Madison River Valley in Montana

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Madison River Valley

Known for its exceptional trout water, mountain views, and charming old-west towns, Madison River Valley offers a range of activities and serves as a scenic thoroughfare via Ennis between Bozeman and West Yellowstone.

  • Madison River Valley lies in southwest Montana, running north and south between West Yellowstone and Three Forks. 
  • Fish for browns and rainbows on the Madison River. 
  • View stalactites and stalagmites at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.
  • Tour the old-west town of Virginia City.
  • A must-see scenic route to Yellowstone. 


Located in southwest Montana, the Madison River Valley is a picturesque example of Montana's "Big Sky" living, offering blue-ribbon trout fishing, pristine mountain ranges, old-west towns, and plenty of outdoor recreation.


The Madison Valley runs north and south through the town of Ennis, extending from Three Forks to the Madison Canyon near Quake Lake. Travelers from Big Sky should make a loop out of it. Head north on US 191 to Four Corners, west on Norris Road and then south on Hwy 287 through Ennis to Quake and Hebgen Lakes.


An ideal fly fishing destination, the Madison River produces an abundance of large browns and rainbows, with an especially productive area between Quake and Ennis Lakes, referred to as the “fifty mile riffle.” Wade, float, or book a guided trip with a local outfitter. Hebgen, Quake and Ennis Lakes also offer fine fishing opportunity.

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Explore large underground limestone caverns featuring stalactites, stalagmites, and other mesmerizing natural features at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, located 19 miles west of Three Forks along MT-HWY 2. Open year-round, the park also provides a 40-site campground, 9-mile hiking trail, concessions and gift shop, interpretive displays, playground and more. Enjoy a guided cavern tour (available from May 1 – September 30), followed by activities such as fishing, canoeing, biking, hiking, and picnicking.

Virginia City
Take a walking tour through this old-west town, situated just 14 miles west of Ennis on HWY-287. Visit the museum, explore a number of gift shops and boutiques, and for those with a sweet tooth, be sure to sample the homemade ice cream or browse the candy store.

Quake Lake

Located within Madison Canyon, just southeast of Madison Valley, Quake Lake (Earthquake Lake) was formed on August 17, 1959, when an earthquake, measuring over 7 on the Richter Scale, struck near Hebgen Lake, causing a large landslide on the Madison River.

Other Madison River Valley Resources

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is a beautiful stretch of Montana, along the upper Yellowstone River.