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  • Central Montana

Lewistown is a major trading center for the agricultural community located at the geographic center of Montana. Lewistown began as a small trading post on the Carroll Trail between Helena and the mouth of the Mussellshell River. Several Croatian builders and stonemasons settled in Lewistown and this is evident in the many well-preserved historic stone buildings. Located in the Judith Basin of rolling prairie, farms, and ranches, the Lewistown area features two beautiful mountain ranges, the Snowy and Judith at an elevation of 3,963 feet. From there, grand 100-mile vistas stretch out below. Picturesque landscapes, mountain terrain, and small quiet town typify the area. Lewistown's attractions include the Annual Montana State Chokecherry Festival and the Central Montana Museum where one can catch a glimpse of pioneer life and view Native American artifacts and artwork. Travel over three 150-foot-high trestles and through a half-mile tunnel on the former Milwaukee Railroad Line on the Charlie Russell Chew-Choo. The Charlie Russell Chew-Choo presents a unique scenic train ride of three and a half hours aboard 1950s vintage cars. Or you can visit the nearby historic sites of Kendall, Maiden, or Gilt Edge, that are a remnant of Montana's colorful gold-filled past. Lewistown also has a blossoming art community. Two historic buildings were combined to create the Lewistown Art Center, Gallery and Gift Shop. The center houses three galleries, educational classrooms and the signature shop for sale of consignment art from area artists. The Missouri Breaks National Back Country Byway traverses one of the most geologically unique and historically significant areas in Montana. Nature worked overtime here to fashion a ruggedly spectacular landscape that was first described by Lewis and Clark as "the Deserts of America." Fur traders would later refer to this section of the Missouri River as Mauvaises Terres, the Badlands. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument includes an ecosystem that parallels the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River through north-central Montana. Much of the land in this area (375,000 acres) is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. If a picture paints a thousand words, then you'll discover hundreds of ancient stories when you visit the Bear Gulch Pictographs, 23 miles southeast of Lewistown. Among the 2,000 pictographs (paintings) and petroglyphs (etchings), you'll see figures of warriors holding shields and clubs, and ochre red elk and bison, along with other designs drawn by Native Americans depicting scenes from their lives.

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