Outside Ennis

Fishing may be all the recreational rage in Ennis, and for good reason; but there’s plenty of outdoor fun for the non-angler as well.

Southeast of Ennis, standing proudly amidst the Madison Range, is the mighty Sphinx Mountain. “The Sphinx,” as it’s called, is an excellent day-hike if you’re looking for a good workout and amazing views of the Madison Valley. Plenty of other hiking trails wind through the Madison Range to the east and the Gravelly Mountains to the west. For trail length, difficulty, and directions, stop by the Forest Service office in Ennis or pick up a guidebook at any outdoor shop around southwest Montana.

Experienced whitewater rafters and kayakers can slice through nine miles of churning whitewater in Bear Trap Canyon, just south of Ennis Lake. Another favorite spot for expert kayakers is the roaring Class IV/V stretch below Quake Lake. Canoeists and sea kayakers can put in anywhere near Ennis and float through braided channels and picturesque forests down to Ennis Lake.

A cool climbing spot near Ennis is Revenue Flats, in the Tobacco Root mountains about 10 miles west of Norris. Granite domes sprawl across a broad bench of sagebrush and scattered pine, with climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.11. Many climbs are bolted with top anchors, but a few require traditional gear, so bring your whole rack. You can drive to the Flats, park right next to a climb, and enjoy an excellent view of the Spanish Peaks.