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By Rick and Susie Graetz
University of Montana Department of Geography 

The Bitterroot River runs through Montana history


November 24, 2017

Rick and Susie Graetz

A red barn stands along the foothills of the upper Bitterroot Range as autumn leaves begin to turn color.

Department of Geography

Though its length is short in comparison to other major Montana rivers, the landscape the Bitterroot River flows through is long in beauty and historical significance. Guarding it on the west is the abruptly rising Bitterroot Range, while the lower-profiled, forest-covered Sapphires Mountains look down from the east. The surrounding valley is one of the fastest growing regions in the state.

The west and east forks of the Bitterroot, rushing out of opposite mountain ranges, join near the small hamlet of Conner to create the river named for Montana's state flower. From...

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