When I published my first Libby blog post, we’d just been beset by smoke from the West Coast wildfires. The smoke ended up lasting a full week, during which time we were unable to do much in Libby. For most of that week, the air quality was classified as “hazardous” and later “very unhealthy.” That meant no strenuous outdoor activity like hiking, though toward the end of the week we managed a couple of park walks. And it cleared out in time for our brewery date night. But here’s one more photo of Libby covered in smoke.
With the exception of that week, during which we got A LOT of work done (our default mode when there’s nothing else we can do), our time in Libby was really wonderful. Here are the things we most loved about Libby.
Beautiful Hikes and Picnics
We chose Libby for it’s access to nature, and it didn’t disappoint. After the smoke cleared, we recommitted ourselves to checking out the many trails and features of the area.
One of our favorite finds was the Old Highway 2 trail, which followed the original Highway 2 that was replaced in 1930 and reclaimed by nature. It was almost impossible to imagine it as a highway as it wove its way through the mountains to some stunning views. One section also included an offshoot up to another mountain lake, Shannon Lake, which wasn’t as spectacular as Leigh Lake, but still quite nice.
Another highlight was our drive up to Libby Dam and a strenuous hike on the Thompson Mountain trail. It wasn’t our favorite hike, but it included a nice view and the dam is very impressive.
We picnicked a couple of times a week by the Kootenai River, either along the River Trail, or near the swinging bridge by Kootenai Falls. Each picnic was special and we really came to love the river.
Decent Outdoor Dining
In my last post, I gushed over our meal at The Shed, and our next date night to the Cabinet Mountain Brewery was also excellent. Their craft beers were excellent and the food was more interesting than you’d expect at a small town brewpub. We went back for second visits to both The Shed and the brewery. Even though Libby only seemed to have those two places with outdoor dining, it was more than enough for us (especially supplemented by our other date night in Kalispell at a Mexican restaurant with a patio).
Animals and Art
Beyond and including all the outdoor majesty, Libby had plenty of other details that made for a high quality of life. On our second visit to the Riverfront Trail, we drove past some of the area’s famous bighorn sheep, which was really cool. On an early picnic, we saw a bald eagle swooping along the river. Libby calls itself the “city of eagles” and has numerous metal eagle sculptures (some huge) around town. The downtown area also contains lots of murals, and an assortment of amusing sasquatch cutouts, which feature the mythical creature doing all sorts of mundane things like eating ice cream and taking money to the bank – sort of like the gnomes of Wroclaw, Poland (though not nearly as charming). All these things added to Libby’s charm and made it feel like the town was really trying. Also, our grocery checkers were always really friendly in a very sincere way, which I appreciate (I think I’ll miss Rosauer’s Supermarket).
Proximity for a Quick Glacier Getaway
We enjoyed our brief time in Glacier National Park on the way to Libby so much that we’d planned to do an overnight trip during our next to last week. However, the weather cooled off and got a little rainy, so we postponed it to our last full week in Libby. That proved to be a great decision, as we ended up with great weather for our trip, which I’ll write more about in my next post.
All in all, we had a fantastic month in Libby, and it was just what we needed to get back into the swing of nomadic life during COVID-19. I don’t know that we’ll ever be back to that little town, but we’ll always remember it fondly.
We had a wonderful one-month stay in this adorable apartment. The host, Chelsea, was so thoughtful about stocking up supplies for our long time there. The kitchen is very workable (we especially enjoyed having an air fryer toaster oven!) and there is plenty of comfortable space in the living room to relax. While the bathroom is a bit small, it functions really well. The wifi worked very well for our whole stay and it was really nice being right downtown, an easy walk down to the local brewery or the riverfront park. The sound from the movies playing some evenings didn’t bother us at all. I’d definitely recommend this apartment for a long or short stay in Libby (which is a super town!).