Geography of Broadwater County, Montana

Broadwater County, located in the central part of Montana, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. From its rugged mountain ranges to its tranquil lakes and flowing rivers, Broadwater County offers a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities and scenic vistas. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features of Broadwater County.


According to petwithsupplies, Broadwater County encompasses an area of approximately 1,239 square miles, making it one of the smaller counties in Montana. It is situated in the western part of the state, bordered by Lewis and Clark County to the north, Meagher County to the east, Jefferson County to the south, and Gallatin County to the west. The county seat and largest town is Townsend.

The geography of Broadwater County is characterized by its diverse terrain, which includes mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers. The county is part of the Rocky Mountains region, with the Big Belt Mountains to the east and the Elkhorn Mountains to the south.

The landscape of Broadwater County is dominated by the Missouri River, which flows through the county from south to north, providing important habitat for wildlife and offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and other water-based activities. The county is also home to several smaller rivers and streams, including the Boulder River, the Smith River, and the Little Blackfoot River, which provide additional opportunities for outdoor recreation.


Broadwater County experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. The region’s climate is influenced by its location in the Rocky Mountains and its proximity to the Continental Divide.

Summers in Broadwater County are warm and sunny, with daytime temperatures often reaching into the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit. Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, bringing heavy rainfall and occasional lightning.

Winters in Broadwater County are cold and snowy, with temperatures frequently dropping below freezing from November to March. Snowfall accumulates throughout the winter months, creating ideal conditions for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

Spring and autumn in Broadwater County are relatively mild, with temperatures gradually warming up in the spring and cooling down in the autumn. These seasons are favored by many residents for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and hunting, as well as for enjoying the vibrant fall colors in the surrounding mountains.

Rivers and Lakes:

Broadwater County is home to numerous rivers, lakes, and streams that provide important habitats for wildlife and offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. One of the most significant waterways in the county is the Missouri River, which flows through the heart of Broadwater County from south to north. The Missouri River and its tributaries provide opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing, as well as scenic beauty as they wind their way through the valleys and canyons of the Rocky Mountains.

In addition to the Missouri River, Broadwater County is dotted with several lakes and reservoirs, including Canyon Ferry Lake, Hauser Lake, and Holter Lake. These lakes offer opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing, and camping, as well as picnicking and wildlife viewing along their shores.

Broadwater County is also home to numerous smaller streams and creeks, which provide important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species. These streams and creeks are popular destinations for fly fishing, particularly for trout, and offer opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography.

Notable Features:

Broadwater County is home to several notable landmarks and attractions that showcase the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. One of the most iconic features of the county is the Gates of the Mountains, a scenic canyon located along the Missouri River. The Gates of the Mountains are known for their towering limestone cliffs, dramatic rock formations, and crystal-clear waters, making them a popular destination for boat tours, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Another popular destination in Broadwater County is the Missouri Headwaters State Park, located at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers. The park is home to several historic sites, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s campsite and the Missouri Headwaters Monument, which commemorates the beginning of the Missouri River. Visitors to the park can explore interpretive exhibits, hiking trails, and picnic areas, as well as enjoy fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing along the rivers.


In conclusion, Broadwater County offers a diverse array of geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other natural features that make it a unique and appealing destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. From its rugged mountain ranges and pristine lakes to its scenic rivers and historic landmarks, this corner of central Montana provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, exploration, and appreciation of the natural world. Whether you’re boating on Canyon Ferry Lake, hiking in the Gates of the Mountains, or exploring the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s campsite at Missouri Headwaters State Park, Broadwater County has something to offer for everyone.