Ravalli County, Montana

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Ravalli County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana. Ravalli County is part of a north/south mountain valley bordered by the Sapphire Mountains on the East and the Bitterroot Mountains on the West. It is often referred to as the Bitterroot Valley and is named for the Bitterroot Flower. As of 2000, the population was 36,070. Its county seat is Hamilton[1].

The county is entirely on the Pacific Ocean side of the Continental Divide, which follows the Idaho-Montana border from Wyoming until Ravalli County. Here it turns east into Montana, between Chief Joseph Pass and Lost Trail Pass, and follows the Ravalli County-Beaverhead County border.



Ravalli County was once home to the Bitterroot Salish tribe. The tribe was first encountered in 1805 by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which noted the friendly nature of the tribe. The Catholic Church took interest in creating a mission in the area, and in 1841, Stevensville was founded. In 1891, the Salish tribe was relocated to the current Flathead Reservation under the Treaty of Hellgate.

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