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Ravalli County, Montana


Ravalli County, Montana

Ravalli County, Montana
Map of Montana highlighting Ravalli County
Location in the state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1893
Named for Antonio Ravalli
Seat Hamilton
Largest city Hamilton
 • Total 2,400 sq mi (6,216 km2)
 • Land 2,391 sq mi (6,193 km2)
 • Water 9.4 sq mi (24 km2), 0.4%
 • (2010) 40,212
 • Density 17/sq mi (7/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6

Ravalli County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,212.[1] Its county seat is Hamilton.[2]

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, which is named for the Bitterroot Flower. 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.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
    • National protected areas 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Communities 5
    • City 5.1
    • Towns 5.2
    • Census-designated places 5.3
    • Unincorporated communities 5.4
  • Notable residents 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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.

In 1877, Chief Joseph and his Wallowa band of Nez Perce passed through Ravalli County in their attempt to escape confinement to a reservation; they were captured en route to Canada just south of Havre.

Ravalli County was created by the Montana Legislature on March 3, 1893. It is named after the Italian Jesuit priest Antony Ravalli, who arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in 1845.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,400 square miles (6,200 km2), of which 2,391 square miles (6,190 km2) is land and 9.4 square miles (24 km2) (0.4%) is water.[3]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


As of the census of 2000,[9] there were 36,070 people, 14,289 households, and 10,188 families residing in the county. The population density was 15 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 15,946 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.71% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 0.88% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 1.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.1% were of German, 14.1% English, 11.1% Irish, 7.9% American and 6.3% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 14,289 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.30% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 24.70% from 25 to 44, 28.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 98.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,992, and the median income for a family was $38,397. Males had a median income of $30,994 versus $19,987 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,935. About 9.60% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.10% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over.


The historical economy of Ravalli County lies predominantly in agriculture and timber. Marcus Daly, one of three Butte copper kings, funded logging operations in the Bitterroot Valley. The lumber was necessary for the Butte copper operation. Recently, more of Ravalli County's economy stems from tourism. The valley borders the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and offers a wide variety of wildlife, including some of the few remaining wolverine and wolf populations in the contiguous states. The Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area is at Lost Trail Pass on the Idaho border on US-93.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Notable residents

  • Henry L. Myers, later a United States Senator from Montana, was prosecuting attorney for Ravalli County from 1895 to 1899.

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  

External links

  • Official website

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