In the last installment, we took a hike to Woodbine Falls while camped at Woodbine Campground. There are several other points of interest you will want to visit while in the vicinity of Nye, Montana.
Stillwater River Trail is located a short distance west of Woodbine Campground. Many hike the 3.5-mile trail to Sioux Charley Lake or further, but most consider the first half mile of the trail, which traverses through a scenic gorge carved by the Stillwater River, the highlight of the trail and go no farther.
The trail has been carved out of a ledge along the river and during high water (late spring and early summer) the volume of water churning through the gorge is impressive.
The Stillwater Mine can’t be missed as you drive to and from the falls or the Sioux Charley Lake Trail. The active mine is the only palladium and platinum producer in the United States.
The mine tunnels deeply into what is considered one of the rarest and most challenging ore bodies in the world. Historic nearby mines include the Mountain View Mine and Benbow Mine, both of which produced Chromium, a strategic metal and heavily sought after by the U.S. government during World War II.
The remains of the Mountain View Mine and abandoned townsite are located about halfway up the mountain behind (west) the Stillwater Mine. The Benbow Mine is located east of the Stillwater Mine over the mountain ridge. RVers that want to make the trip to the Benbow Mine will find many scenic boondocking opportunities in the valley below the mine.
Those interested in Native American history will want to take note of the high bluffs as they pass through the town of Nye. Herds of buffalo were driven off these cliffs by the natives. The meat and hides were essential for their survival through the cold Montana winters.
When you go
The Stillwater River Trailhead is at the end of paved Forest Service Road 419. The poorly marked trailhead is at the south end of the paved loop. If you bring your RV with you, there are long parking stalls designed for horse trailers and tow vehicles at the north end of the parking area. The trail enters the gorge after less than 100 yards of hiking.
The Stillwater Mine is on the right (west) side of the road about a mile and a half before reaching the junction for the falls and trailhead to the gorge.
Benbow Mine is located at N45° 21.857 W109° 48.409 up NF 1414. It is best accessed with an ATV or off-road motorcycle, but a high clearance two-wheel drive could make the trip as well. The views alone are worth making the trip.
- Woodbine Campground as mentioned in the last entry.
- Buffalo Jump Fishing Access Site in Nye
- Boondocking: As mentioned, there are some very scenic (pictured) boondocking sites on the lower portion of FS 1414 on the way to the Benbow Mine. The lower portions of the road are very well maintained by a mining company working in the area and are suitable for most any RV. Benbow Road (NF 1414) departs paved Nye Road (FS 419) at N45° 24.293 W109° 41.721
Dispersed camping (boondocking) is permitted along NF 1414 once you pass by the last residence and cross onto forest service land. Boondocking sites can be found along and offside spurs of NF 1414 until you reach the staging areas for ATVs and other off-road vehicles at N45° 23.260 W109° 45.730
Shortly past this area, the road becomes unsuitable for RV travel. Camping is allowed in the staging area if you were unable to find a spot along NF 1414 on the way there.
Multiple points of interest, scenic country and boondocking aplenty, just another adventure in RVing!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
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There is a roadside sign in Nye reading
“Entering and Leaving
ELEV. 4825 FT”
David geordge says
To any and all former Nye people……….
My name is David Geordge.
I lived with my parents, James and Lucille, at the upper mine camp at Nye from 1953 to 1960.
I have been back to Nye, and the surrounding towns, including what was the Y-Bar, Fishtail, and Absarokee, several times over the years, but have never been able to get in touch with anyone who lived there during that time.
I am now a spry 73 years old.
I live in Reno, Nevada, with my wife, Zoe.