Grab drinks, see art, or catch fly-fishing lessons in picturesque Ennis, Montana.
Perched on the Madison River and surrounded by three mountain ranges, this hopping ranch town makes a delightful gateway to Yellowstone National Park, situated about 70 miles southeast.
Take the Ennis Outdoor Art Tour to see public art celebrating the area’s outdoor heritage. Large-scale works range from Jim Dolan’s 150-foot-long fly-fisherman sculpture at the town entrance to A.C. Lyon’s carved string of pack mules parading across the front of the Ennis Cafe. You can’t miss the leaping sculptures portraying trout scattered around Ennis, such as one by Janet McGahan.
At the RiverStone Gallery you may see Bern Sundell working on one of his giant paintings of brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. Can’t tote one home? Opt for the sparkling jewelry he makes with his wife, gallery co-owner Lexi.
Trout are totemic here, as evidenced by the city’s welcome sign (840 people, 11,000,000 trout) and all the fish art. With the Tackle Shop, outfitting anglers since 1937, take a guided fishing trip or a fly-fishing lesson.
To experience the water without donning waders, walk the trail in Ennis Lions Club Park to the river’s edge, where you can sit on a bench and watch the blue roll by.
In the Willie’s Distillery tasting room, cocktails may feature Bighorn Bourbon, Montana Moonshine, or Montana Wild chokecherry liqueur.
Belly up to counter at the Gravel Bar, its walls bordered with horseshoes, for a Sphinx Burger, complete with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, and caramelized onions.
This article was originally published in September 2016 and was last updated in August 2020.