bit of everything.  

It's a store, a restaurant, a mini casino, a campground, a motel and a residence all wrapped up in one neat, clean little package.

You can camp there with full hookups for ten bucks!

We stopped there to gas up, and another customer told us we ought to go on up to Ft. Benton if we had time.

For this, we had time!

We got the directions from him, and off we went!

The Town

The town is basically just one long street.  

On one side you have ancient, historical houses you can visit that end in a lovely park, and on the other you have the Missouri River.

There's a little visitor's center on the river side where you can learn all sorts of neat things about the town’s past.

Although small, Ft. Benton sends a powerful message about what life must have been like for the people who lived there in Montana’s early days.

A Different Statue of Sacajaweia 

History Lessons 

The most interesting thing about this place is the fact that the history you learn about there is so “real” that it almost takes your breath away.

Along the walkway leading towards the park, there are signs that tell stories of whorehouses, bar fights, dead bodies being tossed in rivers, Indians and cowboys.

It is as though you are standing in the middle of something you normally would be watching on TV, but in this case, what your learning about is real!

When you reach the end of the street there is a magnificent bronze sculpture of Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea looking out across the Missouri.  She is sitting at their feet and is holding her baby.  It’s absolutely breathtaking to view, especially given its location.

There is also a barge that is huge, heavy and makes you wonder how it ever floated!


There's a campground on one of the little back streets, but we were told we could dry camp for free beside the park, so we did.

What a great spot!  

We had the end of the road all to ourselves, and slept to the sounds of the river and the cool breezes blowing through the huge trees from the park.

It was an amazing feeling to be able to sleep beside Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea and then wake up, look out the window and see the headwaters of the Missouri.

Visit if You Can

It’s a bit of a drive to go and visit this quaint little town, but it’s well worth it. 

It’s been awhile since we visited, but we’ll never forget our visit to this beautiful and quaint little spot.

If you are going to Montana for an RV trip, this is one place you won’t want to miss. 

I hope you get to see it soon!

A Tour of Ft. Benton, Birthplace of Montana