I paid a quick visit to Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge a few days ago, making the long, dirt-road drive from Monida and then over the pass to Henry's Lake in Idaho. It was a blustery autumn afternoon, and it was easy to see that it wouldn't be long until the place was snowed in for the winter. But it was gorgeous.
The refuge is in the high Centennial Valley, just north of the Idaho line in Beaverhead County. The valley was once a primary route for stagecoach travelers headed to Yellowstone, and homesteaders later settled there, but hardly anyone lives in the valley anymore ... it's too remote and the winters are too long. Much of the valley floor is used as summer range for cattle, while the Refuge occupies the eastern end. It was established in 1935 to protect habitat for migratory birds, and was a key part of the effort to save the Trumpeter Swan from extinction. Beautiful country, and well worth a visit.