by Emily Coombs
on Sunday, August 7th, 2022 at 9:23pm.
On July 25, 1805, Lewis and Clark and their translator, Sacajawea, landed in Three Forks, Montana. Once a hunting and battleground for the Blackfeet, Crow, Nez Perce, Shoshone, and Flathead tribes, they were the first white men to enter the confluence region where the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin rivers flow together to form the Missouri River.
Today, Three Forks is a sought-after location for those looking to live a bit away from the bustle of the Gallatin Valley. Located just half an hour from Bozeman, residents can easily access the entertainment and amenities of the bigger town but still enjoy the quiet pace of life, lots of outdoor recreation, and much more affordable real estate. (The median sales price of homes in the greater Three Forks area is $464,950, versus $787,500 in the greater Bozeman area.)
The population is just under 2,000 people, but the benefits of living in Three Forks are catching on, and there are several new subdivisions under construction to keep up with the demand. The City of Three Forks is currently rewriting its growth plan, with an emphasis on encouraging more residential development, commercial and industrial vitality, and expanded public facilities.
Class sizes in the Three Forks school system are relatively small, with an average of 15 students per teacher. School sports are popular among residents, with big crowds cheering their teams throughout the year. Other popular community events include a weekly Farmers Market and rodeo, street fair and parade during the summer, and the annual Christmas Stroll in December.
As for recreation, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained. The Headwaters Golf Course is one of the few courses in Montana to stay open year-round. Winters are milder, and they get less snow (relatively speaking!), so if the course is dry, you’ll find people playing!
The Headwaters Trail System is a paved network of trails running along the former Milwaukee railroad bed, through the town, and on to Missouri Headwaters State Park. Other close-by state parks include Madison Buffalo Jump and Lewis and Clark Caverns.
Three Forks Ponds are a favorite place to relax, play in the water, cast a line, or enjoy a picnic. And Copper City Trails, just a few miles out of town, provides various levels of mountain biking and running trails for all ages and abilities.
It’s easy to see why residents love this tight-knit community; we invite you to check it out yourself!