• Photo: justasc / Shutterstock


This recreation capital offers everything from trout fishing to white-water river rafting to backcountry mountain biking to skiing. The arts have also flowered in Bozeman, the home of Montana State University. The mix of cowboys, professors, students, skiers, and celebrities makes it one of the more diverse communities in the northern Rockies as well as one of the fastest-growing towns in Montana.

Bozeman has a strong Western heritage, readily evident at local museums, downtown galleries, and even the airport. In 1864 a trader named John Bozeman led his wagon train through this valley en route to the booming goldfields of Virginia City and southwest Montana. For several years this was the site of Fort Ellis, established to protect settlers making their way west along the Bozeman Trail, which extended into Montana Territory.

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