Phillipsburg is town in western Montana that has unusual ways to arrive at your destination. It's not a town right off the interstate but a beautiful place right next to Georgetown Lake.
A trip to Gem Mountain can be included in various stops to tour Montana.
Sapphires are one of Montana’s state gemstones, the biggest and the best come from this area.
The scenery all around the area is breathtaking and the little town of Phillipsburg has delightful old time vibrations of vitality and money.
From September, 6th until May, 27th the mine is closed to purchase sapphire so you have to go to the town of Phillipsburg and purchase your bags from their store there.
The gravel bags cost more in town but you have a wider variety of options in town when you have competition on the streets of the city
There are always the jewelry counters in each of the stores to show how your sapphires could look all done up.
You can also pan for sapphires there and get consultations.
A stop in Gem Mountain should a stop in the Phillipsburg store as well.
The store on the premises is your first stop you decide on how much you want to spend and you get coupons to go out in the yard and purchase your bags.
You choose a station to work from at a picnic table and you pour small amounts of gravel into your tray provided and you proceed to wash it in the trough.
You bring your washed gravel back to your station and flip it over. If you have rocked and bopped your tray enough your shiny sapphires will be right on top.
Staff always keep helping you do it right.
Gem Mountain is one of the largest deposits of sapphires in the world.
You will find a wide range of colors in your sapphires that you gather from your buckets of gravel.
The blue and green ones are nice to get but the occasional orange and red ones are a thrill to have in your pile.
Gem Mountain Mine use to have a spot where you could go to the mine but now they bring out the gravel for you to buy in buckets for your own safety.
You get the most sapphires in the state of Montana from this facility.
When you leave your sapphire mining experience, you have a choice of turning right or left out of the Gem Mountain gate.
If you turn left you go back to Phillipsburg but if you turn right you go along a dirt road with some of the most gorgeous mountain scenes you could ever imagine.
You will eventually see this waterfall on the Skalkaho Rd. leading into Hamilton.
We stopped and gathered rocks and gravel from a stream nearby and found gold in it. It's so worth the trip.