Explore Everything About the Poorest Town in Montana

“I would like to have seen Montana,” reflects Vasili Borodin, a Russian captain in the 1990 film “The Hunt for Red October.” Borodin was astute. If I were a Russian attempting to defect to America, Montana would be an excellent choice.

Montana, America’s fourth largest state, is known for its gorgeous landscapes, mountains, and vast open areas. It’s not named “Big Sky Country” for nothing!

However, inflation and interest rate increases have an impact on even “The Treasure State.” According to the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) results, not everything is as it appears. Even though Montana’s average income has increased, the average household income remains $60,560. Accordingly, the statewide poverty rate is 12.5%.

The Poorest Town in Montana

Explore Everything About the Poorest Town in Montana

Settlers originally named the town Horse Plains, but it was abbreviated to Plains in 1883 when the Northern Pacific Railway arrived. Plains is Montana’s poorest municipality, having a poverty rate of 20.5%, which is 39% higher than the state average. Plains, located in the state’s northwest, is home to only 1,156 people. The median age is 39.7.

Plains is home to the Lolo National Forest, which has more than 2,500 miles of trails. It is a popular tourist destination also because of the opportunity to see bighorn sheep. The average median income in Plains is $23,413, which is much lower than the Montana average.

Plains is a rural community in Sanders County that offers fewer job options than most other communities. Liveability graded its employment rating as “F”. Additionally, it received “F” ratings for amenities, commuting, and violence.

Crime in Plains, Montana

Explore Everything About the Poorest Town in Montana

People planning to relocate or visit always consider crime statistics. The FBI reported Montana crime statistics in September 2022. Although certain crimes, such as burglary and theft, were infrequent, violent crimes were not. Although data for many regions was unavailable, the FBI calculated that Plains, Montana, had 640 violent offenses per 100,000 people.

In contrast, they reported 470 violent offenses per 100,000 persons in Montana. In contrast, they reported 388 violent offenses per 100,000 individuals in the entire country. However, crime rates vary greatly depending on where you are in Plains.

On the positive side, Plains is safer than many other Montana cities. Billings has the highest crime rate in Montana, which many attribute to the city’s growing population. Missoula, Great Falls, Helena, Bozeman, Kalispell, Butte, and Havre have higher crime rates.

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Reasons to Visit Plains

Explore Everything About the Poorest Town in Montana

Plains is economically depressed, but travelers still have lots of reasons to visit. As previously said, travelers gather to see the bighorn sheep in the Lolo National Forest. Peak viewing dates are November and December, but tourists can catch glimpses of them from October to May. The Clark Fork River offers numerous options for boating and fishing.

Plains offers a variety of hiking paths. Big Hole Peak offers a moderate 5.9-mile out-and-back hike. The road is well-kept and offers some spectacular vistas. Find the lookout station at the peak, where you may encounter several mountain goats.

For a more difficult hike, try the 5.3-mile out-and-back Baldy Lake Trail. You will choose a less trafficked trail that has boulder fields along the way. You can descend to Baldy Lake, but preserve some strength.

What goes down must come up, so get ready to trudge back up the 600-foot ascent! The 10.7-mile Baldy Mountain Trail is recommended for dedicated hikers. Even if it is strenuous, you are unlikely to see another human.

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Special Events

Explore Everything About the Poorest Town in Montana

Don’t miss out on the summer activities in Plains. Attend the massive annual Sanders County yard sale, which takes place in the last week of June. June also brings the Plains Day Parade, which features floats, food, and revelry. Finally, don’t miss out on the Sanders County Fair this August. It includes a rodeo and a demolition derby, in addition to the usual fair activities.

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After all of your hiking and sightseeing, you’ll be famished. Stop by The Bean Bug for amazing coffee, brunch, and lunch options. The breakfast burrito is a fan favorite. The Butcher’s Nook is also open for breakfast and lunch, and it serves both hot and cold deli options, as well as courteous service.

Finally, for a more elegant evening, choose Harwood House Restaurant at Quinn’s Hot Springs. Harwood House serves locally sourced beef, seasonal fish, and fresh organic veggies. For a truly memorable supper, pair your filet with a wine from Harwood’s broad choice.


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