Story and photos by Tiffany Sweeney
A late July evening, I sat in a cow pasture just outside of White Sulphur Springs, watching the sun set and pondering the path of my life. I was surrounded by people from all over the country, the smells of food trucks surrounding me, the sounds of live music beating in my soul, and the peace of mind that oddly comes from returning home. I have traveled the country, lived in multiple states, and nothing feels quite the same as the valley of Meagher County.
White Sulphur Springs sits amongst multiple mountain ranges. The Castle Mountains demonstrate their strength with the jutting rocks of Stone Temple Park. The Big Belt Mountains inspire many local businesses with the peaks of Edith, the Twins, and Baldy standing guard above the town. The cool breezes of the Little Belt Mountains providing the peace and calm for those that call this valley home.
White Sulphur began in 1867 thanks to its healing hot springs. It has seen a multitude of industries move in and out of the area: mining and logging to recreation and entertainment. Today, it welcomes visitors who travel between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, as well as those who come to float the lottery, permit-only Smith River, ski the hills of Showdown, or seek adventure through our outfitters and hunting communities. And, hundreds dance to live music in the cow pastures for the Red Ants Pants Music Festival.
Wandering down Main Street, you will find a multitude of eateries: Stageline for the best pizza, Stockman Steakhouse for the best fries (and, of course, the steak!), and Bar 47 for their towering nachos. The Jawbone will suit your fancy if you are looking for an upscale treat. And, down the road, our newest restaurant in town, Jesse Pepper’s will give you a delicious twist from your typical Montana tastebuds. The newly renovated Lane Bar and the ever popular 2 Basset Brewery will find a drink to quench your thirst.
Standing atop what was once known as Knob Hill is The Castle Museum and Carriage House. Open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, tour guides provide you a local biography from claims to fame, rivalries and love stories, to sketchy pasts and personalized tales. Twin Sisters Trading Company, slightly off Main, can meet all your outdoor needs and more. Red Ants Pants, may seem like a small little shop, but carries workwear for women that you will not find anywhere else. Ringling, Lennep, Castle Town, and Martinsdale is a driving loop that will give you a peek into the past.
The true treasure of the valley, however, is ultimately our people. Locals have learned to adapt and evolve, to wear multiple hats to survive. Holly Showalter, a resident that moved into the community in 2016 says “I never imagined I’d live in such a small place, but I’ve grown to love how simple and social life can be.” Showalter, the owner of Wild Oats Bakery, opened her little shop after the pandemic. In an unsure world, she discovered “The local support has been incredible – both from customers and from other business owners – White Sulphur is really a wonderful place to be an entrepreneur.”
As the sun set that evening in late July, I realized just how right Showalter was. White Sulphur really is a wonderful place. It’s a place to escape the busy life of the city. It’s a place to wander and explore, to discover a new adventure, and to find a peace that you cannot find anywhere else. It takes you a little back in time, and it welcomes you with open arms.